What Makes Good Poetry

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Vic Jefferies
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Re: What Makes Good Poetry

Post by Vic Jefferies » Sat Apr 30, 2016 2:41 pm

How about we all agree that we are poets and that we also belong to the Australian Bush Poetry Association?

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Gary Harding
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Re: What Makes Good Poetry

Post by Gary Harding » Sat Apr 30, 2016 3:11 pm

What is "Good" poetry (I suggest) defies any academic or plebian definition.
Like music, it is really in the mind of the beholder.

What to me is "good" or even excellent poetry may not be so to others and I would never want to force my tastes on other folk by cunningly inflicting some pseudo-authoratative and contrived definition of GOOD poetry on them. (I draw the line at crudity and non-sensical stuff though and assert that that kind of poetry is always BAD, as has been well illustrated and documented)

I like Chuck Berry, other people like Mozart. So...?

Why do people seem to need rules and definitions.. as if it gives some comfort and security?
It is only adding to the massive (and ever-increasing) burden of regulations that (try to) govern our lives when we walk out the front gate, and before.

Do your own thing, and let the Devil take the hindmost surely?.

If you really enjoy it, then to you it is GOOD poetry and everyone else can go to.. well..

Vic.... I was unfamiliar with many of those "names" you kindly mentioned.

So I started at the beginning with Joseph Tishler... to try and improve my education at least...

http://adb.anu.edu.au/biography/tishler-joseph-8820

"...The work of most aspiring contributors (to The Bulletin) was simply rejected; Tishler's was so strikingly bad that his contributions were printed in full."
"Described by the Bulletin as 'the Poet Laureate of the Perpetually Rejected', he continued to contribute until 1953"

However Edward Harrington was a mate of his so on that basis (and your citation) alone I just bought a copy of his book ("The Book of Bellerive").... and also the fact that it was rubber-stamped "from the library of Barry Humphries" (I am a fan) added value.

So if the book is no good then my ghost will come back and haunt you Vic! :)

Anyway my recent additions (3off) include (further) copies of The Moods Of Ginger Mick, Where The Dead Men Lie, and Under Wide Skies.. all for a total of $60 for the three. That is good value, if not good poetry perhaps?

Collecting GOOD bush poetry books is fun, but beware it can also be obsessive!

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Shelley
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Re: What Makes Good Poetry

Post by Shelley » Sat Apr 30, 2016 3:34 pm

I agree, Gary - the nature of poetry is so subjective, one struggles to define it.

I suppose the only real way we can say something is "bad" (excluding offensiveness), is if it doesn't measure up to its intended aim. For example, if something is put forward as "bush poetry" but it lacks rhyme or rhythm - or if a supposed sonnet doesn't have 14 lines - then it is not correct. That of course doesn't necessarily make its content "bad poetry".

As to personal preferences in poetic styles - why be hamstrung? Some of us like Chuck Berry AND Mozart!! ;)

Cheers
Shelley
Shelley Hansen
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http://www.shelleyhansen.com

"Look fer yer profits in the 'earts o' friends,
fer 'atin' never paid no dividends."
(CJ Dennis "The Mooch o' Life")

Heather

Re: What Makes Good Poetry

Post by Heather » Sat Apr 30, 2016 4:49 pm

Someone writes about the "Australian" bush, scenery, lifestyle etc and it's not rhymed or metred. Question: what is it? Blurry lines.

(Not Brazilian Matt ;) )

Neville Briggs
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Re: What Makes Good Poetry

Post by Neville Briggs » Sat Apr 30, 2016 7:38 pm

Heather wrote: Blurry lines.
I don't get it?? :|
Neville
Singleton Bush Poets.

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Shelley
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Re: What Makes Good Poetry

Post by Shelley » Sat Apr 30, 2016 9:46 pm

I guess it is simply Australian poetry, Heather (as distinct from the format suggested by the accepted definition of Australian "bush" poetry). The poetry of Judith Wright, Ian Mudie, Flexmore Hudson and others falls into this category. Not rhymed or metred, but far from blurry!!

Conversely, if someone writes about suicide, domestic violence, dementia - but does so in rhyme and rhythm - is it Australian bush poetry? These subjects have won major prizes in written bush poetry competitions over the last few years, with poems fitting the accepted structure of bush poetry - because they are rhymed, metred, and deal with aspects of life in Australia today. In this respect our modern poets are no different from Lawson, Paterson, Dennis - who also wrote topical poems on the contemporary subjects of their time.

Cheers
Shelley
Shelley Hansen
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http://www.shelleyhansen.com

"Look fer yer profits in the 'earts o' friends,
fer 'atin' never paid no dividends."
(CJ Dennis "The Mooch o' Life")

manfredvijars

Re: What Makes Good Poetry

Post by manfredvijars » Sat Apr 30, 2016 10:01 pm

Vic Jefferies wrote:How about we all agree that we are poets and that we also belong to the Australian Bush Poetry Association?
How about all those who write Australian rhyming verse who are not members ???

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Re: What Makes Good Poetry

Post by Neville Briggs » Sat Apr 30, 2016 11:16 pm

G.K.Chesterton wrote that " port is bottled poetry " so I'm off to the winery at Pokolbin to-morrow and grab a flagon. I'll be set to lay them in the aisles...or lay me in the aisles, one or the other.
Neville
Singleton Bush Poets.

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Gary Harding
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Re: What Makes Good Poetry

Post by Gary Harding » Sun May 01, 2016 8:31 am

Yes Shelly I agree that good poetry is subjective.. in the mind or eye of the beholder... like many forms of the arts.

A very personal thing. Taste. Nevertheless I believe that should not act to suppress lively debate about the merits or otherwise of specific work. Fun and mind-exercising exchange of opinions.

If I say a poem is doggerel, carelessly constructed or even plain rubbish then I am really omitting the words "in MY opinion and according to MY taste, it is so.".. and never that because I say it is and I am backed up by the authority of a sacrosanct definition then it is fact. A subtle but important difference.

I would never use the term Accepted Definition as it raises the question who exactly accepts it?? not the omnipresent Experts?

The fact is though that sometimes one does have to try and figure out what is good bush poetry. In popular Bush Poetry Competitions for example. The buck rests with someone to adjudicate and pronounce what's good... and like it or not, the outcome is biased by their personal taste... and views.

I notice that one of the recent judges in the PM's Literary (and I use this term very loosely in the field of poetry) Award for Poetry has somehow managed to get his work into the curriculum for year 12 English. Contemporary spaced out nonsense.

So here we have a bunch of hapless students who are in an extremely competitive situation who dare not risk deviating from saying it is good, whether Ern Malley wrote it or not. WE say it is GOOD so YOU have to say it is GOOD too.. or else! They have a big gun held to their head.. you either say how good Contemporary poetry is or you may fail. And who wants to risk that elusive one mark that means getting into their career choice or not.

To put Lawson or Paterson etc up against this material by way of presenting a balanced literary presentation would be to show it up as the rubbish Contemporary poetry is. So Australia's Great Poets are deliberately sidelined and not studied. They are politically erased.
That is a travesty and shows what happens when the bad guys get control.

I am told by a teacher that only Contemporary poetry is presented in schools. I rely on that information as being correct. It was mostly the case when I went to school so I have no reason to doubt it now.

Year 12 and indeed all students should be presented with at least a balanced English offering so they can exercise their own judgement as to what is GOOD poetry, and not have the tastes of others forced upon them. Lawson, or poems about mushroom growing on the moon? At present that choice is taken away, and if they do not say that they appreciate Contemporary poetry and say it is Good, they are penalised harshly.

That is shades of a totalitarian government. For me at least it borders on downright evil in literature.
WE will say what is Good poetry.... not you. We are the all-knowing Teachers.

Yep, it is evil. And what is worse there is absolutely nobody there to challenge them.

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Maureen K Clifford
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Re: What Makes Good Poetry

Post by Maureen K Clifford » Sun May 01, 2016 12:16 pm

I agree with your take on it Gary - whenever someone has to make a decision their own personal preference is sure to come into it regardless of how much they think not. I know with the mag I sometimes think a poem is a load of codswallop and I am not using it - but then think ... well that is only IMO, so if it is not a complete mangle of the English language and reads OK and is 'user friendly' I give it a run and often that particular poem is the one the people comment on the most ... so beauty and good poetry really are in the eye of the beholder.

One can never please all of the people all of the time and when it comes to the public I doubt you can please 10% of the public at any one time. All we can do is do our best and keep promoting our poetry as and where we can and that I have to say IMO is something that our mob don't do very well.

There are opportunities every day if you keep your eyes open where you can promote your own or others poetry - speak up for or against current events on social network pages, send off letters to the Editors of Newspapers and magazines, send an email off to a politician or radio station, support causes ... eg animal welfare, breast cancer , child abuse, drugs etc etc. If every active poet on this site took an opportunity to do that just once a day imagine how much bush poetry would be floating around out there... imagine how many more people would be coming into contact with bush poetry and perhaps enjoying it, and maybe even sharing it and that is how you spread the word my friends. A stone thrown in a pond makes a ripple that spreads.

Just to give an example of how that works I saw a photograph that I liked of an old digger hand on heart above his war medals ... I 'shared' the photo and then went looking for a poem that suited that picture and came up with - Just a Common Soldier (A Soldier Died Today) by A. Lawrence Vaincourt. Put the 2 together on our ABPA Facebook site. It was shared 169 times, received 185 comments and reached out to 2.3k FB viewers. That poem and a couple of others that also did well pushed our viewing stats up this week to 4235 and our post engagement up to 412.
Check out The Scribbly Bark Poets blog site here -
http://scribblybarkpoetry.blogspot.com.au/


I may not always succeed in making a difference, but I will go to my grave knowing I at least tried.

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