Poetic Opacity (National Poetry Day 2019)

Poetic Opacity

A second airing of this poem for National Poetry Day 2019
The theme of National Poetry Day 2019 is TRUTH
I hope the sentiments in this poem reflect TRUTH
however opaque that might be!

 

Quote:

‘Opacity is an intrinsic characteristic of some poetry.
It simultaneously enables and complicates reception’
‘As much as we might have enjoyed reading (and writing) poetry when we were children, in school we are taught that poetry is inherently “difficult,” and that by its very nature it somehow makes meaning by hiding meaning.’    Matthew Zapruder (2017)

I wonder if a poem can only be a poem if it’s meaning is opaque?
Anything which is more straightforward is something of a fake
I don’t wish this comment to appear anti-intellectual
Perhaps my simple verses are really somewhat ineffectual

The use of English language, plain,  uncomplicated
Where each word and line of every verse is quite clearly stated
With a minimal use of tropes, metaphor or simile
Helps to convey the meaning with very little difficulty

But lack of figurative language, leaving all things quite literal
Ignores deep emotions, which ‘true’ poetry renders visceral
Thus the absence of oxymoron, hyperbole and allusion
For which bland literalism is no good substitution

But some might claim this is simply all far too transparent
Demands nothing of the reader to plumb its depths inherent
A true poem should stretch the questing mind
To open the eyes which otherwise stay blind

So poems where at first the meaning seems opaque
Where we must wrestle hard thus the hidden code to break
When we are challenged by obscure ideas and expressions
In the end the aesthetic reward is seemingly more precious

I suppose I do not wish to argue the validity of the case
In favour of poetic opacity, which doggerel might debase
But simple words conveying ideas quite transparent
I am still convinced might your close attention warrant

Ken Fisher

 

See also: In Praise of Poetry    Anatomy of Poetry

If Typists Were Poets

A Poem of Fewer Words

A Poem of Fewer Words

 

Too many words spilling out from a poem
Cascading over each other like foam
On turbulent sea waves
Our thought enslaves

Too many images flooding the mind
So many notions unconfined
Prolixity quite unbound
Doth confound

Let us with the words dispense
At least try them to condense
In the vacant space
Calm, replace

Ken Fisher

 

 

Inspiration

Inspiration [The 400th Poem posted on the Bard of Kelvindale Site]

search-6 

Sometimes in trying a poem to compose
I am filled with feelings of frustration
No new thoughts can I propose
Mind blank, devoid of any inspiration

On other days ideas come teeming in
Thoughts tumbling over in profusion
From outside or sometimes deep within
No hesitation, no muddle or confusion

How to account for these opposing moods?
Why at times words readily are found
At others groping for my muse
Inspiration tightly bound

Ofttimes when no shining light has dawned
When no spark fires the imagination
And idea’s seed cannot be spawned
The page kept barren of proclamation

But in due time the muse returns
Muted voice strangely reawakened
Again with yearning the heart will burn
And taciturnity quickly forsaken

Thus o’er these years words shaped into verse
400 poems for your delectation
My thoughts before you I rehearsed
Grateful for your dedication

Ken Fisher

Poetic Opacity

Poetic Opacity

 

Quote:

‘Opacity is an intrinsic characteristic of some poetry.
It simultaneously enables and complicates reception’
‘As much as we might have enjoyed reading (and writing) poetry when we were children, in school we are taught that poetry is inherently “difficult,” and that by its very nature it somehow makes meaning by hiding meaning.’    Matthew Zapruder (2017)

I wonder if a poem can only be a poem if it’s meaning is opaque?
Anything which is more straightforward is something of a fake
I don’t wish this comment to appear anti-intellectual
Perhaps my simple verses are really somewhat ineffectual

The use of English language, plain,  uncomplicated
Where each word and line of every verse is quite clearly stated
With a minimal use of tropes, metaphor or simile
Helps to convey the meaning with very little difficulty

But lack of figurative language, leaving all things quite literal
Ignores deep emotions, which ‘true’ poetry renders visceral
Thus the absence of oxymoron, hyperbole and allusion
For which bland literalism is no good substitution

But some might claim this is simply all far too transparent
Demands nothing of the reader to plumb its depths inherent
A true poem should stretch the questing mind
To open the eyes which otherwise stay blind

So poems where at first the meaning seems opaque
Where we must wrestle hard thus the hidden code to break
When we are challenged by obscure ideas and expressions
In the end the aesthetic reward is seemingly more precious

I suppose I do not wish to argue the validity of the case
In favour of poetic opacity, which doggerel might debase
But simple words conveying ideas quite transparent
I am still convinced might your close attention warrant

Ken Fisher

 

See also: In Praise of Poetry    Anatomy of Poetry

If Typists Were Poets

The Anatomy of Poetry

The Anatomy of Poetry

[Free verse, Blank verse, and Rhyme]

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It has been said that my poetry might really be improved
If from the tyranny of rhyme it simply could be moved
Why must I always seek to find an ever ready rhyme
Unable to complete a verse that lacks a matching line?

Dispensing with demands that words be cloaked in rhyme
Would much reduce my efforts and doubtless save me time
Thought could float more freely, words less deliberate
Such freedom surely would my thinking liberate

So what is the choice if rhyme is lost and poetry is set free?
Apparently the principal alternatives amount to simply these
Free Verse is one – which truly lets us go where’er we choose
And Blank Verse is the other – still free but less loose

Free Verse is poetry which as such has no rhyme scheme
Thus it can shift as poetic thoughts drift as in a dream
In Blank Verse the words in every line display a steady beat
Though rhyme has gone the impression is still for us quite neat

Blank verse is commonly recognized by iambic pentameter
Ten syllables per line is best in this regulated meter
Free Verse knows no such rules or very tight constraints
Poetic metaphors are its best choice, its images to paint

So here we go – discard the rhymes and let’s make all things Free
Or even Blank, if that’s your choice, perhaps you will agree
That it takes a little time to get used to these modes of thought
I hope you feel there is some gain, or was it all for naught?

When poetry is free, thoughts can range both far
And wide, according to the whim, of writer
The reader then must be prepared
To cast aside all ideas of regular shape

Or form, and open up the mind
To concepts not previously considered
Thus finding a new stimulus from
An unfamiliar literary landscape

Blank verse presents its stanzas within an ordered frame
They need not rhyme but you might still discern its steady beat
It sounds as if the clock is marking every crafted line
And it all seems quite structured, a life that’s in control
Blank verse can be demanding, requiring tonal change
And freedom gained by loss of rhyme demands new artistry
Thus freed, the poet no longer needs to seek for obscure rhymes
Thus drama, raw emotion, philosophy, give colour to his palette

Ken Fisher