How to be a writer

How many poets does it take to change a light bulb?

How to be a writer

Postby Firebird » Wed May 03, 2017 10:28 pm

Ten good pieces of advice.

http://lithub.com/how-to-be-a-writer-10 ... ca-solnit/

Enjoy!

Tristan
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Re: How to be a writer

Postby Ros » Sat May 06, 2017 9:11 am

Yes, I thought these were more interesting than most such lists.
Rosencrantz: What are you playing at? Guildenstern: Words. Words. They're all we have to go on.
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Re: How to be a writer

Postby David » Sat May 06, 2017 4:13 pm

No. 3 is particularly good - especially for poets. I have been reading George Szirtes and James Sheard recently - it's all one big meh, really - whereas the Selected Poems of Thomas Hardy (for all their occasional lumpiness and awkwardness) ... yowsah.

I can't remember the last time I read a modern poetry collection I really enjoyed - apart from this one, of course ... https://www.amazon.co.uk/Drawing-Diagra ... ary+badcoe

Maybe this is the problem: You want to read people who are wise, deep, wild, kind, committed, insightful, attentive; you want to be those people. I am all for style, but only in service of vision.

This is absolutely right.

Although, the piece does seem to be meant for professional writers - not part-time poetasters like ourselves.
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Re: How to be a writer

Postby Ros » Sat May 06, 2017 6:52 pm

Thank you for that, David!

I agree, I'm often underwhelmed by modern poetry collections. I have quite a lot - many have a few poems I really like but not often more than that. We can I think get more modern than Hardy, though. I'm intending to read all I have in detail and will report back. Anyone else want to chip in? The rule would be that you have to really like at least two thirds of the collection.

I'll start with...

Michael Donaghy - Conjure, and Dances Learned Last Night. He understands about language and rhythm and the poems are interesting.

UA Fanthorpe - From me to you. Also her work generally, so the collected poems.

Clive James - Sentenced to Life. Think you'd like this, David. He's very skillful.

Don Paterson - just reading these again. Great imagery, but some of the poems completely puzzle me.

Ros
Rosencrantz: What are you playing at? Guildenstern: Words. Words. They're all we have to go on.
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Re: How to be a writer

Postby Antcliff » Sun May 07, 2017 7:43 pm

The rule would be that you have to really like at least two thirds of the collection.


That is quite a high standard?
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Save in the tapestries of afterthought.
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Re: How to be a writer

Postby Ros » Sun May 07, 2017 8:03 pm

Do you think so, Seth? I was hoping to hone it down to those books people really rate. There are so many where I like a poem or two but feel that overall they don't add up to much.
Rosencrantz: What are you playing at? Guildenstern: Words. Words. They're all we have to go on.
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Re: How to be a writer

Postby Antcliff » Sun May 07, 2017 8:18 pm

Ros wrote:Do you think so, Seth? I was hoping to hone it down to those books people really rate. There are so many where I like a poem or two but feel that overall they don't add up to much.


Righto...two thirds it is then.

Pondering...

Seth
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Re: How to be a writer

Postby Antcliff » Sun May 07, 2017 8:18 pm

p.s. I like Fanthorpe too.
We fray into the future, rarely wrought
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Re: How to be a writer

Postby Firebird » Wed May 10, 2017 9:27 am

Liking two thirds of a collection is a high standard indeed. I like Paterson a great deal, not that keen on James - too much redundancy just to maintain metre and form.

David, if you've not read Kay Ryan she is well worth a read. Here are a few well known poems of hers.

Eggs

We turn out
as tippy as
eggs. Legs
are an illusion.
We are held
as in a carton
if someone
loves us.
It’s a pity
only loss
proves this.


BLUNT

If we could love
the blunt
and not
the point

we would
almost constantly
have what we want.

What is the
blunt of this
I would ask you

our conversation
weeding up
like the Sargasso.
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Re: How to be a writer

Postby Ros » Wed May 10, 2017 1:44 pm

James - redundancy? you really find that?

I like Kay Ryan too. She'd be on my 2/3rds list.

Ros
Rosencrantz: What are you playing at? Guildenstern: Words. Words. They're all we have to go on.
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Re: How to be a writer

Postby Firebird » Wed May 10, 2017 2:24 pm

I suppose it may be that I don't really like what James does that much. I also find that his lines are filled with too many grammar words (e.g. Prepositions, auxiliary verbs, articles, relative pronouns ...).

If Kay Ryan only makes your second or third list who would be on your first list? She'd be on my first list because she does something very different to most modern poets, and she it very successfully.

Cheers,

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Re: How to be a writer

Postby Ros » Wed May 10, 2017 2:35 pm

No, I meant Kay Ryan would pass the liking two-thirds of the book rule, so she's on my first list too.
Rosencrantz: What are you playing at? Guildenstern: Words. Words. They're all we have to go on.
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Re: How to be a writer

Postby Ros » Wed May 10, 2017 2:37 pm

I'm not sure I could write a poem without prepositions, auxiliary verbs, articles, relative pronouns. I'd agree that adverbs and adjectives are often avoided, but doesn't that just leave nouns and verbs? that's a bit limiting.
Rosencrantz: What are you playing at? Guildenstern: Words. Words. They're all we have to go on.
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Re: How to be a writer

Postby Firebird » Wed May 10, 2017 2:49 pm

Some grammar words are obviously needed. But I find his language too cluttered with them for my taste. I've noticed he likes quantifiers and intensifier, too.

Sorry, I should having realised you were talking about your 2/3rds rule.

Cheers,

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Re: How to be a writer

Postby Ros » Wed May 10, 2017 2:55 pm

It's all a matter of taste, I'm sure. I'm finding I have so much unformed rambling submitted to antiphon that I'm a bit relieved to find something where the poet has at least thought about the structure.

Ros
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Re: How to be a writer

Postby Firebird » Wed May 10, 2017 3:01 pm

Yes, it must be hard at times being an editor.

Cheers,

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Re: How to be a writer

Postby Antcliff » Wed Jun 07, 2017 5:00 pm

Currently reading Les Murray's "Taller When Prone". I like him. Currently liking about a quarter of it.
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