Forum / Politics in poetry?

  • Pictures-of-life-of-the-new-york-police-department-in-the-1970s-89.thumb
    Dave Hemmings
    Mar 22, 11:20am

    I'm new here, but wanted to bring this up for civil discussion (I've seen some of the opposite). My personal view is that for the most part, politics and poetry don't mix very well because (again, in my view) they seem like oil and water, and therefore aren't meant to blend together. I'm not so sure that a "political poem" is indeed not an oxymoron. It seems best to utilize prose for politics and not in some ways reduce poetry to something it is not meant to be.

    All opinions welcome, but no assaults/altercations necessary.

  • Samuel Derrick Rosen
    Mar 22, 01:54pm

    This is what I have been saying all along. Every political poem I have had the misfortune to read has been rank rotten. Writing a poem is a very solitary, individual act whereas politics is for the collective and the weak. Political poems get praised for what they say and not for how they say it.

  • Samuel Derrick Rosen
    Mar 22, 02:10pm

    You will likely receive a pm warning you I am a troll and urging you to ignore me, that's what they've been doing to new members.

  • Adcaker_.thumb
    Arturo Ruiz
    Mar 22, 02:45pm

    I sadly disagree with this.

    Just read anything by our Poet Laureate Juan Felipe Herrera or by Carolyn Forche to see that poems can be both beautiful and political.

    Here's one that also comes to mind by Rigoberto Gonzalez (whose recent collection I just finished reading):

    https://www.poetryfoundation.org/poems-and-poets/poems/detail/57875

  • Adcaker_.thumb
    Arturo Ruiz
    Mar 22, 02:46pm
  • Samuel Derrick Rosen
    Mar 22, 02:53pm

    But those are not political poems.

  • Pictures-of-life-of-the-new-york-police-department-in-the-1970s-89.thumb
    Dave Hemmings
    Mar 22, 02:54pm

    Thanks, Samuel and Arturo.

    I do think it possible that politics CAN be infused into poetry, but it does require that poet to mine the poetics, if you will, from the politics. However, I don't believe that a "poem" centering solely on a political figure or stance is much to be revered.

  • Samuel Derrick Rosen
    Mar 22, 02:55pm

    At least not to me.

  • Adcaker_.thumb
    Arturo Ruiz
    Mar 22, 02:56pm

    A poem literary about paying attention to politics:

    https://www.poetryfoundation.org/poems-and-poets/poems/detail/58028

  • Samuel Derrick Rosen
    Mar 22, 02:56pm

    Dave, you should read the 2 poems Arturo linked and tell me if you consider them political poems.

  • Samuel Derrick Rosen
    Mar 22, 02:58pm

    That last one linked is awful.

  • Adcaker_.thumb
    Arturo Ruiz
    Mar 22, 03:00pm
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    Arturo Ruiz
    Mar 22, 03:00pm

    Also political (and beautiful and brilliant):

    https://www.poets.org/poetsorg/poem/everyday-we-get-more-illegal

  • Samuel Derrick Rosen
    Mar 22, 03:01pm

    I'm going to read it again.

  • Samuel Derrick Rosen
    Mar 22, 03:03pm

    This section of the If You Are Over Staying Woke poem is decent:

    "White the hydrangeas

    Drink the white

    Waterfall the

    cricket songs

    Keep a song mind"

    The rest of the poem is crap.

  • Adcaker_.thumb
    Arturo Ruiz
    Mar 22, 03:06pm

    I disagree, Sam. I think it's awesome.

    On the larger point, the best way to approach politics in poems is "slant-wise." Come at the topic from the side or from behind. If you come at it straight on, you are likely to lose the battle. But that's what poetry does best, anyway -- poetry talks AROUND subjects, never ABOUT them.

  • Pictures-of-life-of-the-new-york-police-department-in-the-1970s-89.thumb
    Dave Hemmings
    Mar 22, 03:11pm

    I really don't consider the poems linked by Arturo political poems. What I am referring to are "poems" that, again, focus on a political stance or figure. To me, these smack of diatribe and propaganda, not what I consider the true concept of poetry.

  • Samuel Derrick Rosen
    Mar 22, 03:13pm

    The Riot poem is not particularly good (and anyone can start a riot and use that Luther King quote to try to justify it)

    The Everyday We Get More Illegal poem has pretty turns of phrase but again I am not so sure it is a political poem, the title is political but the content isn't necessarily so. Take out the references to Indian and Mexican and you have this:

    Yet the peach tree
    still rises
    & falls with fruit & without
    birds eat it the sparrows fight
    the desert

    burns with trash & drug
    it also breathes & sprouts
    vines & maguey

    laws pass laws with scientific walls
    detention cells husband
    with the son
    the wife &
    the daughter
    they stay behind broken slashed

    un-powdered in the apartment to
    deal out the day
    & the puzzles
    another law then another

    spirit exile


    migration sky
    the grass is mowed then blown
    by a machine sidewalks are empty
    clean & the Red Shouldered Hawk
    peers
    down — from
    an abandoned wooden dome
    an empty field

    it is all in-between the light
    every day this changes a little

    yesterday homeless &
    w/o papers Albert
    left for Denver a Greyhound bus he said
    where they don’t check you

    walking working
    under the silver darkness
    walking working
    with our mind
    our life.

    It has very little political content, it is more about banishment, rejection, isolation, alienation, these are not explicity political themes.

  • Samuel Derrick Rosen
    Mar 22, 03:16pm

    I'm enjoying this thread, it is an interesting discussion. I haven't enjoyed anything on Fictionaut for quite a while.

  • Adcaker_.thumb
    Arturo Ruiz
    Mar 22, 03:33pm

    You don't think an migrant's feeling of isolation is political? You're joking right? o.O

  • Samuel Derrick Rosen
    Mar 22, 03:35pm

    I like this section of the RIOT poem:

    The earth is a beautiful place.
    Watermirrors and things to be reflected.
    Goldenrod across the little lagoon.

    The Philosopher says
    “Our chains are in the keep of the Keeper
    in a labeled cabinet
    on the second shelf by the cookies,
    sonatas, the arabesques. . . .
    There’s a rattle, sometimes.
    You do not hear it who mind only
    cookies and crunch them.
    You do not hear the remarkable music—‘A
    Death Song For You Before You Die.’
    If you could hear it
    you would make music too.

    In fact that could be a whole poem in itself, it's title could be In The Keep Of The Keeper.

  • Samuel Derrick Rosen
    Mar 22, 03:37pm

    "ou don't think an migrant's feeling of isolation is political? You're joking right? o.O"

    Only if you mention migrant, feeling of isolation is not exclusive to migrants, that is where the poem would let itself down, that is what would make it political.

  • Adcaker_.thumb
    Arturo Ruiz
    Mar 22, 03:38pm

    Found a great quote in a Poetry Foundation article about how all poems in some way are political:

    "Plato wanted to banish poets from his Republic because they can make lies seem like truth."

  • Pictures-of-life-of-the-new-york-police-department-in-the-1970s-89.thumb
    Dave Hemmings
    Mar 22, 03:38pm

    Yes, the EWGMI poem as presented here is quite poetic.

    I guess I feel the same way in general concerning those (very well-meaning) folks who strongly believe that sing-song "poems" are true poetry. I recently read some of this written by a good friend and had to refrain from being overtly critical. My response was very generic; I wanted to let them know how I really felt but knew that if I did their feelings would have been gravely wounded -- and that would not have served any good purpose. So it's fine for anyone to write "poetry" and to believe with no doubt that it is "poetry" -- it then depends on what happens next, e.g., a response.

  • Samuel Derrick Rosen
    Mar 22, 03:39pm

    And make it a lesser poem, because it singles out a particular group of people either for the purpose of sympathy or for the purpose of condemnation.

  • Pictures-of-life-of-the-new-york-police-department-in-the-1970s-89.thumb
    Dave Hemmings
    Mar 22, 03:39pm

    So this may beg a larger question: WHAT THE FUCK IS POETRY?

  • Pictures-of-life-of-the-new-york-police-department-in-the-1970s-89.thumb
    Dave Hemmings
    Mar 22, 03:41pm

    And: WHAT THE FUCK IS A FUCKING POEM??

  • Samuel Derrick Rosen
    Mar 22, 03:43pm

    "found a great quote in a Poetry Foundation article about how all poems in some way are political:

    "Plato wanted to banish poets from his Republic because they can make lies seem like truth"

    I understand this and have considered it myself but that is not the kind of political we are talking about.

  • Adcaker_.thumb
    Arturo Ruiz
    Mar 22, 03:43pm

    Poetry is a spoken event -- hence the narrator of poems are called speakers. So just because the writer feels he has created poetry, doesn't make it so. Poems, if a spoken event, require a listen to engage with it to create meaning. So in that way I agree with you, Dave. But I disagree that poems can't be political. I don't see how anyone can read any of the poems I've listed here and not see politics.

  • Adcaker_.thumb
    Arturo Ruiz
    Mar 22, 03:45pm

    And with that final post, I'm exiting the conversation, because, like poetry, I feel like I'm talking around a topic, and not quite breaking through.

  • Pictures-of-life-of-the-new-york-police-department-in-the-1970s-89.thumb
    Dave Hemmings
    Mar 22, 03:47pm

    Arturo, I have to again say that what I am referring to is a "poem" that centers on a political figure or partisan stance. Anyone can write about that -- and very well, in fact -- using prose. I just don't think it needs to be expressed via poetry. Let's reserve that for the arts not the politicians and their feverish followers.

  • Samuel Derrick Rosen
    Mar 22, 03:50pm

    Just a little anecdote:

    I attended a "poetry" reading a while back in the west end of Glasgow, some middle class white female who was either a bank teller or a school teacher stood up and read out a "poem" about how much she was against racism, and it was just so cringe inducing , more so for the fact that she won some little prize for it, apparently at some poetry readings they give out a little prize for what they think was the best poem of the night. I had earlier read out a poem about the Bhudda and I just could immediately sense the collective hostility directed my way. I thought afterwards that if they had given me the prize I would have then thought there was something wrong with my poem.

  • Pictures-of-life-of-the-new-york-police-department-in-the-1970s-89.thumb
    Dave Hemmings
    Mar 22, 03:54pm

    I've attended a few readings like that as well. It seems that many times what is expected is "poetry" that pushes some sort of stance or movement. Isn't that what essays are for? Isn't that what people do at rallies and marches? So when someone gets up and reads (what at least I consider to be) a POEM about something other than the aforementioned, the response is many times rather one of apathy, and the "applause" is only given to be "polite".

  • Samuel Derrick Rosen
    Mar 22, 03:55pm

    When I say political poetry I am talking about the kind of crap you come across on Ted Speaks. Ted Speaks comes across a little like Jonestown minus the cyanide, unfortunately without the cyanide.

  • Pictures-of-life-of-the-new-york-police-department-in-the-1970s-89.thumb
    Dave Hemmings
    Mar 22, 03:56pm

    I just googled TS -- yeah, that's NOT poetry at all.

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    Dave Hemmings
    Mar 22, 03:58pm

    Also -- just because something "looks like a poem" and/or "sounds like a poem" doesn't necessarily make it poetry. That is the intrinsic debate. A duck isn't a fucking goose.

  • Samuel Derrick Rosen
    Mar 22, 03:58pm

    "I've attended a few readings like that as well. It seems that many times what is expected is "poetry" that pushes some sort of stance or movement. Isn't that what essays are for? Isn't that what people do at rallies and marches? So when someone gets up and reads (what at least I consider to be) a POEM about something other than the aforementioned, the response is many times rather one of apathy, and the "applause" is only given to be "polite""

    EXACTLY, at last, someone who has had the same experiences as myself. The better the poem you read out the less likely they understand it, it is like you are talking in tongues and then you start to feel like one of the non-pod people from the Invasion of the Body Snatchers.

  • Pictures-of-life-of-the-new-york-police-department-in-the-1970s-89.thumb
    Dave Hemmings
    Mar 22, 04:02pm

    Yes, and I think it's moreso true here in America than anywhere else. Americans, for the most part, have no fucking idea what POETRY really is, should be, or could be. And it's not necessarily anyone's fault, but instead is because we really have never fully understood the true meaning of it. Therefore, it's a lot easier to write something political, sing-songy, etc. and be satisfied that, alas, a poem has been written. And when this is met with any amount of criticism -- even the constructive kind -- the "poet" can typically become utterly insulted: "What do you mean this isn't a poem?"

  • Pictures-of-life-of-the-new-york-police-department-in-the-1970s-89.thumb
    Dave Hemmings
    Mar 22, 04:07pm

    But I do like Billy Collins. He takes everyday situations, emotions, etc. and somehow mines them for true poetics. I realize he has a lot of detractors, but let's face it, he was a US Poet Laureate, and has, I believe, contributed to the change (or beginning of change) in American poetry.

  • Samuel Derrick Rosen
    Mar 22, 04:08pm

    I worry constantly about whether what I write is poetry but I try not to let it get in my way. You get the feeling these kinds of people we are talking about never worry about stuff like that.

    And I don't know about you but I find that the vast majority of stuff that gets printed and published is more like the stuff you hear at these "poetry" readings. People these days all write about the same things in the exact same way, there is no individuality in them. I'd rather try to write something different and fail at it rather than write something workshoppy and have it be printed. Most of the people who get their shit printed have MFAs in creative writing, I wrote a poem that got accepted in a magazine and I allowed myself a shot of pride when I saw in the bios that I was the only one that didn't have an MFA and my poem was the only one that rhymed, not that rhyming is a good thing, in fact it is often a bad thing, but that's exactly what made me feel good about it.

  • Adcaker_.thumb
    Arturo Ruiz
    Mar 22, 04:12pm

    So now we're attacking people with MFAs?

    I have an MFA.

    I worked damn hard for it.

  • Pictures-of-life-of-the-new-york-police-department-in-the-1970s-89.thumb
    Dave Hemmings
    Mar 22, 04:13pm

    I agree, Samuel. I used to subscribe to Poetry Magazine. But as time went on I saw that they primarily published MFA-ers, professors, the academia crowd, editors, publishers, those who have a literary resume longer than my arm. Rarely do you see something by a nobody. I cancelled my subscription and let them know why. No response, of course. So I also don't care much for this either. I am a nobody.

  • Pictures-of-life-of-the-new-york-police-department-in-the-1970s-89.thumb
    Dave Hemmings
    Mar 22, 04:14pm

    And that is fine, Arturo. There is NOTHING wrong with that. I could never accomplish it.

  • Pictures-of-life-of-the-new-york-police-department-in-the-1970s-89.thumb
    Dave Hemmings
    Mar 22, 04:15pm

    Also, Arutro, no one is attacking anyone here. I certainly am not.

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    Arturo Ruiz
    Mar 22, 04:17pm

    But apparently the people who have worked hard studying and writing in the medium you're critiquing aren't a good judge of what is or isn't poetry. I find this thread remarkable in the arrogance that neither of you (or anyone for that matter) get to say what is or isn't a poem. You can say it doesn't appeal to you. Or that you don't write in that particular fashion. But you don't get to say it isn't a poem.

  • Pictures-of-life-of-the-new-york-police-department-in-the-1970s-89.thumb
    Dave Hemmings
    Mar 22, 04:17pm

    What I am saying as to MFA folks: It doesn't take an MFA (or any other degree) to be a great poet. Some of the world's best poets have little or no formal education.

  • Pictures-of-life-of-the-new-york-police-department-in-the-1970s-89.thumb
    Dave Hemmings
    Mar 22, 04:19pm

    The definition of poetry is indeed very subjective. That is unfortunate but, sadly, true.

  • Pictures-of-life-of-the-new-york-police-department-in-the-1970s-89.thumb
    Dave Hemmings
    Mar 22, 04:21pm

    It's the elitists vs. the nobodies. I root for the latter.

  • Samuel Derrick Rosen
    Mar 22, 04:23pm

    Arturo, calm down, I like your work.

    No one is saying having an MFA means a lack of talent.

    Not getting to say what you think is a crap poem is part of the problem we are talking about. The PC crowd are in charge of what gets printed and what doesn't.

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    Arturo Ruiz
    Mar 22, 04:25pm

    Just because someone took their writing serious enough to study for an MFA doesn't make them elitist.

    Again, the arrogance here is astounding (especially for someone who cited Billy Collins, who has spent his entire life in academia).

  • Samuel Derrick Rosen
    Mar 22, 04:28pm

    "What I am saying as to MFA folks: It doesn't take an MFA (or any other degree) to be a great poet. Some of the world's best poets have little or no formal education"

    Some? I'd say most.

  • Pictures-of-life-of-the-new-york-police-department-in-the-1970s-89.thumb
    Dave Hemmings
    Mar 22, 04:29pm

    I never said that an MFA is an elitist inherently. But some of them are, or can be. I'm glad you're not one. As for B.C., you are correct, but do you not agree that one would never know he came from academia by reading his work? I see him as one of the nobodies who happened to become very fortunate. And let me say this, Arturo -- there is no arrogance coming from me on anything here. I am very sorry you have misinterpreted my meaning and position.

  • Samuel Derrick Rosen
    Mar 22, 04:29pm

    "just because someone took their writing serious enough to study for an MFA doesn't make them elitist"

    The publishers are elitist, not necessarily the writers themselves.

  • Pictures-of-life-of-the-new-york-police-department-in-the-1970s-89.thumb
    Dave Hemmings
    Mar 22, 04:30pm

    "Some? I'd say most."

    I stand to be corrected.

  • Samuel Derrick Rosen
    Mar 22, 04:32pm

    Although a lot of them are.

  • Pictures-of-life-of-the-new-york-police-department-in-the-1970s-89.thumb
    Dave Hemmings
    Mar 22, 04:33pm

    It frightens me to realize that, as we speak, there are possibly millions of "nobodies" out there who are writing amazing poetry and fiction, yet are being drowned out via publishers by those who have "better resumes/bios".

  • Pictures-of-life-of-the-new-york-police-department-in-the-1970s-89.thumb
    Dave Hemmings
    Mar 22, 04:36pm

    So since I only have a B.A. and will never obtain an M.F.A., does that mean I am now doomed to inferior writing? I fucking hope not.

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    Dave Hemmings
    Mar 22, 04:39pm

    Arturo, do you think your writing would not have been very good had you not obtained the MFA?

  • Samuel Derrick Rosen
    Mar 22, 04:48pm

    If you want to know about arrogance Arturo I could tell you about the poetry night I myself organized and financed back in Sept last year, a little evil feminist harpie Germaine Greer lookalike turned up and tried to sabotage it, aided by her leftie friends. She was rude to me, tried to overtake proceedings, complained all night, stormed around the room and when it was her turn to read she demanded some old guy at the back of the bar shut up so she read out her little pearls of wisdom, he shut up and then she proceeded to announce in very smug tones that she was going to read out a poem about Edinburgh, a female member of the audience made a joke about how you can't read a poem about edinburgh in glasgow and she stormed off and refused to read it. At the beginning of the night she demanded that I change the running order so her transgender friend could read out a poem earlier than planned, her transgender friend (male btw in anatomy) turned up and read out a long monologue about she/he stood on the side of the sisterhood and how his/her "poem" was dedicated to the little evil harpie aforementioned. My neighbour friend stood by their little group and overheard them complaining all night, saying all sorts of stuff behind my back. They complained of a low turn out and accused me of not promoting the event well enough, even though I spent a day going around Glasgow putting up posters in bars etc. They obviously thought because they'd been published by their little leftie friends magazines that they had some kind of celebrity status and the low turnout must have been due to neglect. These people are published constantly (whereas I have had very few published) win poetry competitions on a regular (most likely because their pals are the judges), get held up like they are poetic geniuses etc and they are still not fucking happy, they are the epitome of smugness and arrogance. The poetry world, like the theatre world, is incest, and very few writers, if any, get printed on merit alone.

  • Pictures-of-life-of-the-new-york-police-department-in-the-1970s-89.thumb
    Dave Hemmings
    Mar 22, 04:54pm

    That is definitely sad and unfortunate. Arrogance in the name of Poetry, that most sacred endeavor. I fail to understand why folks like this seemingly insist on killing it without even knowing what they're doing.

  • Samuel Derrick Rosen
    Mar 22, 04:55pm

    I really do not wish to give this guy any kind of publicity but I am going to post this link to prove what I am saying is true, the people I mentioned ie my poetry night are the same people who push this guy as some kind of genius, he constantly wins competitions and has actually had 2 books of his "poetry" published:

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XB9VXlQyMRs

  • Samuel Derrick Rosen
    Mar 22, 04:56pm
  • Samuel Derrick Rosen
    Mar 22, 05:01pm

    Slam poetry is for spastics, in fact I may use that for a title for a slam parody.

    Slam poetry is for spastics
    The draculas and the drastics
    The organics and the plastics
    The ghosts in the dusty attics
    The lords and their semantics
    The restless and the frantics
    The impotents and the mantrics
    The midgets and gigantics
    The junkies and romantics
    Slam poetry is for spastics

    How's that for a first draft/start off point?

  • Pictures-of-life-of-the-new-york-police-department-in-the-1970s-89.thumb
    Dave Hemmings
    Mar 22, 05:06pm

    I will check these out later...the current powers to be would frown upon my partaking of such.

    Slam poetry -- we purists all know that those two words are 100% oxymoronic. And moronic as enjoinders.

  • Pictures-of-life-of-the-new-york-police-department-in-the-1970s-89.thumb
    Dave Hemmings
    Mar 22, 05:08pm

    Slam poetry deserves nothing. The bottom line? IT IS NOT POETRY.

  • Samuel Derrick Rosen
    Mar 22, 05:58pm

    The vegans and the gastrics
    The tropics and the arctics
    The beatniks and the convicts
    The rustics and their thumbsticks
    The drumsticks and the lipsticks
    The cowslicks and the deep-six
    The metrics and the fabrics
    The sidekicks and the psychics
    The picnics and the pinpricks
    The atomics and the bolsheviks
    The italics the islamics,
    The plumbers, the mechanics
    Interior designers, pnuematics
    Cryonics and ceramics, cathartics
    and didactics, the acrylics
    and arthritics, cock-eyed mystics
    and their statistics, the gothics
    and their gimmicks, the pedantics
    and their panics, the anals
    and the elastics, slam poetry is for
    spastics

  • Samuel Derrick Rosen
    Mar 22, 06:00pm

    So here it is in full:

    Slam poetry is for spastics
    The draculas and the drastics
    The organics and the plastics
    The ghosts in the dusty attics
    The lords and their semantics
    The restless and the frantics
    The impotents and the mantrics
    The midgets and gigantics
    The junkies and romantics
    The vegans and the gastrics
    The tropics and the arctics
    The beatniks and the convicts
    The rustics and their thumbsticks
    The drumsticks and the lipsticks
    The cowslicks and the deep-six
    The metrics and the fabrics
    The sidekicks and the psychics
    The picnics and the pinpricks
    The atomics and the bolsheviks
    The italics the islamics,
    The plumbers, the mechanics
    Interior designers, pnuematics
    Cryonics and ceramics, cathartics
    and didactics, the acrylics
    and arthritics, cock-eyed mystics
    and their statistics, the gothics
    and their gimmicks, the pedantics
    and their panics, the anals
    and the elastics, slam poetry
    is for spastics!

    I think it is right up there with the best of Stephen Watt.

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    Sam Rasnake
    Mar 23, 10:51pm

    Sekou Sundiata, a brilliant, in my view, poet of the slam world though that was only one aspect of his work. A reading/performance- "Blink Your Eyes". Also a political poem.

    https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=6b6ydMA3tAM

  • Samuel Derrick Rosen
    Mar 23, 11:31pm

    This is like Maya Angelou after a sex change operation with a glass of watered down Ginsberg and a sprinkle of Ted Speaks:

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=P--wXaBpqgw

    Compare it to Hart Crane's Brooklyn Bridge and Atlantis poems, not very good readings but still:

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6CbhHhG_FU8

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XchbjALQHwc

    I think if Hart Crane had been African American he would be ultra famous today, atm he is and for a long time has been grossly neglected.

    I'll try to look for better readings, it almost seems people are deliberately giving bad readings of Crane, if only he himself had made recordings.

  • Samuel Derrick Rosen
    Mar 23, 11:40pm

    More Sundiata

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yLyJ-kEjick

    If he only resisted using the race card his "poetry" would be much better. There are actually great black poets but have been neglected due to the fact their work steers away from the fact they are black.

    The work of ethnic poets suffer much in the same way as female poets do due to their fixation on on their gender, they are far too concerned with their colour of their skin, and I think they do it because it is easy, it's a cop out. They make a big deal about transcending cultural barriers and yet they make a living out of those same barriers.

    Hart Crane was tortured due to his homosexuality and he ended up diving off a ship and drowning himself, yet read his work and there is no overt reference to his sexuality, this is why his work was great.

  • Samuel Derrick Rosen
    Mar 23, 11:42pm

    And there are a million Sekou Sundiatas out there being published and given publicity, Sundiata just happens to better than most.

  • Samuel Derrick Rosen
    Mar 23, 11:55pm

    I'm going to check out more of Sundiata's stuff though, see if I can find something that wows me.

  • Samuel Derrick Rosen
    Mar 24, 12:01am

    This is quite good:

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UQ0wX0ysrUg

    Although it does have a hint of Ted Speaks about it.

  • Samuel Derrick Rosen
    Mar 24, 12:07am

    This reminds me of my Slam poetry parody except Robbins makes it better because he doesn't race through it like the slammers usually do, video somewhat spoilt by the view of the leftie/feminist freaks in the background all pathetically trying to give the impression they understand the words and occasionally laughing at the parts they think they're supposed to laugh at:

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yoXLBaTVtSo

  • Samuel Derrick Rosen
    Mar 24, 12:09am

    Robbins should read out one of my poems and the poems of some other writers on here, he would be great reading my Intermission: New York City poem.

  • Samuel Derrick Rosen
    Mar 24, 12:17am

    This is a creepy video, looks like it was filmed at the headquarters of some communist cult, quite a dull poem and at times I cringed, especially at the part about the car keys:

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Su99Q1iM5Fw

    This is the description beneath the video:

    Split This Rock's mission is to call poets to a greater role in public life and foster a national community of activist poets; to build the audience for poetry of provocation and witness from our home in the nation's capitol; and to celebrate poetic diversity and the transformative power of the imagination.

    Poetic diversity? They must be joking. And activist poetry? I have to laugh when I hear that term. All they are doing is wallowing in the pool of their own collective narcissim.

  • Samuel Derrick Rosen
    Mar 24, 12:29am

    By all means these people should go on marches and scream until the cows come home, they can riot in the streets for all I care but they should stay away from poetry.

    I think that most of them are mentally ill.

    Until the Left (and it is something more than the Left, it is something a lot more sinister that doesn't have a name) stop getting art funds this will never stop, there needs to be something done about this because right now truly talented writers are being left out in the gutter in favour of these retards.

  • Samuel Derrick Rosen
    Mar 24, 12:40am
  • Samuel Derrick Rosen
    Mar 24, 12:42am

    A fucking awful reading of Plath's worst poem:

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=otRo3y-71Oo

  • Samuel Derrick Rosen
    Mar 24, 12:53am
  • Samuel Derrick Rosen
    Mar 24, 12:58am

    If Sundiata had written this and read it out and it was put up on youtube people would be calling it genius, and there are parts of this I now cringe at this a little, that I would have written it a tad differently if I were writing it now, most likely because it does resemble slam in some way, and it did not receive even one comment here on FC:

    Intermission: New York City

    The liquid cognizance of this wide green sphere
    makes my eyes water, my conscience cheer,
    mademoiselle meridians swapping their places,
    this is the moment when no one praises
    and praxinoscopes like gods are at once everywhere

    beyond the beyondness where dead minds stare
    at transmitters transmitting an otherness that spills
    a morality that drives its own engine of ills,
    and all the houses of dolls with all their lights on
    deny categorically an inescapable dawn,

    mouths are closed, hands withdrawn.
    Overdosing on certainty could destroy one's physique
    says the Statue of Liberty (our tongue in her cheek)
    Peering out at the music and architecture of chance,
    from a distance she looks like she's dreaming of France.

    The Bowery Park rats piss on newspaper print,
    the evening dissolves, shades of primordial mint
    scatter across the Hudson, in almost perfect pitch
    immigrant ghosts sing, serenade Brooklyn Bridge,
    even the souls of the Indians sing to Brooklyn Bridge.

    Kaleidoscopes gather in the playground of elves,
    where we are no one, other than ourselves,
    and all the little girls and all the little boys
    celebrate their pains, bemoan their joys.
    Whispering amnesties and a dead demise,

    monoliths invade arcades of eyes,
    vagabonds on Broadway vomiting silence,
    fear neon fatality, political science,
    and all the Philip Marlowes and all the Mona Lisas
    read the Wall Street Journal, drink margaritas.

    Sub-electric sorrows masquerading as love
    unanimous renounce below and above.
    The Fifth Avenue poets say there's nothing to dread.
    The ordeal is over, King Kong is dead.
    As still down below as she is up above,

    Manhattan waits like a mistress in love
    with the waiting, her suitors fixating on the number 7,
    believe heaven is hell, that hell is heaven,
    that there are no intentions, only mistakes,
    amid the roar of lions and the hiss of snakes.

    To the strains of Walt Whitman and Thelonious Monk,
    a voice discarnate vows to debunk
    physical laws, mute premonitions,
    cyclopean legend, Medusa like visions,
    realities that plunge in un-whispering rhyme.

    This is not history. This is not time.
    This is the place where the fool must mime.
    No eye sees these strategies of mirrors.
    No eye sees what a truth disfigures,
    it sees only itself, in a crystal chaos,

    an explosion of privilege, a burst of pathos.
    Babylon to Babylon. Atlantis to Atlantis.
    Let us become like the praying mantis
    or let us be hushed, pay homage to the sun,
    bask in the brilliance of the number 1.

  • Samuel Derrick Rosen
    Mar 24, 01:04am

    I also cringe at it a little because it is a bit too rhyme driven.

  • Samuel Derrick Rosen
    Mar 24, 02:06am

    Youtube comment on one of the poems:

    Mati_azz1 year ago
    Where the fuck has poetry gone... Holy shit

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    Dave Hemmings
    Mar 24, 11:43am

    It is disappointing -- and surprising -- that this topic has not garnered a lot more discussion on this site.

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    Dave Hemmings
    Mar 24, 11:45am

    Are there only three people here who think it's relevant?

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    Arturo Ruiz
    Mar 24, 03:18pm

    Might I nicely suggest not bashing other people's poetic expression? It's not productive.

    Let folks be folks.

    Spend more time worrying about your own writing, rather than complaining about what other people are doing.

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    Dave Hemmings
    Mar 24, 04:08pm

    Well, Arturo, I am most certain you have directed this to someone other than myself, seeing that not once have I "bashed" anyone at any time. I also have not "complained about what other people are doing." More precisely I have expressed my personal opinion as to 1) whether or not politics should or can be part of poetry and 2) what exactly "poetry" is. In doing so, I have not "bashed" anyone's "poetic expression." Evidently you still do not understand the point/thrust of this topic. Why don't you go ahead and remove yourself from this one and comment on something else? Or create your own thread?

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    Arturo Ruiz
    Mar 24, 04:19pm

    Really? You haven't bashed someone else's poetic expression?

    And I quote: "Slam poetry deserves nothing. The bottom line? IT IS NOT POETRY."

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    Dave Hemmings
    Mar 24, 04:22pm

    Arturo -- do you honestly believe that slam poetry is really poetry? You have an MFA. Don't you think that someone who writes/performs this and touts it as "POETRY" is at the least a bit confused and misled? Let's face it: Anyone can write something that "slams" something.

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    Dave Hemmings
    Mar 24, 04:24pm

    My point is this: Poetry in its most pure sense is not easy to write. If someone has no difficulty writing what they consider a "poem," then in my view it's merely drivel; anyone can do it. To echo Wallace Stevens: "(Poetry) can kill a man."

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    Dave Hemmings
    Mar 24, 04:25pm

    Arturo: Would you actually write a "slam" poem and go somewhere to read it?

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    Dave Hemmings
    Mar 24, 04:27pm

    It's fine that some folks defend themselves as to what they consider to be "poetry". But I think we all know that everything "poetic" or "poetic-sounding" is not necessarily poetry in its purist form.

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    Arturo Ruiz
    Mar 24, 04:27pm

    Many wonderful younger poets started in slam or continue in slam.

    Danez Smith
    Wendy Xu
    Morgan Parker

    Again, you are not the arbiter of what is or isn't poetry.

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    Dave Hemmings
    Mar 24, 04:29pm

    And I have never heard of any of them. I am sorry, but it is still my opinion that "slam poetry" has no direct relationship to what poetry truly is, or can be.

    And whoever said I was arbitrating anything? You seem to be doing just that yourself.

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    Arturo Ruiz
    Mar 24, 04:29pm

    Another example of a performative poets would be Robert Pinksy or Langston Hughes. They all wrote with their poems to be HEARD first, not read. Slam is the same -- it's meant to be heard.

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    Dave Hemmings
    Mar 24, 04:30pm

    Please tell me, Arturo: What is poetry?

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    Arturo Ruiz
    Mar 24, 04:30pm

    Then you need to read more.

    And focus on writing.

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    Dave Hemmings
    Mar 24, 04:31pm

    No. Slam is NOT the same. Slam is NOT poetry. Slam is basically rap without the backup beat.

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    Dave Hemmings
    Mar 24, 04:31pm

    I read plenty, thank you. Just not pretend poets.

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    Arturo Ruiz
    Mar 24, 04:33pm

    My answer to what is poetry is way up above. Poetry is a spoken event. It is a written piece that requires a listener (or reader) to help create meaning. As William Carlos William said, poetry is a small machine made out of words.

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    Arturo Ruiz
    Mar 24, 04:36pm

    Danez Smith is not a pretend poet. Two books and a widely published: https://www.poetryfoundation.org/poetrymagazine/poems/detail/58645

    Morgan Park is not a pretend poet. Two books and widely published:
    https://www.poetryfoundation.org/poetrymagazine/poems/detail/58052

    Your writing is not impressive enough for you to make such a nasty declaration of someone being a pretend poet.

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    Dave Hemmings
    Mar 24, 04:36pm

    Well, then, I guess you and I will, as they say, agree to disagree. I am beginning to feel a little like James Wright.

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    Dave Hemmings
    Mar 24, 04:37pm

    And neither is yours, believe me.

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    Dave Hemmings
    Mar 24, 04:38pm

    It's amazing, too, since you have an MFA!

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    Dave Hemmings
    Mar 24, 04:38pm

    Hey -- you attacked me first.

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    Dave Hemmings
    Mar 24, 04:40pm

    Let me guess ... you hate Trump.

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    Dave Hemmings
    Mar 24, 04:42pm

    Can we PLEASE get SOMEONE ELSE to comment here?

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    Dave Hemmings
    Mar 24, 04:45pm

    I will add -- Do you think William Carlos Williams or Wallace Stevens or Robert Frost would approve of "slam poetry"? I truly think not.

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    Dave Hemmings
    Mar 24, 04:58pm

    Well, everyone, it appears I just got slammed by Arturo. What a way to greet a newcomer.

  • Samuel Derrick Rosen
    Mar 24, 05:14pm

    I would say most poems are meant to be read aloud/recited but Slam is something else entirely, Slam gives poetry a bad name.

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    Dave Hemmings
    Mar 24, 05:14pm

    SDR -- Yes.

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    Dave Hemmings
    Mar 24, 05:16pm

    And I truly do not think any well-intentioned MFA-er (except Arturo, evidently) would argue this point. Well, maybe a few would.

  • Samuel Derrick Rosen
    Mar 24, 05:18pm

    Many wonderful younger poets started in slam or continue in slam.

    Danez Smith
    Wendy Xu
    Morgan Parker

    Phrasis by Wendy Xu is pretty good I think.

    Stilled as in image, at dawn sliding into
    blue harbor, boats clang, where does he
    the man I imagine gripping several ropes
    return from. Is he conflicted, does he
    perceive the sky oscillating like
    a dimmer machine, a mouth, a war, language
    not declaring its most
    effective self, bellum grazing ever
    nearer to beauty, a possible apotheosis how
    what is left of sense
    is comfort. Not inebriated much anymore,
    I rented a lawn to stand in with you, crueler
    was always singing to our mutual forks,
    knives. Our translation
    of a subject drones
    on unblinking, something black for him
    returning, his forearms there laid
    themselves down, ships gone out another
    pale-plated night.

    Morgan Parker and Danez Smith on the other hand.........

  • Samuel Derrick Rosen
    Mar 24, 05:19pm

    "any wonderful younger poets started in slam or continue in slam.

    Danez Smith
    Wendy Xu
    Morgan Parker"

    was meant to be in quotation marks.

  • Samuel Derrick Rosen
    Mar 24, 05:25pm

    This is just self empowering therapy shit masquerading as something else:

    Let Me Handle My Business, Damn

    By Morgan Parker

    Took me awhile to learn the good words
    make the rain on my window grown
    and sexy now I’m in the tub holding down
    that on-sale Bordeaux pretending
    to be well adjusted I am on that real
    jazz shit sometimes I run the streets
    sometimes they run me I’m the body
    of the queen of my hood filled up
    with bad wine bad drugs mu shu pork
    sick beats what more can I say to you
    I open my stylish legs I get my swagger
    back let men with gold teeth bow to my tits
    and the blisters on my feet I become electric
    I’m a patch of grass the stringy roots
    you call home or sister if you want
    I could scratch your eyes make hip-hop die again
    I’m on that grown woman shit before I break
    the bottle’s neck I pour a little out: I am fallen.

    I like it's reference to Whitman but I suspect her target audience know nothing of greats like Whitman, her target audience are those that would listen to/read her because of the simple fact she is black.

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    Dave Hemmings
    Mar 24, 05:27pm

    To me, these are like throwaway tunes by a band that only has one "good" song.

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    Charlotte Hamrick
    Mar 24, 05:33pm

    Fluidity is what I love most about poetry. It's never static because the writer and the reader will never interpret the poem exactly the same.

    I think "Riot" is an extraordinary poem. It's full of passion and it excites. I see it as more a commentary on society than political but I understand how some may label it political. IMO, that's perfectly ok.

    I do not care for blatantly political poetry because I read and write poetry for pleasure. I want to escape the constant bombardment of politics and protest. I don't want to read "protest" poetry. But that's me. I understand why others thrive on it.

    As to what poetry is? It's whatever the poet and reader want it to be. I don't like "rules". I also believe a poet without formal education can write great poetry, even greater than one with higher education. Life experience is just as important. One of my fave quotes is by Patti Smith: "Technology has democratized self-expression." I say hallelujah to that.

    Welcome, Dave.

  • Samuel Derrick Rosen
    Mar 24, 05:35pm

    And this is an example of the creepy leftie workshop templating:

    alternate names for black boys

    By Danez Smith

    1. smoke above the burning bush
    2. archnemesis of summer night
    3. first son of soil
    4. coal awaiting spark & wind
    5. guilty until proven dead
    6. oil heavy starlight
    7. monster until proven ghost
    8. gone
    9. phoenix who forgets to un-ash
    10. going, going, gone
    11. gods of shovels & black veils
    12. what once passed for kindling
    13. fireworks at dawn
    14. brilliant, shadow hued coral
    15. (I thought to leave this blank
    but who am I to name us nothing?)
    16. prayer who learned to bite & sprint
    17. a mother’s joy & clutched breath

    Something anyone could do.

    What the Left have done is they have given the reins over to the so called oppressed, women, transgenders, homosexuals, and people from ethnic backgrounds. They have become their enablers and hijacked the arts so such things as "poetry" are used as weapons to brainwash people, to make the young believe they are somehow more disadvantaged than everyone else, that their sexuality or their gender or their clubfoot or their cockeyedness has importance.

    Their main perogative is to create political movements against their perceived enemes by means of the abuse of the arts.

  • Samuel Derrick Rosen
    Mar 24, 05:38pm

    Or under the guise of promoting the arts and diversity within the arts.

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    Gary Hardaway
    Mar 25, 01:42am

    SDR is an asshole. Politics is certainly the purview of poetry as is any human experience.

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    Sam Rasnake
    Mar 26, 03:17pm

    SDR, don't agree, of course, with your view of Sundiata, but how everyone receives and views poetry is too individual to catalogue. We all like, we don't like, and so forth. No particular type of poetry - as in slam - gives poetry, as you say, a bad name. Bad pietry is bad poetry, but that will never be determined by form or genre. That, in my view, would be impossible, pointless. It's taste - not an absolute.

    I will agree with you - call and raise, in fact, on your view of Hart Crane... but let me add that the US has only produced three or four other poets equal to the greatness of Crane.

    And, David, "Slam is NOT poetry. Slam is basically rap without the backup beat." is really too much of a limiting over-simplification of your own poetic taste ... I can understand someone not enjoying certain works or writers. That's fine and expected, but saying slam is not poetry is a bit of a bridge too far.

    Some might even argue that prose poems are not poetry. That's much too blind a view as well. Here are some prose piem collections I like: The World Doesn't End by Charles Simic, Poeta en San Francisco by Barbara Jane Reyes, and The Tunnel: Selected Poems by Russel Edson, Paris Spleen by Charles Baudelaire. Just thought I'd add prose poems to the mix.

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    Gary Hardaway
    Mar 26, 03:40pm

    Without politics, there'd be very little Shakespeare, Homer, Dante, Sophocles, Euripides, or Aeschylus. All great, dead, white poets.

  • Samuel Derrick Rosen
    Mar 26, 09:43pm

    Sam,

    I think Sundiata is very charismatic, I'll give him that. I agree poetry is subject to taste but I think the politics Dave and I are talking about is different from the politics everyone else is talking about. What would be your other 3 or 4 great US poets? Dickinson surely has to be one of them?

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    Sam Rasnake
    Mar 26, 11:44pm

    Dickinson - yes. Elizabeth Bishop. Jack Gilbert. William Stafford.

    Natasha Teethewey is very close. James Wright and Charles Wright, also close.

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    Sam Rasnake
    Mar 26, 11:49pm

    That should be Trethewey. Sometimes my Kindle conspires against me.

  • Samuel Derrick Rosen
    Mar 27, 03:13am

    What about Millay and Whitman? Wallace Stevens?

    I'll check those out you mentioned, I need some poetic inspiration because I feel like I've been stuck in the same groove for quite a while.

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    Sam Rasnake
    Mar 27, 03:35am

    Wallace Stevens is a pillar- strong, strong voice. Love his work, and could see him on my short list. Millay's poetry never appealed to me. Have read Whitman many times. Fascinating, though his voice and lines are loud - the polar extreme of Dickinson. I'm firmly in her camp.

    Three poets I continually turn to - Lynda Hull, Larry Levis, Jane Hirshfield. Each of these could easily be near the top. They are as good as Stevens.

    I spent years reading Pound and Eliot. I should add WC Williams. Strong poets - especially Williams. Also Adrienne Rich and Mary Oliver.

    The most underrated, under-read US poet? Frank Stanford. He died young. For me, he was to poetry what Faulkner was to the novel & O'Connor was to short fiction. He is their equal.

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    Arturo Ruiz
    Mar 27, 01:10pm

    I am on board with everyone Sam has named, especially Jane Hirshfield. I would add:

    Frank O'Hara
    John Ashbery
    Frank Bidart
    Edward Hirsch
    Sylvia Plath
    Anne Sexton

    I go to all of these frequently, especially the latter two.

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    Dave Hemmings
    Mar 27, 01:49pm

    Due to being attacked here for simply expressing an opposing viewpoint, I will refrain from any further posts on this topic. One would think that a newcomer to any site would be treated in a fair manner and not be told to fuck off.

  • Adcaker_.thumb
    Arturo Ruiz
    Mar 27, 02:14pm

    You might take a good hard look at the thread and the attitude you brought as a "newcomer." Presuming to be the arbiter of poetry is at best arrogant, and worst offensive, especially to those of us who may write in the mode you are disparaging. You might also realize that there is a wide spectrum of poetics and poetry schools that may not be in the genre you prefer to read or hear, but are just as valid as any other form you like.

    The best way to talk about poetry is not to question whether it is or isn't poetry. Instead, you should look individually at the piece and question what the poet is doing or trying to do. Ask yourself, who is the speaker of this poem, what mask is he or she wearing, and for what ostensible purpose? Then maybe, once you get the bottom of what the poet is trying to accomplish on a high level, look at it on the micro level -- the music of the line, the music of the stanza, does the poem take any specific form or scheme, etc. But approaching a conversation about poetics by claim there is a "purest form of poetry" (whatever that means) and then claiming some other form isn't pure or valid isn't a productive or intelligent way to approach a discussion. Hence, the reaction you've received.

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    Dave Hemmings
    Mar 27, 02:18pm

    Thanks, Arturo, for your MFA-based bias.

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    Dave Hemmings
    Mar 27, 02:19pm

    And I do not recall asking YOU for a response in the first place.

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    Dave Hemmings
    Mar 27, 02:20pm

    Also, what is with the word newcomer in quotes?

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    Arturo Ruiz
    Mar 27, 02:27pm

    Because someone you think being new to a site is a pass for your impertinence.

  • Adcaker_.thumb
    Arturo Ruiz
    Mar 27, 02:27pm

    somehow*

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    Dave Hemmings
    Mar 27, 02:29pm

    Again, your MFA is parading itself. It appears now that this site has a clique, and that you're part of it. Too bad Jurgen couldn't have warned me of this beforehand.

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    Mathew Paust
    Mar 27, 03:47pm

    Bravo, Arturo!

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    Dave Hemmings
    Mar 27, 03:53pm

    Ah, another clique member, I see.

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    Mathew Paust
    Mar 27, 04:03pm

    We outnumber you, but we're not predatory. We just turn our backs on pompous assholes.

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    Dave Hemmings
    Mar 27, 04:07pm

    No one's pompous here but you and your pompous little band of predatory, pompous assholes.

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    Dave Hemmings
    Mar 27, 04:13pm

    This place is like no other -- once someone expresses an opposing viewpoint it is met with asshole remarks. People like this don't like it when someone disagrees with them, even in a civil manner.

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    Mathew Paust
    Mar 27, 04:17pm

    Says the pissant who started all this by coming here and telling us all what's what, and then playing the Jurgen card when the blowback got a little too heated. Jurgen might have let you in, but he's laffing his ass off in Senegal. You're on your own now, baby blue.

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    Dave Hemmings
    Mar 27, 04:18pm

    I didn't start anything except a formal, civil discussion. You and another turned it into assholery.

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    Dave Hemmings
    Mar 27, 04:18pm

    Try reading the opening post.

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    Dave Hemmings
    Mar 27, 04:19pm

    And just who are you defending here?

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    Sam Rasnake
    Mar 27, 05:54pm

    Arturo,

    Great additions- especially Bidart, Plath, and O'Hara. Yes.

    Here's my favorite Frank O'Hara poem - though it's not included in his Collected Poems. It didn't surface until 12 years or so after his death. Apparently, O'Hara was notorious for writing then losing poems. John Ashbery had this poem, a folded piece of paper in a book, if I remember correctly. He sent to American Poetry Review in the late '70s.

    Windows

    This space so clear and blue
    does not care what we put

    into it Airplanes disappear
    in its breath and towers drown

    Even our hearts leap up when
    we fall in love with the void

    the azure smile the back of a
    woman’s head and takes wing

    never to return O my heart!
    think of Leonardo who was born

    embraced life with a total eye
    and now is dead in monuments

    There is no spring breeze to
    soften the sky In the street

    no perfume stills the merciless
    arc of the lace-edged skirt

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    Arturo Ruiz
    Mar 27, 06:09pm

    Holy cow, that's gorgeous. Thanks for sharing. I've never seen it before.

    My favorites are his more "talky" poems, like Having a Coke With You or Lana Turner or Ave Maria.

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    Mathew Paust
    Mar 27, 06:29pm

    It's breathtaking. Mature, too ;) Thanks, Sam.

  • Samuel Derrick Rosen
    Mar 27, 06:47pm

    The Windows poem is just ok, it is certainly not a bad poem but it seems to me unfinished, like it is short of a few more lines.

  • Samuel Derrick Rosen
    Mar 27, 06:55pm

    Dave,

    I am surprised at Arturo because he was never part of the clique and was for a large part underappreciated on this site until very recently, it saddens me a little because I still like his writing.

    Paust maybe was always an asshole (he seems to have turned into Hardonaway's identical twin) but he and I were at one time simpatico.

    Someone else whose poetry I liked sent me a pm recently instructing me to stay away from her work.

    I think the MFA thing touched a few raw nerves, but the best thing to remember is that it's only the internet.

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    Rachna K.
    Mar 27, 07:00pm

    Not only staying away from work but stop sending me your work for feedback. It is alright SDR, you can say my name. And I don't have an MFA but that has nothing to do why I sent you a PM.

  • Samuel Derrick Rosen
    Mar 27, 07:05pm

    The only reason I sent you my work was not so much for feedback, it was more for your edits, I liked your economy.

    I myself enjoy editing/restructuring the work of others, not because of any ego trip but because I think it helps me with my own approach to my own stuff.

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    Rachna K.
    Mar 27, 07:08pm

    Thanks for clarifying, SDR.

    If you enjoy editing the work of others, then you should keep it to yourself, unless they ask for your opinion.

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    Arturo Ruiz
    Mar 27, 07:11pm

    SDR,

    Rest assured I am part of no clique, on this site or in real life. I simply will not tolerate (or stay silent in the face of) arrogant writers who have nothing better to do than disparage the mode of other writers. If you don't like what a certain set of poets are up to, move on. Why even engage in a conversation to discredit their work?

    I stick to myself on this thing. But when your friend felt it necessary to call certain talented poets "fake poets" and to say certain forms are not poetry, I decided to respond. As if he's so exalted that he gets to be the ultimate judge of other poets. Give me a break. Moreover, I'm disheartened by the blatant racism and sexism you have espoused on this thread.

  • Samuel Derrick Rosen
    Mar 27, 07:14pm

    Certain set? It's the whole set. Maybe you are ignorant of the fact that there is a political bias in who/what gets published and who/what does not get published?

    Arrogant? I think you need to look elsewhere for arrogant.

  • Samuel Derrick Rosen
    Mar 27, 07:15pm

    As for the blatant racisim and sexism accusation, I knew that was coming, I just thought it would have come sooner.

  • Samuel Derrick Rosen
    Mar 27, 07:21pm

    As for Dave, he is not a friend, he is just a guy who happens to share some of the same opinions and some of the same complaints.

    He has experienced the same things I have. And I will admit the hostility that has come his way is not because of what he is expressing but because of the fact he is agreeing with me, the Fictionaut pariah, the quintessential outcast, and let's face it, any site worth its salt needs at least one.

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    Mathew Paust
    Mar 27, 07:21pm

    Arturo, I believe there's a maturity issue at play here, too. Precocious youngsters who haven't lived enuf to have any real insight to the human condition. They learn the vocabulary and do some reading and then strike out as if they're now journeymen, if not masters. It can be cute at a certain age, but eventually life intervenes and they must learn to handle the depths. These two, I'm afraid, are nowhere near that point yet.

  • Adcaker_.thumb
    Arturo Ruiz
    Mar 27, 07:46pm

    SDR,

    Write what you write. Some people will like it. Others will hate it. Others will have no opinion. But spending so much time arguing about whose poetry is "pure," (again, what does that even mean) or whether a certain kind of poetry is valid or not, is the black hole of criticism. It gets you no where.

    As I said earlier, let folks be folks.

    If you don't like what someone is up to, move on. As far as I'm aware, no one on this site has been appointed the judge and executioner of poetry.

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    Arturo Ruiz
    Mar 27, 07:50pm

    I think you'd all appreciate this poem by a dear teacher of mine, titled The Critics

    https://medium.com/@ladowich/the-critics-de3227b8dd95

  • Samuel Derrick Rosen
    Mar 27, 08:12pm

    I like "islands of shadow".

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    Charlotte Hamrick
    Mar 27, 08:23pm

    Arturo, thanks for sharing Kathleen's poem. I really like it. Now I'll have to look for more from her.

    Also enjoyed your share, Sam.

    More of this, less bickering, please.

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    Gary Hardaway
    Mar 28, 12:26am

    Come on, Charlotte- everybody enjoys a shit storm every year or so. SDR needed help to start one but was ably assisted by Dave. Yes?

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    Arturo Ruiz
    Mar 28, 01:19am

    Kathleen Ossip's book "The Do-Over" is a must have. She's brilliant.

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    Sam Rasnake
    Mar 28, 02:27am

    Enjoyed The Critics. Here's an Osip poem - deep and slow, impossible to forget:
    "I'm afraid of death"

    I’m afraid of death
    because it inflates
    the definition
    of what a person
    is, or love, until
    they become the same,
    love, the beloved,
    immaterial.

    I’m afraid of death
    because it invents
    a different kind of
    time, a stopped clock
    that can’t be reset,
    only repurchased,
    an antiquity.

    I’m afraid of death,
    the magician who
    makes vanish and who
    makes odd things appear
    in odd places—your
    name engraves itself
    on a stranger’s chest
    in letters of char.

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    Sam Rasnake
    Mar 28, 02:28am

    That should be Ossip.

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    Arturo Ruiz
    Mar 28, 02:33am

    Yes!! That's in her newest collection, The Do-Over. Telling you, the book is brilliant.

  • Samuel Derrick Rosen
    Mar 29, 05:12pm

    I do like that poem. It feels like there should be 4 stanzas though, it ends a bit obscurely.

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    Arturo Ruiz
    Mar 30, 09:23pm

    love rejected
    hurts so much more
    than love rejecting;
    they act like they don't love their country
    no
    what it is
    is they found out
    their country don't love them
    --Lucille Clifton

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    Gary Hardaway
    Mar 31, 12:55am

    Amen.

  • Bride_frankenstein_16.thumb
    Sam Rasnake
    Apr 07, 02:04pm

    Political poems, four of my favorites - And to be clear, it's impossible for me to separate politics from social or ethical. This may or may not be correct, but it is, however, my view.

    "At the Un-National Monument along the Canadian Border" by William Stafford

    This is the field where the battle did not happen,
    where the unknown soldier did not die.
    This is the field where grass joined hands,
    where no monument stands,
    and the only heroic thing is the sky.

    Birds fly here without any sound,
    unfolding their wings across the open.
    No people killed—or were killed—on this ground
    hallowed by neglect and an air so tame
    that people celebrate it by forgetting its name.

    ~

    "What Kind of Times Are These" by Adrienne Rich

    There's a place between two stands of trees where the grass grows uphill
    and the old revolutionary road breaks off into shadows
    near a meeting-house abandoned by the persecuted
    who disappeared into those shadows.

    I've walked there picking mushrooms at the edge of dread, but don't be fooled
    this isn't a Russian poem, this is not somewhere else but here,
    our country moving closer to its own truth and dread,
    its own ways of making people disappear.

    I won't tell you where the place is, the dark mesh of the woods
    meeting the unmarked strip of light—
    ghost-ridden crossroads, leafmold paradise:
    I know already who wants to buy it, sell it, make it disappear.

    And I won't tell you where it is, so why do I tell you
    anything? Because you still listen, because in times like these
    to have you listen at all, it's necessary
    to talk about trees.

    ~

    "Incident" by Natasha Trethewey

    We tell the story every year—
    how we peered from the windows, shades drawn—
    though nothing really happened,
    the charred grass now green again.

    We peered from the windows, shades drawn,
    at the cross trussed like a Christmas tree,
    the charred grass still green. Then
    we darkened our rooms, lit the hurricane lamps.

    At the cross trussed like a Christmas tree,
    a few men gathered, white as angels in their gowns.
    We darkened our rooms and lit hurricane lamps,
    the wicks trembling in their fonts of oil.

    It seemed the angels had gathered, white men in their gowns.
    When they were done, they left quietly. No one came.
    The wicks trembled all night in their fonts of oil;
    by morning the flames had all dimmed.

    When they were done, the men left quietly. No one came.
    Nothing really happened.
    By morning all the flames had dimmed.
    We tell the story every year.

    ~

    "Of the Thread that Connect the Stars" by Martin Espada

    Did you ever see stars? asked my father with a cackle. He was not
    speaking of the heavens, but the white flash in his head when a fist burst
    between his eyes. In Brooklyn, this would cause men and boys to slap
    the table with glee; this might be the only heavenly light we'd ever see.

    I never saw stars. The sky in Brooklyn was a tide of smoke rolling over us
    from the factory across the avenue, the mattresses burning in the junkyard,
    the ruins where squatters would sleep, the riots of 1966 that kept me
    locked in my room like a suspect. My father talked truce on the streets.

    My son can see the stars through the tall barrel of a telescope.
    He names the galaxies with the numbers and letters of astronomy.
    I cannot see what he sees in the telescope, no matter how many eyes I shut.
    I understand a smoking mattress better than the language of galaxies.

    My father saw stars. My son sees stars. The earth rolls beneath
    our feet. We lurch ahead, and one day we have walked this far.

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    Dave Hemmings
    Apr 07, 02:22pm

    Outliers.

  • Bride_frankenstein_16.thumb
    Sam Rasnake
    Apr 07, 02:48pm

    What in your view, Dave, is a political poem? An example?

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    Dave Hemmings
    Apr 07, 02:52pm

    As I've stated too many times -- a "poem" centering solely on a political figure or stance. But yet again, a "political poem" in my opinion is an oxymoron. The ones you have posted are not political poems in this sense. If one was not informed that they were "political" I think the poems could be taken as anything else.

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    Dave Hemmings
    Apr 07, 02:58pm

    But as it has been expressed, I am now the pariah on this site. What a way to treat a new member who has merely shared his own views about a topic. When someone disagrees they immediately enter attack mode. That's how it is with political zealots.

  • Bride_frankenstein_16.thumb
    Sam Rasnake
    Apr 07, 03:11pm

    I'm trying to understand your view here, and it does seem to be a personal view as opposed to a literary view. Since, Stafford and Rich, for example, spoke often about their political statements. So, the writers certainly politics in mind when these two pieces were. Many editors, readers, classrooms... also read them as political poems.

    You've stated many times in the thread - a "poem" (and I'm not certain as to why the quotations, but they are important to you) centering solely on a political figure or stance. And I'll stop there for a moment, so you can see where I'm coming from. The next part of your explanation, which doesn't give me an example, that a political poem is an oxymoron. Extend that idea in a logical fashion and religious poems, just to name another subgroup, would be an oxymoron. Then it would follow that science poems or ekphrastic poems - music, art, cinema - would also be examples of the oxymoron. Surely this isn't what you mean.

    Ok - political figure... Here's another poem by Trethewey that in my view is a political and certainly does focus on a political figure. [Fictionaut has a limited posting platform that will not include italics here. Some of this poem is italicized. Here's a link: www.poetryfoundation.org/poems-and-poets/poems/detail/57697 ]

    "Enlightenment"

    In the portrait of Jefferson that hangs
    at Monticello, he is rendered two-toned:
    his forehead white with illumination —

    a lit bulb — the rest of his face in shadow,
    darkened as if the artist meant to contrast
    his bright knowledge, its dark subtext.

    By 1805, when Jefferson sat for the portrait,
    he was already linked to an affair
    with his slave. Against a backdrop, blue

    and ethereal, a wash of paint that seems
    to hold him in relief, Jefferson gazes out
    across the centuries, his lips fixed as if

    he's just uttered some final word.
    The first time I saw the painting, I listened
    as my father explained the contradictions:

    how Jefferson hated slavery, though — out
    of necessity, my father said — had to own
    slaves; that his moral philosophy meant

    he could not have fathered those children:
    would have been impossible, my father said.
    For years we debated the distance between

    word and deed. I'd follow my father from book
    to book, gathering citations, listening
    as he named — like a field guide to Virginia —

    each flower and tree and bird as if to prove
    a man's pursuit of knowledge is greater
    than his shortcomings, the limits of his vision.

    I did not know then the subtext
    of our story, that my father could imagine
    Jefferson's words made flesh in my flesh —

    the improvement of the blacks in body
    and mind, in the first instance of their mixture
    with the whites — or that my father could believe

    he'd made me better. When I think of this now,
    I see how the past holds us captive,
    its beautiful ruin etched on the mind's eye:

    my young father, a rough outline of the old man
    he's become, needing to show me
    the better measure of his heart, an equation

    writ large at Monticello. That was years ago.
    Now, we take in how much has changed:
    talk of Sally Hemings, someone asking,

    How white was she? — parsing the fractions
    as if to name what made her worthy
    of Jefferson's attentions: a near-white,

    quadroon mistress, not a plain black slave.
    Imagine stepping back into the past,
    our guide tells us then — and I can't resist

    whispering to my father: This is where
    we split up. I'll head around to the back.
    When he laughs, I know he's grateful

    I've made a joke of it, this history
    that links us — white father, black daughter —
    even as it renders us other to each other.

  • Bride_frankenstein_16.thumb
    Sam Rasnake
    Apr 07, 03:18pm

    I dropped a word or three in that opening paragraph. Sorry about that. Let try that part again-

    Stafford and Rich, for example, spoke often about their poems as political statements. So, the writers certainly had politics in mind when these two pieces were.

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    Dave Hemmings
    Apr 07, 03:19pm

    No, I simply mean -- and I fail to fathom why this is so difficult to understand -- that poetry and politics do not mix very well (as I have stated earlier). I just do not feel that mixing politics and poetry works. To me, politics not only muddies poetry, it defiles it. And with that, I am done with this discussion.

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    Chris Okum
    Apr 07, 06:04pm

    When I hear someone say that there should be no politics in anything what I think they really mean is that there shouldn't be any politics that aren't conservative politics. Anything left of the right is seen as political, while anything that sits squarely on the side of the right is seen as a self-evident truth devoid of any political significance, and hence benign. That's my opinion anyway. Feel free to fling some kind of pejorative my way or question my masculinity. That seems to be the order of this particular argument, anyway.

  • Mugshotme_(3).thumb
    Mathew Paust
    Apr 07, 06:16pm

    Chris, you ignorant slut...Matt, you pompous ass...

  • Samuel Derrick Rosen
    Apr 07, 07:47pm

    Dave

    I agree. It is more to do with people abusing poetry in order to further their own cultural marxist agenda, same with the feminists, they use poetry as a means to further their own propaganda.

    They are not in it for the art.

  • Samuel Derrick Rosen
    Apr 07, 07:50pm

    Dave, you are the pariah because you agreed with me, that is why you were attacked. However, roughly 90% of "people" on here are Marxists and feminists so it isn't any wonder people who are not inclined in that way will experience hostility.

    The lefties seem to be quite adept at bullying.

  • Samuel Derrick Rosen
    Apr 07, 07:58pm

    I also agree those poems Sam posted are not political poems, at least not the political we are talking about.

  • Bride_frankenstein_16.thumb
    Sam Rasnake
    Apr 07, 08:56pm

    Samuel, maybe you can explain. I asked Dave a couple of times to give me examples of his view of a political poem, and he reiterated what a political poem is not. The idea I'm left with is that he believes a poem shouldn't be political because a good poem, however that may be defined, can't be political.

    I won't ask to explain Dave. But, could you explain to me why Adrienne Rich's "What Kind of Times Are These" is not in your view a political poem? I realize some of this purely personal view. I know Rich stated this to be a political poem and wrote it as a political poem. I'm interested in why you don't view it as a political piece.

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    Mathew Paust
    Apr 07, 10:16pm

    Sam, you're trying to reason with a tape loop.

  • Bride_frankenstein_16.thumb
    Sam Rasnake
    Apr 08, 03:27pm

    Too much.

  • Samuel Derrick Rosen
    Apr 09, 01:01am

    Sam wrote

    "Samuel, maybe you can explain"

    Sam, I already have.

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    Smiley McGrouchpants
    Apr 09, 03:46pm

    Politics in art means How Shit is Stacked (or who has stuff, who doesn't, and who gets to decide). A story like "My dad got fired from his job and started drinking and beat my mom and we had to leave home," for example. What you do or don't address, causally, is *your choice* and a question of how alert, informed, and/or curious you are about what sort of options people have available to them in the world we live in today, and why.

    It reminds me of an interviewer who said to Olivier Assays (about the time of "Boarding Gate,"[*] I think), "You seem to have a preoccupation with globalization" to which he replied: "It's not a preoccupation. It's an observation." Exactly. You choose your x- and y-axis, your puppet show, your stage, whatever ... whether you omit or include elements is, at least, *telling*.

    Make sense?
    -----------------------------------------------
    [*] One of my particular favorites of his, along with "demonlover" (lowercase for the website in the movie) and the current "Personal Shopper": https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iWYRfW6zJvM

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    Chris Okum
    Apr 09, 04:58pm

    Grouchy: I am huge fan of Irma Vep and Boarding Gate, but then again, I would love anything with Maggie Cheung and Asia Argento. I even like Ferrara's New Rose Hotel, although I shouldn't really qualify my love for anything Ferrara, because I think he's the great underrated American filmmaker of his generation. As far as I'm concerned, Ferrara has been making better movies than Scorsese for over twenty years now.

    Too bad these threads can't have more discussions about film.

  • Samuel Derrick Rosen
    Apr 09, 09:50pm

    Maybe this thread can get back to some interesting discussion, the way it was before Arturo and his pals derailed it.

    Dave, return and discuss.

  • Samuel Derrick Rosen
    Apr 09, 09:56pm

    Adrienne Rich's "What Kind of Times Are These" is not a political poem because it doesn't take a political stance, it is really a nature/metaphysical poem, a very complicated one.

    The kind of political Dave and I were discussing is not the same thing, that kind of political I have provided countless links to, for anyone to know the difference all they have to do is check out some of the links I have given and compare the drivel in those links to the poems that Sam and Loren/Arturo have cut and pasted.

  • Samuel Derrick Rosen
    Apr 09, 10:01pm

    Some of the lines in the Rich poem (it is merely a good poem, not a great one) could be interpreted from a political standpoint BUT it doesn't have a political slant, she could easily have written it from the point of view of a rabbit or a robin or a sparrow or a grizzly bear.

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    Smiley McGrouchpants
    Apr 14, 06:50am

    Okum, Bokum, Boh-bokum, Banana-rama-mee-Okum: I agree about Ferrara. New Rose Hotel was great; even Gibson himself quite liked it. Sadly, he hasn't seemed to get a fair shake.

    OTOH, Scorsese's Silence is really really good though (I walked out of "The Wolf of Wall Street"; at three hours and nothing but hoots inspired from the audience, I felt like it didn't need my presence).

    Maybe we should start some threads dovetailing film/fiction talk. Thoughts?

  • Photo.thumb
    Adam Sifre
    Apr 18, 12:53pm

    There is nothing, including politics, that can not be elevated or diminished through poetry.

  • Photo.thumb
    Adam Sifre
    Apr 18, 12:53pm

    except maybe bacon

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    Mathew Paust
    Apr 18, 03:01pm

    Sifre, are you trying to start a cyberriot?

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    Adam Sifre
    Apr 18, 08:23pm

    Fight the power. Fight the crispy.

  • Mugshotme_(3).thumb
    Mathew Paust
    Apr 19, 02:48pm

    Pork bellies rule.

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