Thursday, December 18, 2008

Speech & Poetry

We know my unshrouded contempt for the claim that 2d art is poetry.

But why?

Here might be an analogue to help:

A painter paints, but then realizes that people, when they are not looking at his paintings, are talking about his paintings.

He says to himself "ah, it is not my painting that people love, it is the experience of my painting they love -- especially the talking about it."

So in order to help people talk about his paintings, he begins to incorporate words on his canvasses. He also starts to include larger and larger explanation placards to give his audience talking points.

One day, he doesn't produce a painting at all, but a large 4x3 white canvas with 16-point type describing a painting that isn't there. Eureka! He has given his fans what they truly want!

Not the painting, not the looking at the painting -- but the shared experience of having thought about looking at the painting -- the water-cooler chat, as it were.

"But," some child says, "you haven't painted anything. You aren't a painter anymore -- this isn't a painting."

"Oh, the ignorance of youth" thinks the painter. "Of course I am a painter, I have just found the essence of painting and given it to my audience."

In all of this,
the "painter" thinks he knows best.
In all of this,
the "painter" ignores the nature of his art.

Painting is eye-candy. As long as colors and shapes are on a canvas, we will look at them. We may talk about them to our friends -- to those who can't see the colors in front of them, but the experience, the purpose of a painting is to see it. No description can do a painting justice.

In the same way,
poetry is ear-candy. We will listen if it sounds good. When we are unable to listen, we may "listen in our heads" by reading the poem -- but the experience of the poem is aural, not visual. When we move away from the aural, we move away from poetry.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

We need a new Milton

(thanks to Silliman for the link)

from the article:

"How did we get to the position, in our cultural history, where our poets are so bad? Milton supplies us with some of the answer in his great poem Lycidas, the lament for a lost Cambridge contemporary who will never fulfil his promise.

First, the lost poet is described as "a learned Friend". As Yeats and Eliot's poetry show, becoming a poet is a hard apprenticeship. Poets must steep themselves in the old stories, the old mythologies, the old culture.

Poets provide a society with its most articulate memories. Homer created for the Greeks, the collective memory of the Trojan war, just as the Beowulf poet kept alive the glimmering memories of the heroic North just as it was about to vanish."

Looks like I'm not the only crazy in the world.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Your narrative poetry?

We already know that narrative poetry is superior to lyric poetry.

I called for the writing of narrative poetry about half a year ago.

Does anyone have any to share?

Look for some from me on 1/19/9 or 19/1/9, you know, depending on your time/date preference.


Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Because College Football is Awesome

That's right.
Go friggin Gators.

Florida is going to beat the pee out of Oklahoma.

OU scores 2.2 times as many points as its opponents.
UF scores 3.4 times as many.

OU has allowed 319 points by its opponents.
UF has allowed 167.

So UF outscores OU by 120%, and allows half as many points.

Oh, and the average defense rankings of the teams OU has played is in the 70s. Florida's defense is ranked 9th. And they're pretty awesome against the pass.

I smell a blowout.

In an average game, Florida scores six touchdowns (44 points) and OU scores seven-and-a-half (54).
Florida allows just two (13) and OU allows three-and-a-half (25).

I'm thinking OU gets about half of its regular score (54 ppg) and Florida gets about 125% of its regular score (44 ppg):

Florida: 56
Oklahoma: 28

Go Gators!

Monday, December 8, 2008

True Believers

from Ender in Exile:

"True believers in a cause often behave in self-defeating ways because they expect other people to see the rightness of their cause if they just state it clearly enough. As a result, they tip their hand in every game and can't understand why everyone gangs up against them."