Rhyme, meter and all the rest

How many poets does it take to change a light bulb?
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Rhyme, meter and all the rest

Post by camus » Wed Nov 21, 2007 12:37 am

I recently found myself in conversation with a guy, turned out he was a Lecturer at Lincoln Uni, mainly literature, but also refrigeration engineering! Anyhow after a few bevvies he came out with this:

It is impossible to write lyrical poetry unless one is good at mathematics - Perhaps a quote from elsewhere? but all the same, I think I agree!

Personally I'm stumped after basic addition, my mind won't work that way, and so when it comes to meter, the horrors of tangents and the like come streaming back, and I'm lost.

Anyone else feel that way...at all...perhaps...maybe?

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Re: Rhyme, meter and all the rest

Post by dogofdiogenes » Wed Nov 21, 2007 1:10 pm

Somebody once said a similar thing about maths and musicians to me-rhythm is only counting, after all and the rest is about the intervals...and the best musicians I know are very confident about maths, I'm not saying they're Euclid, but they're happy with the ideas. Do you think this fits in....? :mrgreen:

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Re: Rhyme, meter and all the rest

Post by Charles » Sat Nov 24, 2007 4:26 pm

I think there's a lot in that... To turn it on it's head I've heard it said that maths is the purest form of poetry. I think there is a kind of poetry in Maths, but you don't really get to see it untill you're at a high level or if that subject really turns you on... (alas, I am in neither group...)

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Re: Rhyme, meter and all the rest

Post by Globus » Fri Nov 30, 2007 8:37 pm

A friend of mine is a maths fiend, and it's interesting talking to him. He sees the world around him in mathematical terms; he looks at buildings and sees geometric and mechanic maths, at crowds in stations in terms of flow dynamics etc.

I think the connection's stronger with music than poetry; your building blocks are notes which are entirely describable in mathematic terms - you can have digital instruments that generate music off numbers. I do think you need rhythm to write well though, and an ability to understand that in number terms is useful, though whether you need a high standard of maths I'm not so sure. Probably more useful for making fridges.

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