Lamont Palmer views on poetry

critical views of LP from PH

Um, ‘Acker’. that’s not a critique. Those are just dumb comments from YOU and your small mind. To go through a poem asking, ‘what does this mean, and what does that mean’, is silly. I’m not writing a newspaper article. I’m writing poetry. Poetry (at least the best of it) uses the language of SUGGESTION, not direct comment. I won’t bother to give you a lesson on Symbolism, and symbolist poetry, as its obviously WAY over your head. Lets just say, unlike your ‘work’, none of those lines are trite or banal, and they all have meaning. You’re so used to your own bland poems, you don’t appreciate originality in others…especially someone you apparently have a serious, pathological grudge against. But I do appreciate you having to immediately go to Stevens to point out ‘weaknesses’ in my own. That’s ultimately what I want. -LP 

LP on jc

Um, ‘Acker’. that’s not a critique. Those are just dumb comments from YOU and your small mind. To go through a poem asking, ‘what does this mean, and what does that mean’, is silly. I’m not writing a newspaper article. I’m writing poetry. Poetry (at least the best of it) uses the language of SUGGESTION, not direct comment. I won’t bother to give you a lesson on Symbolism, and symbolist poetry, as its obviously WAY over your head. Lets just say, unlike your ‘work’, none of those lines are trite or banal, and they all have meaning. You’re so used to your own bland poems, you don’t appreciate originality in others…especially someone you apparently have a serious, pathological grudge against. But I do appreciate you having to immediately go to Stevens to point out ‘weaknesses’ in my own. That’s ultimately what I want. -LP 

29 – 9-14

00 PM) Post reply

The problem with ‘Coiling’ is the same problem that tanks the majority of ‘Acker’s poems: they’re full of tired, unoriginal imagery. As evidenced by all the alias swapping and weird forum postings, ‘Acker’ apparently has an imagination, but when he writes poetry, it shuts down completely. Admittedly, the tired language in this particular poem had a ‘prettiness’ to it, but it was tired nonetheless. Most neophyte poets don’t realize this, but no matter how ‘nice’ something sounds, if its not fresh, it doesn’t count as good poetry. The last two stanzas (as someone else pointed out) are outright cornball: 

‘And, if all else fails, kiss greedily the full lips of a quiet woman’. 

That’s worst than McKuen; its McKuen on a very, very bad day. I could pick out all the other sappy and syrupy figures of speech, (silent sound of a setting sun) but why bother. There’s one in every stanza. Plum said he was trying too hard. My assessment is, he wasn’t trying hard enough. Most of it was lazy writing. But I can see how a reader could THINK its a good poem. Again, the weird thing is, as vicious and creepy and maniacal as ‘Acker’ behaves in the forum, his poems are sugary sweet and boring; you’d think they’d have more bite, or be wildly inventive. Nothing in poetry (or art in general) is worse than the trite and the stale, regardless of how ‘important’ the message might be. -LP

No. Its HOW he’s saying it, that’s key. He’s purposely using very rich language to describe the ‘parting of souls’, as he sees it. The language isn’t the idea/thought, its the vehicle FOR the idea/thought. You or I could put forth the same idea, but we’d use far less ornate figures of speech. The rich connotations are borne out of the language, which is form. Content is all around us all the time. It exists apart from language and other symbols. Language expresses content, gives it shape and can lift it to the level of art, if the language is evocative. Language is the tool (or form) that we use to express the content we see and feel or, often, imagine. Again, its how I personally I divvy up the parts of a poem. Don’t feel like getting into Wittgenstein on a relaxing Sunday night, but maybe I’ll post some snippets of a couple of essays later this week to support what I’m saying; i.e. putting it into a more eloquent ‘form’. -LP

Content is primarily WHAT the poem is saying, the subject matter, the theme, the tone, the assertions and the meaning of the poem. Form speaks to everything else: language, syntax, music, construction etc; HOW the content is being delivered. In other words, when I’m not referring to the content, which speaks to topics and meanings. I’m referring to the language of the poem, specifically. I’ve argued this before – some people consider content to be language. I don’t. I’d happy to post some statements from others to show you I’m not alone in that. -LP

—————

Honestly, I liked this poem better than some others. There were a couple of nice lines in it that helped to take it out of the banal territory that JC seems to relish wallowing in. But here’s the problem, to piggyback on Sherrie a bit. If you don’t get the content, if the message of the poem is muddled, there’s no real arresting language to fall back on, in a typical JC poem. Its like reading a story where, if you miss the point, that’s it. There’s nothing else to hold you. When I don’t get Auden, I don’t care, because the language moves me and delights me, apart from what he’s actually saying. Poems are made up of words, not ideas. That plain style (or at least JC’s hyper-flattened version of it) cheats itself out of various ways to give poetic pleasure, and relies on mostly one thing: understanding what its saying. Truly great poetry gives you more. -LP 

‘If a man wants to become a poet because he has a lot to say, he probably won’t make it. But if he wants to see what he can do with words, he has a better chance’. -W.H. Auden.

I don’t know how much influence subject matter has on style. That’s something that could be up for discussion in the forum. In my opinion, one chooses to write in one style or the other, regardless of the subject. Since I’ve never seen you write a sonnet or a villanelle or blank verse, I have to conclude that you think all subject matter can be treated plainly and narratively. Your poems look no different than they looked in 2005 when I first encountered you. So your message to me about stylistic diversity would hold more water, if in ‘Get Serious’, there were at least two or three examples of good terza rima. -LP

JC, I enjoyed the poem, now, and the first couple of times I read it. Naturally the subject matter helps it along, as it quite deliberately plays on the emotions (not saying there’s anything necessarily wrong with that) and the tragic nature of the event. But it does it with dark humor and a certain amount of ‘strangeness’, which keeps the mawkishness (nearly, not entirely) at bay. However, again, with a lot of your poems, I have to suspend the expectations I usually have for strong poetry; fresh language, unique metaphors, discernible rhythm or music, a less than standard syntax etc, and read exclusively for content; the message of the poem, (or the effect that the message evokes) much the way I read an essay or newspaper article. That’s one of the problems with plain language is, it often flirts with sentimentality because of its directness. This poem is not much different. While it has an unusual perspective, the language itself is standard and commonplace; syntactically, its going for the gut, more so than the mind, as opposed to lines that might be more disjointed, or employ more wordplay. I can see this poem easily being spoken by a thoughtful character in a play, because of the monologue-ish way the words fall into place.. So whether it fails or succeeds as verse is anyone’s opinion. But its an effective piece of writing, no question. -LP

LP

When I bumped into JC in this forum in 2005, we immediately started out debating and clashing over poetry. I thought his poems were put-ons, as they were written in such a surprisingly plain, chatty way, with, in my opinion, no music or rhythm at all. Then one day, he asked me what I meant when I used the word ‘music’ in relation to poetry. I sent him to my page and told him to read one of my poem, ‘Rain, Isolation’. At that time it was a new poem. This is what he came back and said, a most definitive remark, which I kept: 

JC

7/23/2005 2: 47: 00 PM FORUM: Poetics & Poetry Discussion 

This message has 1 reply ]]] Lamont, I read your ‘Rain, Isolation, ‘ keeping in mind your description of it as a more ‘structured’ free verse poem. It’s not my kind of music; to my ears it’s too elaborate, too fancy, but that’s really just a matter of my personal taste. I like plainer, more under-written work. To me, this poem has moments when it seems overwritten. 

XK

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s