Paul Nervy Notes
“Jokes, poems, stories, and a lot of philosophy, psychology, and sociology.”

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Arts, literature, poetry.  ---  .This section is about poetry.  Topics include:   ---  1/24/2006

Arts, literature, poetry.  ---  (1) Poems meant to be read are a visual art.  (2) Poems meant to be said are a sound art.  ---  12/28/2006

Arts, literature, poetry.  ---  (1) Poetry as loose written structure.  Loose thoughts.  Loose meanings.  Free form scribblings.  (2) Poetry as tighter grammatical structures.  Tighter meanings.  ---  3/25/2006

Arts, literature, poetry.  ---  (1) The only thing good about poetry is that short poetry is short and to the point.  It does not waste my time.  I can read a lot of authors quickly.  (2) Another good thing about poetry, and the arts in general, is that they bring up "the seldom noticed" and "the seldom discussed", but "the important nonetheless".  (3) The main problem for male poets is how to be sensitive and smart enough to notice and record ephemera without turning into an over-civilized sissy.  Bukowski, Snyder, and Hemingway managed to do this.  (4) Another bad thing for the poet to do is futz around with nothing to say, wasting my time.  ---  6/22/1998

Arts, literature, poetry.  ---  (1) The poets are so "me, me, me".  See me, hear me, feel my pain.  See what I see, hear what I hear.  (2) Then the poets have the nerve to be cryptic, coy, flirting teases.  (3) Poetry is really a form of approach/avoidance neurosis.  ---  3/14/2000

Arts, literature, poetry.  ---  (1) The vowels carry the melody.  The consonants provide the rhythm.  (2) The most important thing in a poem is the idea.  Sound is supplemental and secondary.  If you make sound for sounds sake, you might as well play music.  ---  08/23/1988

Arts, literature, poetry.  ---  A lot of science (95%) involves merely gathering data.  Occasionally a valid new conclusion is drawn from a set of data.  So it is with poetry.  Most poetry is descriptive observation.  Only occasionally will you read a poem that draws a valid, new conclusion about life or any part of life.  ---  8/2/2001

Arts, literature, poetry.  ---  Anything you can say in poetry, you can say better in prose?  I like compact, precise, short, clear.  I hate obscure, obtuse, symbolic, metaphorical.  ---  12/30/1992

Arts, literature, poetry.  ---  Around the year 1900, in the subject of poetry, there was a shift from structured closed-form poetry to free open-form poetry.  At the same time, in the subject of music, there was a shift from structured classical music to free jazz music.  I think that, if anything, it was a case of the poets emulating the jazz musicians, rather than visa versa.  ---  8/20/2006

Arts, literature, poetry.  ---  Contra poetry.  Can we get by with poetry only?  Can society, or an individual person, function with only metaphorical reasoning?  Can society, or an individual person, function with only vague allusions?  No, poetry alone will not suffice.  ---  5/29/2007

Arts, literature, poetry.  ---  Elements.  (1) All possible forms for couplets, triplets, quartrains.  (2) Possible rhythmic patterns, syncopations.  (3) Meter, feet, lines, stanzas.  (4) Assonance, alliteration, rhyme.  (5) Vowels, consonants.  (6) Lines, paragraphs.  (7) Line length (breadth).  (8) Assonance and rhyme.  (9) Consonance and alliteration.  (10) Meter rhyme.  (11) Stanza length and structure.  (12) Piece length and shape.  (13) Plus all other elements of writing.  (14) Non metered poetry: blank verse, free verse.  (15) Ode, epic, elegy, lyric.  ---  12/30/1992

Arts, literature, poetry.  ---  Epigram: the ultimate form.  Nietszhe knew it.  ---  12/30/1992

Arts, literature, poetry.  ---  Good poetry shows a new way of looking at a thing.  A truer view of a thing.  A more ethical view of a thing.  A better attitude about a thing.  Poetry is emotionally moving.  Poetry is sensory.  Good poetry is not a cliche'.  Read a lot of poetry to see what is a cliche'.  ---  8/30/2006

Arts, literature, poetry.  ---  Highway and cars imagery.  They symbolize privacy, freedom, escape, and sex.  ---  04/26/1994

Arts, literature, poetry.  ---  If you use words merely to paint verbal pictures, as some poets do, then you will accomplish only as much as mediocre visual artists do.  However, if you use words to unravel the problems of the world, you will accomplish much more.  ---  6/30/1999

Arts, literature, poetry.  ---  Lyrics are compact, precise, powerful attitudes (thoughts and feelings).  ---  12/30/1992

Arts, literature, poetry.  ---  My definition of poetry.  Rhyme is not necessary, nor is any other sound technique necessary.  Figurative language is used.  However, I am against symbolism and metaphor.  Imagery is used.  Concentrated language is good.  ---  10/1/1999

Arts, literature, poetry.  ---  My heart is racing.  My breathing is rapid.  Am I in love and feeling the flow of endorphins?  Am I in a "fight or flight" situation with adrenaline pumping?  Am I running a marathon, muscles burning lactic acid?  Am I having a cup of coffee, high on caffeine?  No, I'm a poet!  ---  8/31/2000

Arts, literature, poetry.  ---  Nowadays anyone can write poetry.  Any subject, any view, any style.  One poem is as good (or bad) as the next.  They are all valid.  That is why poetry is hurting so bad.  It is unavoidable.  The situation is actually good and right.  I am talking about aesthetics here, not ethics.  And this phenomenon has happened in all the arts, not just in poetry.  Taste schmaste.  ---  6/26/1998

Arts, literature, poetry.  ---  Paul poetry aesthetic.  (1) No music, no rhyme, no imagery.  (2) Condensed ideas, short messages.  (3) Short, sharp, shock statements.  (4) Fu*k traditional syntax and form.  (5) Still understandable and clear.  ---  12/30/1992

Arts, literature, poetry.  ---  Poems versus song lyrics.  Poems are spoken or written.  Song lyrics are sung.  ---  8/30/2006

Arts, literature, poetry.  ---  Poet problem solver.  ---  5/7/2005

Arts, literature, poetry.  ---  Poetry (rhythm and rhyme) may have made story memorizing easier before writing was invented.  ---  12/30/1992

Arts, literature, poetry.  ---  Poetry and nonsense.  How tangential, disjointed or obtuse should we allow our thoughts to become?  When does poetry slide into nonsense?  The question is whether we are able to pull back.  Like dipping your toes into insanity and then saying, "too cold".  Some call it nonsense, some call it chaos, some call it madness.  In any poem, some people see sense and some people see nonsense.  So its relative to both reader and writer.  ---  11/20/2004

Arts, literature, poetry.  ---  Poetry as a test, a puzzle, a game.  Some people do crossword puzzles, some people read poetry.  The goal is to "figure out" the poem.  How many layers are in the poem?  How many things are going on in the poem?  How many readings will it take you to figure it out?  ---  8/20/2000

Arts, literature, poetry.  ---  Poetry defined in terms of other arts.  Poetry as painting with words.  Poetry as music from words.  ---  8/4/2002

Arts, literature, poetry.  ---  Poetry has less focus on narrator and characters.  In poetry, it is often assumed that the author is speaking directly to the reader.  Poetry is more personal.  ---  8/30/2006

Arts, literature, poetry.  ---  Poetry in the subway cars is a good thing.  ---  5/28/2005

Arts, literature, poetry.  ---  Poetry is often a form of non-fiction.  Poetry is more often autobiographical and personal than not.  Poetry is the author speaking to the reader about the poet's understanding of the world.  Poetry is not often a matter of made-up characters in pretend situations.  ---  8/31/2006

Arts, literature, poetry.  ---  Poetry is painting with words.  Poetry glorifies the lowly adjective and adverb.  ---  12/30/1992

Arts, literature, poetry.  ---  Poetry lies between rhetoric (persuasive speaking) and belief in magic spells (incantations, neurosis).  ---  11/10/1993

Arts, literature, poetry.  ---  Poetry of the senses.  The senses are so Zen.  We should call them "Zenses".  When you come down to it, being alive is about sensing.  Hooray for senses!  Simple, satisfying senses.  Examples:  (1) The sight of the dawn.  The sound of the waves.  The smell of the salt air.  The touch of the sand.  The taste of the seaweed.  (2) The sight of the city.  The sound of the traffic.  The smell of the roasting chestnuts.  The touch of the crowded sidewalk.  The taste of the bus exhaust.  ---  7/24/1999

Arts, literature, poetry.  ---  Poetry Slam objections.  (1) Art and competition are natural opposites.  (2) The selection of judges is arbitrary.  (3) They ask for clapping before and after each artist speaks.  The clapping thus means nothing.  ---  9/26/1999

Arts, literature, poetry.  ---  Poetry versus short story and novel.  Poetry is more condensed.  Poetry is more figurative.  Poetry is more personal.  ---  8/30/2006

Arts, literature, poetry.  ---  Some elements of poetry.  (1) Sensory language: describe sights, sounds, touch, taste, smell.  (2) Figurative language: simile, metaphor, allusion, etc.  (3) Musicality of words: how vowels, consonants and meter sound when you recite them.  (4) Visual patterns of written words: how the words look on the page.  ---  4/13/2001

Arts, literature, poetry.  ---  Sometimes poetry is like a spell, used to try to control things by magic.  Sometimes poetry is like a blessing, used to try to anoint a moment.  Sometimes poetry is like a dream, and dreams are clues.  ---  6/22/1998

Arts, literature, poetry.  ---  The argument for long lines in music and poetry.  Long lines allow many chord changes in one line.  Long lines allow you to say more.  Long lines allow more complicated thoughts.  Long lines are more emotionally expressive.  Multifaceted, layered emotions.  Hitting all the keys.  Ringing all the changes.  (for example, Walt Whitman, Allen Ginsberg, Bob Dylan).  ---  1/28/2002

Arts, literature, poetry.  ---  The purpose of poetry is to capture a moment or capture a state of mind.  ---  9/20/1998

Arts, literature, poetry.  ---  The sound of words, and the imagery they invoke, can add to the meaning of a poem.  ---  12/30/1992

Arts, literature, poetry.  ---  There is a natural musicality to the sound of human speech.  ---  12/30/1992

Arts, literature, poetry.  ---  Thoughts contra poetry.  (1) Imagery is b.s., figurative language is b.s..  (2) Poetry is neurotic, and poetry is a waste of time.  (3) Poetry is masturbating with sound.  (4) Poetry: the inability to think clearly or say something directly.  ---  12/30/1992

Arts, literature, poetry.  ---  Thoughts contra poetry.  Poetry is neurotic.  Poets are people so repressed that they talk in code (symbolism) and elusive references instead of plain speech.  They are often just one step from not talking at all.  They use poetry to hide, not expose.  They use poetry to say less, not more.  ---  7/11/1998

Arts, literature, poetry.  ---  Thoughts pro and contra poetry.  (1) Pro of poetry.  (A) Conciseness.  (B) Subtlety of expression due to widest vocabulary use possible.  Uses emotional as well as intellectual expression.  (2) Contra of poetry.  (A) Weaknesses of poetry include obscureness, ambiguity, and vagueness.  (B) Poetry is where language meets music.  Poetry is also where language meets magic, or our belief in and attempts at magic.  A poem is often viewed by its authors and audience as magic words.  Neurotics, children, and primitive cultures are the types of people who hold this pathological view of poetry.  The magic words, or poem, are spoken to gain protection, or alter the course of events.  Words to them are chants, spells, talismen.  (C) Slightly different is the neurotic's use of poetry as a symbol system or code to avoid thinking about the unpleasantries in life.  Metaphor is euphemism, which is pathological.  (D) The above types also fetishize the word as object (spelling, sound), instead of being concerned with the abstract idea it represents.  Thus there exists a difference between healthy poetry and pathological poetry.  This holds for all art.  Art and religion are the only way a large part of society can think, say things, and hear things.  ---  12/30/1996

Arts, literature, poetry.  ---  Thoughts pro poetry.  One good thing about poetry is that it is short, usually.  ---  04/24/1997

Arts, literature, poetry.  ---  Thoughts pro poetry.  Poetry is useful when you say "I'm not sure what I am thinking of, but it has something to do with...x."  Poetry can help you put a finger on and develop an idea.  ---  12/30/1995

Arts, literature, poetry.  ---  Types of poetry.  (1) Humorous, silly, funny vs. serious.  (2) Political.  (3) Feminist.  (4) Nature, environment.  (5) Sex, love.  (6) Death, time, age.  (7) Work.  (8) Health.  (not to many work and health poems, why?  It is very important).  (9) Image poems (all 5 senses) vs. word sound poems vs. idea poems.  (10) Long vs. short poems.  (11) Nonsensical dada vs. sensical.  (12) Concrete vs. abstract poems.  (13) Celebrating good vs. anger and sadness over bad injustices.  (14) Wild and decadent vs. domestic.  ---  12/30/1995

Arts, literature, poetry.  ---  Types of poetry.  (1) Object poems (concrete things, or even subjective mental states) vs. subject poems (abstract ideas, ex. freedom).  (2) Object poems break down into: (A) Place poems (city, mountains, beach, suburbs, rural).  (B) Time poems (the seasons, time of day, etc.).  (C) People poems (her face, her body, her mind).  (D) Self poems (I feel, I think, I remember).  ---  10/30/1997

Arts, literature, poetry.  ---  Types.  (1) By meter, by stanza structure.  (2) By rhyme: assonance and consonance.  (3) By types of language used: similes, metaphors, sensory language, etc.  ---  12/30/1992

Arts, literature, poetry.  ---  Types.  (1) Eastern poetry.  Ephemeral, fleeting, transitory qualities of season, weather, time of day (nature) in order to describe the infinite shades of emotion and attitude.  Subjective.  Favor the short lyric.  Aesthetics themes.  (2) Western poetry.  Timeless, objective, rational truths.  Moral themes.  Long forms, narrative (story telling).  ---  02/01/1994

Arts, literature, poetry.  ---  What makes it a poem?  The visual artists have addressed this question in the first half of the twentieth century regarding visual art.  If you say its art then its art.  If you say its a poem then its a poem.  ---  10/25/2001

Arts, literature, poetry.  ---  What qualifies as poetry?  Everything spoken or written has a poetic element to it.  Poetry is not just rhyme.  Poetry is not just sound.  Poetry is not just figurative language.  Indeed, all forms of communication have a poetic element to them.  ---  7/11/1998

Arts, literature, poetry.  ---  When can you tell the subject of a poem, and thus classify poems by subject?  ---  3/18/2000

Arts, literature, poetry.  ---  When is it poetry and when is it prose?  ---  6/9/2004

Arts, literature, poetry.  ---  When writing poetry, it is better to pick the more accurate word than the more beautiful word.  This goes to show that poetry is less about beauty and more about accuracy, and the term "accuracy" is another way of saying "truth".  Poetry is more about truth than beauty.  ---  1/4/2002

Arts, literature, poetry.  ---  Why do people read at poetry readings?  Poetry reading metaphors.  (1) The poetry reading is like a battle you fight.  (This metaphor is conflict ridden).  (2) The poetry reading is like a product you sell.  (This metaphor is too empty).  (3) The poetry reading is like a journey you take.  (Eh).  (4) The poetry reading is like "a way you do".  (Eh).  (5) The poetry reading is like a thing that you bring to show and tell.  (Okay).  (6) The poetry reading is your contribution to a global conversation.  (Yeah).  ---  7/5/2000

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Paul Nervy Notes. Copyright 1988-2007 by Paul Nervy.