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Re: afghanistan


hi Zak,

Sorry for 'calling you out by name.' Didn't mean to diss or repudiate your point of view. Just letting the writer know that what didn't specifically work for you, worked well for me, and why.

Anyway, thanks for expanding your explanation.

Chris
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Re: afghanistan


Christine98,
No problem. Auto is a fabulous poet & I don't have to repeat it here. Obviously my view on this particular poem is the minority view & I have been wrong many times before. Zak
quote:

Christine98 wrote:

hi Zak,

Sorry for 'calling you out by name.' Didn't mean to diss or repudiate your point of view. Just letting the writer know that what didn't specifically work for you, worked well for me, and why.

Anyway, thanks for expanding your explanation.

Chris



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Re: afghanistan


Hi, libramoon,

I just saw your poem above and wanted to thank you for posting it. It's so interesting to compare different styles taking on the same themes. Very nice!

Auto

Hi, Zak and Christine,

Appreciate your further thoughts on this piece.

Auto
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Re: afghanistan


Zak, not to be calling you out, but to respond to what you say here:

We do inject ourselves in imaginative rifts simply by the very nature of art and metaphor. Even talking about our own struggles, we are talking about more. Fiction in prose or poetry can be about finding ourselves in the foreign, in the imaginary scenarios, in the symbols. Certainly genres of surrealism and magical realism have much to offer. These are about a different kind of reality, one in which metaphor and symbol and dream have much to say.

-------------

Z: "We really don't have to inject ourselves in an imaginative rift like this because all we have to do is look into our own drug wars in the inner cities, or the meth labs in suburbia to find terrible ordeals. Or to the Civil Rights struggles, or to the public physical dismemberment (fingers, ears, noses) and emasculations of Black people (while the white audiences ate their picnic lunches). That or the genocide of the Native Americans. The mind would more easily accept a white woman and her child in such scenarios.

While Auto's poem is well written, and while the ideas are worthwhile, the factor of "believability" is brought into question. Why should "prose" be held to higher standards than "poetry" in this case. Someone creating such a fiction in prose would immediately be questioned on the basis of believablity. Did the author go to Afghanistan? Is it "possible" or "likely" that an American woman and her child would find themselves in such a situation?

The imagination must be nurtured and given free rein, but shouldn't the fiction be based on the solid ground of believabilty? Yes, "anything" can be imagined, but why not make it believable when possible?"
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Re: afghanistan


Thanks, Auto. Glad you didn't mind my riffing off your piece (which I still find astoundingly moving).
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Re: afghanistan


Oh, I am so loving this thread. Yes, it is a critique forum. But parts ain't always just parts. Viewed that way poetry rather becomes sterile, at least to me. Ya'll are tickling my brain.

Tere
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Re: afghanistan


Hi, all,

Thank you for reading!

As I look at this, it seems that what the "dream" is about, is that "pam" is finally hearing for once the cry of the women across the world who need help. I hear the worst of it; cries from the most abused women in the world, perhaps, in a country occupied and controlled by my country. I feel powerless in the dream to help, and all I can say to my little sister is Run. In the dream, I'm a victim too.

My own reaction to the poem is shame that I have turned a blind eye for so long to all this when I do have three concrete ways of helping: to use my right as a citizen to attempt to influence US policy in regard to the withdrawal from Afghanistan to prevent at least a return of the Taliban and their violent erasure of women; to send money to private organizations that promote this purpose; and to write about it.

Zak, you ask why I don't look closer to home. But this is home. Our country has made Afghanistan an extension of our home. The deed is done.

I could add that as a white middle-class woman I don't feel that I'm going to be any more "believable" writing about African-American, Native American, or drug issues in the US. I am most certainly able to write authentically and from personal experience about certain issues relating to the experience of women on this planet, such as the safety issue.

In the end, the poem is about fear, my own fear, other women's fear, and the realization that I am not as powerless as others, that I can do something.

I think I'm changing my mind about writing "political" poetry. What does that mean, except a turn from strictly personal issues? Why have I almost completely limited myself to those? I already know the answer.

Auto

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Re: afghanistan


I think I get where you are going in your thinking, Auto. I think I am not so far behind.

Tere
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Re: delete duplicate


 delete -- duplicate

Last edited by Zakzzz5, Jul/17/2010, 3:32 am
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Re: afghanistan



libramoon,

The problem with the poem, though, is that it presents itself in a "realistic" format. This realism clashes with the "possible." An American woman saving an American child in Afghanistan is not believable. I know the beginning of the poem, the descent into a war zone like that from first hand experience, and Pam did a fabulous job of depicting it realistically. There is nothing of a dream about it. Thus, the injection of the American woman and the child into the scenario makes it so it's not believable, regardless of your theories of what poetry should allow. Zak

ps -- I no longer know what the protocols are with regard to addressing the poster rather than the original poet. I guess it's ok, as long as it can flow both ways and remains civil.

quote:

libramoon wrote:

Zak, not to be calling you out, but to respond to what you say here:

We do inject ourselves in imaginative rifts simply by the very nature of art and metaphor. Even talking about our own struggles, we are talking about more. Fiction in prose or poetry can be about finding ourselves in the foreign, in the imaginary scenarios, in the symbols. Certainly genres of surrealism and magical realism have much to offer. These are about a different kind of reality, one in which metaphor and symbol and dream have much to say.

-------------
  



 



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Re: afghanistan


 pjouissance wrote:

Hi, all,

Thank you for reading!

As I look at this, it seems that what the "dream" is about, is that "pam" is finally hearing for once the cry of the women across the world who need help. I hear the worst of it; cries from the most abused women in the world, perhaps, in a country occupied and controlled by my country. I feel powerless in the dream to help, and all I can say to my little sister is Run. In the dream, I'm a victim too. Pam, you are to be supported and encouraged in what you are doing. This is an important step. My own concern has been growing, though for me it's focusing on the Native Americans and on wildlife (and caged animals: slaughter, etc.). So my commentary shouldn't be viewed as a comment on this important work that you are doing.]

My own reaction to the poem is shame that I have turned a blind eye for so long to all this when I do have three concrete ways of helping: to use my right as a citizen to attempt to influence US policy in regard to the withdrawal from Afghanistan to prevent at least a return of the Taliban and their violent erasure of women; to send money to private organizations that promote this purpose; and to write about it. [Yes. Strongly agree.]

Zak, you ask why I don't look closer to home. But this is home. Our country has made Afghanistan an extension of our home. The deed is done. [In a sense, I couldn't agree with you more. This, however, is not where I disagree.]


I could add that as a white middle-class woman I don't feel that I'm going to be any more "believable" writing about African-American, Native American, or drug issues in the US. [I respectfully disagree. As a white middle-class woman your own experience is much closer to the white women who ate their picnic lunches while Black men were lynched. I'm sorry I have to say this. It sounds brutal, but there are photographs on the internet and elsewhere showing this. A nun loaned a pictorial about this and the lynching of other minorities (and some white men) to a friend of mine, who then showed it to me. I could go on and give you further examples, about incidents in Colorado involving white audiences and Native American victims, etc. A white woman and a child is certainly more believable in such a setting.] I am most certainly able to write authentically and from personal experience about certain issues relating to the experience of women on this planet, such as the safety issue. [Here I will agree with you. But the crossing of a very realistic beginning in the poem with a very unbelievable situation comes across as disingenuous for me.]

In the end, the poem is about fear, my own fear, other women's fear, and the realization that I am not as powerless as others, that I can do something. [That part of it is very, very effective. If only the injection of the white females was believable.]

I think I'm changing my mind about writing "political" poetry. What does that mean, except a turn from strictly personal issues? Why have I almost completely limited myself to those? I already know the answer.
[Good for you, Pam. It's just that the construction, the inclusion of the white woman and child into the circumstances just isn't believable for me. Tim O'Brien, a Vietnam veteran did a similar thing in a book, where he injected a young woman into a Vietnam combat scenario. It took him a whole book to do it, and he got kudos for it. It was eerie. The woman goes over to visit her boyfriend and ends up going rogue into the jungle with the Special Forces, and then even leaves them to go completely rogue. When I remembered that book, just now, it gave me pause until I remembered that while I found the premise interesting I also didn't find it believable. Just like with much of your work and with this exception to your work.

I was going to add that the graphics that you added are really very good. It's a very powerful presentation. I'm still unconvinced about the white woman and child taking the part of what should be an Afghan woman and child, though. I noticed on the two blogs that I'm the only dissenter. In light of that, I appreciate your gracious reception of the criticism. Given the praise you've been receiving, it's remarkable that you continue to be gracious, and haven't gotten a big head. (: Thanks, Zak

 

 



Last edited by Zakzzz5, Jul/17/2010, 6:53 am
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Re: afghanistan


Zakman says: "ps -- I no longer know what the protocols are with regard to addressing the poster rather than the original poet. I guess it's ok, as long as it can flow both ways and remains civil."

Zakman, I never thought of making a rule governing the exchanges between posters. I guess if a poet's poem and thread in some way got hijacked, blown off course so to speak, there might be a problem. That is clearly not the case here. As best as I can tell all comments are germaine to Auto's poem and the several issues it has brought to the surface. (Good on you Auto.) So why not there be a free exchange, providing, of course, the poet herself doesn't feel dissed, right?

Tere
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Re: afghanistan


Pam, I just went to the blogspot to read your revision. For some reason I was unable to access the You Tube videos. Problem either on my end or theirs. Will try again later. The two photographs of women are mightily affecting. Certainly add to the poem and to the universal it's after. And, yes, I think the revision works better. And, yes, I am glad you let the woman and girl child live. (In my fictional stuff I've killed off one or two guys. Maybe I figure we are fair game. But never a woman. I have a personal injunction against it.)

But I am kind of chuckling here. I reread my early comment on the poem. It seems I had an initial hesitation not far removed from Zakman's objection. Interesting, don't you think? But I am remembering now. It is the poem itself that won me over, enabled me to cross over into its field of operations, so to speak. Why, I don't know. Or how. But it did and still does. The images are vivid and immediate. Associations, as already said, are startling and tangible. More and more the Arcturus thing brings the entire struggle into focus. As Chris reminded us it is a hotly burning red star, evokative enough of a warring, murderous Age unfriendly to all tender life. For me at least the poem is working and believable.

I guess if we took this discussion to a logical extreme we should not be reading Homer who, by tradition, was blind. And yet hands down his Shield of Achilles passage in the Illiad is one of the greatest, if not the greatest, passages in all of world poetry. Something he could not have seen. An experience he could not have had except perhaps by second-hand report. Similarly I should never think to create female characters, something I do regularly in both poetry and prose. Same is true of women writers and the men they invent. And yet it convincingly happens all the time.

The word I am looking for that maybe best describes this imaginative capacity for creating what we have not personally experienced just came to me. Transpersonal. The word was key to Robinson Jeffers philosophical outlook, something he called inhumanism, by means of which he meant to get beyond, more outside of, being human, becoming just a thing among other things like plants, trees, other animals and the stars. Maybe that is the poem's starting point and the right perspective for approaching it. If that is key to this personal/political approach of yours I say go for it. And if it is not, still keep going for it.

Tere
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Re: afghanistan


I am enjoying following this discussion and the way everyone is weighing in with various points of view in a passoniate but civilized manner. You are helping to restore my faith in poets if not in humanity!

One thing that frequently bothers me is when poets usurp the latest crisis for their own purposes. Tere calls it "ambulance chasing," and, boy, it really rubs me the wrong way every time I see it. I don't think this poem does that, which is one of the reasons I gave it a thumbs up.

I understand what Zak is saying about believability. An authentic poem about the experience of Afghan women and girls would be one I would like to read. I don't think Auto's poem attempts to do that, but it works for me nonetheless because I see the poem as an authenic attempt at empathetic imagination coupled with humility and culpability. If that makes sense.

As I mentioned earlier, I was much effected by the thought of a US withdrawal, despite the fact that I understand the logic behind the desire, and so I appreciated Auto's courage in taking on the topic in a way that did not come across as ambulance chasing. I read the poem as a nightmare, an excursion into a mad world many of us spend our lives trying to avoid and ignore. Some of us are safer, but for how long and at what cost?

As I also mentioned earlier, effective political poems are damn hard to write without getting blood on one's hands. And in the end, perhaps that is the way it should be.

A note about the male/female perspective split. At the risk of drowning in genralizations and sounding too Jungian or New Agey, one thing I would like to see more of in the world is men working with their feminine side, and vice versa.

Just my wooden nickel worth of thoughts.

Thanks to all for your thoughtful and valuable comments.

Last edited by Katlin, Jul/18/2010, 1:09 pm
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Re: afghanistan


Terreson,
Yes, Homer was blind. But if you will recall, information was transferred from village to village and generation to generation through an oral tradition. Homer created, or maybe better said, transmitted and enlarged upon a story that came down to him orally. He didn’t have to see it visually or be there. That’s the same thing that Auto did here, in that she imagined arriving by air in Afghanistan. She imagined that very well, realistically, as I previously stated. That part is believable.
  
What’s not believable is what follows, i.e., the little white girl asking the adult white woman for rescue from Afghanistan. Homer would not have done this any more than he would have placed an Egyptian princess in jeopardy within the gates of Troy under siege by the pre-Hellenic Greeks. Homer wouldn’t have invented something that was not believable within the context of his belief system, so he wouldn’t have placed the two white females in jeopardy in Afghanistan. I recognize that I’m the lone dissident here, but I just don’t feel that the proper standards are being applied to this poem. That’s become even more evident now that the graphics, as good as they are, have been added. I mean, how can one speak out against a poem that has within it the photograph of the woman being prepared for stoning? However, for me, the graphics don’t strengthen the believability quotient of the poem. The poem has to be read alone without the graphics to see if it makes sense.

Having said that does not deny the good work that Auto is doing in speaking out about conditions for women in parts of the world where women are denied equal rights. It becomes complicated when you put that in the context of the war that we are engaged in. When our economy is in tatters, when the deficit is in the condition it is in, is it a wise move to continue to spend billions, maybe trillions in maintaining a troop presence in Afghanistan? Eventually this entire issue may be resolved simply by our ability or, contrariwise, our inability, to continue to live our middle-class lives while spending through the nose for our wars abroad. But this is beyond the scope of the poem (I suppose), this broader context is a separate issue from the technical points I’ve tried to make about the actual written words of the poem itself. It's an emotional issue, and I hesitate to even go there. Zak

ps -- I agree with Katlin, that the civil discourse we've maintained is remarkable in view of what we see quite often on other boards. This is probably due in large part to the good nature of Auto herself.

quote:

Terreson said: I guess if we took this discussion to a logical extreme we should not be reading Homer who, by tradition, was blind. And yet hands down his Shield of Achilles passage in the Illiad is one of the greatest, if not the greatest, passages in all of world poetry. Something he could not have seen. An experience he could not have had except perhaps by second-hand report. Similarly I should never think to create female characters, something I do regularly in both poetry and prose. Same is true of women writers and the men they invent. And yet it convincingly happens all the time.




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Re: afghanistan


ps -- I agree with Katlin, that the civil discourse we've maintained is remarkable in view of what we see quite often on other boards. This is probably due in large part to the good nature of Auto herself.

Hi Zak,

I agree with you about Auto's good nature, but I think a lot of the credit for this civil discourse goes to you also. You are a sincere and honest broker as well as a clear thinker, and that comes through in every post. I admire the gracefulness and the tenacity of your dissent. Your points are well made.

FWIW, I think this is just the type of discussion among poets Tere dreamed of when he created the board.

P.S. You have reminded me that I should have said I understand and don't dispute the logic behind the desire to get out of Afghanistan. It seems to me that we in the US are caught somewhere between Powell's pottery barn analogy and the old adage: Those who forget history are doomed to repeat it.

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Re: afghanistan


Hi, Zak, Tere, and Katlin,

Your thoughtful comments are both moving and enlightening on the subject of the poem. I feel a sense of support but also that the poem really is being examined critically, and I'm being given honest feedbak. What more could any poet hope for? Thank you! I have to apologize also and say that there are so many points being raised, and they are so important to me, that I can't quite manage to give a substantive response. Zak, you may be right. I have been trying to read other sources and understand how to approach this issue you raise and talk about so eloquently, but I just can't get a grip on it yet. I think I have somehow bit off more than I can chew. The poem is a waking dream involving a couple of huge issues and I feel overwhelmed by them right now.

Thanks again to all for your comments.

Auto



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Re: afghanistan


First a word from our sponsors. I had an online friend who came to poetry later in life but who was a natural at it. Best improv poet I've ever encountered, before or since. She left the online poetry circuit because of what she called the poetry wars, the same as what others call flame wars I suppose. We've all witnessed our share of poetry wars. In all likelihood some of us have been hurt by them. But you know what? Until the issue of civility/incivility was raised, by Zakman I think, it never once crossed my mind that such a problem would occur here. Not once. The mutuality of respect is clear. The thinking on the part of everyone is clean. And the graciousness with which all comments have been received speaks to a largeness on the part of all. Just not something on my radar to worry about.

Auto, about your most recent comment. I can see why you might feel a little overwhelmed by what your pandora box of a poem has opened up. You might not want to do what I just did, which was to go back and review the thread. All I can say is wow! And from a few comments you've made I sense that the poem has opened up much more for you, perhaps in the spectrum of your personal life, your reckonings, and in how you relate to people and things around you. Poetry can do that you know. Time and time again I've seen how a simple poem can trip open a box containing things both good and bad, easy and hard, beautiful and ugly. Jung said that every concept has its opposite. I rephrased this once to read: every dream has its nightmare. Just trying to say I get what you mean. One thing is for sure. Look at what the poem has generated in our small venue. That should tell you something about its protein nature.

Zakman, I just remembered something Coleridge came to. I offer it up in the spirit of free range discussion without any intention of countering your solid and strong argument, especially without trying to persuade you. Just another way of looking at the issue of believability.

Coleridge recalled:

”... It was agreed, that my endeavours should be directed to persons and characters supernatural, or at least romantic, yet so as to transfer from our inward nature a human interest and a semblance of truth sufficient to procure for these shadows of imagination that willing suspension of disbelief for the moment, which constitutes poetic faith. Mr. Wordsworth on the other hand was to propose to himself as his object, to give the charm of novelty to things of every day, and to excite a feeling analogous to the supernatural, by awakening the mind's attention from the lethargy of custom, and directing it to the loveliness and the wonders of the world before us ...”

This was how Coleridge described his poetic procedure of working with "a willing suspension of disbelief," a phrase I think he coined and a notion he either invented or introduced to literature. (I say I think because somewhere in a brain vault I have the recollection that St. Augustine said much the same or something similar to describe his acceptance of Christianity's central mystery: Christ's rising from the dead.) Hands down his most effective poem made in such a range is his Christabel Part One. It still produces a tingling in me just like it did the first time I read it over twenty years ago. Now that I am thinking about it probably the writer who most strains the test of believability has to be E.A. Poe. And yet his tales of Gothic arabesques (what he defined as the "terror of the soul" have never failed to work for me.

But this is just me, man. How I can proceed.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Suspension_of_disbelief

Tere

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Re: afghanistan


Okay. Now for a little levity. If the poem's characters are capable of time/space warp travel, an acceptable literary device, premise explained. I mean if H.G. Wells can do it why can't Auto? Oh the beauty of the notion.

Tere
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...


...

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Re: afghanistan


Hi, pastel,

Thank you very much for commenting. I especially was interested in your comments about how to change things in that part of the world, and what the root cause of this very ancient practice is. I'll probably never know, but I believe there's an instinctual component; that the male human, like the male sea lion, is driven to using control mechanisms up to and including violence to keep the females in his custody from leaving him.

I was at a rodeo last week watching calf-roping. The calf runs and a guy on horseback chases it, lassos its neck so that it is violently thrown up in the air and onto its back, and as it lies there stunned, the cowboy slides off the horse and hogties it. The women worry about the calf's pain and the guys love it (not the pain, the chase). Maybe a general chase instinct is activated, or it's just the instinctive pursuit of a valuable animal. When I have watched a male sea lion going after a female who strays from the harem-group, he is quite intimidating with his roaring and biting. I sure don't fully understand the phenomenon of male control and it's complicated in its manifestations, from something that seems pretty benevolent and protective to the hideous pathology of the Taliban. And then, women have needed male protection from other males, and from big animals and so forth, and so have children. I wish some smart scientist (female, as males seem to have a problem with rationalization and denial—of course a female scientist didn't exist until the 20th century due to the same problem) would figure this whole web of relations out and separate out the biological component from the cultural. It's my impression that big cultural manifestations like the patriarchal religions contain pathological rationalizations of the biological relations, but the biological relations are so covered over and twisted we don't know what to condemn, except the sensational and individual excesses, like men who kill their wives when the women attempt to leave them.

I think men in developed countries are rapidly becoming enlightened about all this too and having a hell of a struggle about it. The book remains to be written that details this struggle. Men don't want to become kinder and gentler and more civilized, IMHO, they want to recapture their natural selves too, and they suffer from the same pathological encrustation process as women, though with different issues. Civilization, hunting, agricultural society's structure, the helplessness of women in pregnancy and with small children...it's going to take a real humdinger of a woman cultural anthropologist...

I can never express these thoughts very well or analytically. I don't mean to sound hostile. I'm sad and puzzled. We're all doing our best, men and women, but subject to mysterious and sometimes Thanatos-loving forces.

Anyway, pastel, thank you for your food for thought. You mention looking at the character of little Jeanne and how effective it is in the poem as a Western girl. I just wanted to mention that I wrote a long comment about the poem and posted it below the poem last night, and it goes into that question. It's hard for me to separate that out from the entire poem. Anyway if you have time and interest, there are some thoughts there.

Take care,

Auto

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...

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Re: afghanistan


Terreson,
Of course I appreciate the heads up on Coleridge and Poe. I haven't read Coleridge since college, but I do read Poe. Yes, I'm all for suspension of disbelief myself. The thing is, Poe would be the first to insist on consistency within his created world. His stories could be enjoyed within their genre because they were consistent within their genre. Without going over old ground here, I'll simply repeat that I don't feel the two central characters in Auto's poem fit into the realism of the poem, particulary into the realism of the opening scene. You suspend disbelief if the created world has an internal consistency (if that's the type of poem that is created; which this appears to be). For me, the poem is not consistent. But this has nothing to do with how you might approach a poem, which is ok with me.

We've probably exhausted the subject here, and from now on we're going to spin our wheels bringing out our respective sources. Because I limit my time on the internet, I would rather turn my attention to several of the other worthy poems on this site. Auto has shaken the world with her otherwise fine poem, as it is, and I bet she would be the first to encourage us to read and comment on the poems posted here by the other fine contributors. I think it would be a fine thing to spread out the wealth. Zak


quote:

Terreson wrote:

First a word from our sponsors. I had an online friend who came to poetry later in life but who was a natural at it. Best improv poet I've ever encountered, before or since. She left the online poetry circuit because of what she called the poetry wars, the same as what others call flame wars I suppose. We've all witnessed our share of poetry wars. In all likelihood some of us have been hurt by them. But you know what? Until the issue of civility/incivility was raised, by Zakman I think, it never once crossed my mind that such a problem would occur here. Not once. The mutuality of respect is clear. The thinking on the part of everyone is clean. And the graciousness with which all comments have been received speaks to a largeness on the part of all. Just not something on my radar to worry about. [Huh??????????? Oh, come on! There've been some good times here, too. This is not a dull place!!!!]
 
Zakman, I just remembered something Coleridge came to. I offer it up in the spirit of free range discussion without any intention of countering your solid and strong argument, especially without trying to persuade you. Just another way of looking at the issue of believability.

Coleridge recalled:

”... It was agreed, that my endeavours should be directed to persons and characters supernatural, or at least romantic, yet so as to transfer from our inward nature a human interest and a semblance of truth sufficient to procure for these shadows of imagination that willing suspension of disbelief for the moment, which constitutes poetic faith. Mr. Wordsworth on the other hand was to propose to himself as his object, to give the charm of novelty to things of every day, and to excite a feeling analogous to the supernatural, by awakening the mind's attention from the lethargy of custom, and directing it to the loveliness and the wonders of the world before us ...”

This was how Coleridge described his poetic procedure of working with "a willing suspension of disbelief," a phrase I think he coined and a notion he either invented or introduced to literature. (I say I think because somewhere in a brain vault I have the recollection that St. Augustine said much the same or something similar to describe his acceptance of Christianity's central mystery: Christ's rising from the dead.) Hands down his most effective poem made in such a range is his Christabel Part One. It still produces a tingling in me just like it did the first time I read it over twenty years ago. Now that I am thinking about it probably the writer who most strains the test of believability has to be E.A. Poe. And yet his tales of Gothic arabesques (what he defined as the "terror of the soul" have never failed to work for me.

But this is just me, man. How I can proceed.
 See my notes above. Thanks]

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Suspension_of_disbelief

Tere





Last edited by Zakzzz5, Jul/19/2010, 6:49 pm
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Re: afghanistan


Hi, Zak,

Thanks very much for your time and wisdom. I'm still thinking about your comments. It's so important not to let the Net take over real life -- I'm glad you limit your time.

See you next poem,

Pam
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Re: afghanistan


Good buddies. Got home 15 minutes ago at 9:30 P. Needed to close up colonies in prep for a move to another yard, which work is best done at sunset so that foragers are not lost. My luck that a thunderstorm was fast approaching. My point is that I ain't got many quick firing neurons left tonight.

I just wanted to say this kind of conversation tickles the beejesus out of me. The forum, all recall, characterizes itself as a place for the poet/critic dialogue, right?

I am wanting to thank everyone individually for their contributions to a damn fine discussion. But I am afraid of inadvertantly leaving someone out, which would not be good. Shoot, one conversation like this and I know the work involved in board maintenance is worth every day. Well, I do have to say one thing. Auto, you are the bomb!

If anyone is inclined to do so, I should love to see a thread in Discussion II on this fricking gender problem that all but promises to kill us all. Said without exaggeration.

Tere
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Re: afghanistan


Thanks for coming back, Tere, I too have found the discussion interesting and stimulating. I have been reading about neocolonialist literary theory and looking at this poem's subtext in the very hostile way it treats Afghanistan as a faraway barabaric place. That makes me think about Zak's comments wondering why I didn't look closer to home, though his ideas about me doing the same thing regarding Native Americans and so on would raise the same concerns of falling into cliches like the Exotic Other or Savage demonized Other. Sometime I'd like to get more into that.

Also I hope with time to better understand why I attacked US foreign policy at the end. I felt the need to, even though it doesn't strictly follow. ATM I still feel it was very necessary. Sometimes it's embarrassing, after posting a poem and getting perspective, to see subtexts you as the writer didn't know were there. I miss my own subtexts in long prose pieces as much as in short "automatic" or more dreamlike poems...

Thanks again to all who took the time to comment,

Auto

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Re: afghanistan


pjouissance wrote:

Thanks for coming back, Tere, I too have found the discussion interesting and stimulating. I have been reading about neocolonialist literary theory and looking at this poem's subtext in the very hostile way it treats Afghanistan as a faraway barabaric place. That makes me think about Zak's comments wondering why I didn't look closer to home, though his ideas about me doing the same thing regarding Native Americans and so on would raise the same concerns of falling into cliches like the Exotic Other or Savage demonized Other. Sometime I'd like to get more into that. [This surprises me that after all the discussion, we seem to still be poles apart on this. I suppose we'll still be seeing it from different vantage point a year from now. I'm not sure I ever wondered why you didn't look closer to home. My real point had to do with the poem, that a white woman saving a white child would be more "realistic", more "believable" in an American setting. This is because that is where the tragedies did occur between white and non-white families. I'm actually quite content that you are involving yourself in Afghanistan. I don't have any problem with that whatsoever. In fact, I would encourage it.]

Also I hope with time to better understand why I attacked US foreign policy at the end. I felt the need to, even though it doesn't strictly follow. ATM I still feel it was very necessary. Sometimes it's embarrassing, after posting a poem and getting perspective, to see subtexts you as the writer didn't know were there. I miss my own subtexts in long prose pieces as much as in short "automatic" or more dreamlike poems...

Thanks again to all who took the time to comment, [You are quite welcome. It's interesting how the amount of commentary increases dramatically when the subject is war, gender, race, etc. Zak]

Auto

 

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Re: afghanistan


Zakman, you never know. You just never know. On occassion it has needed years for me to reverse a firmly held opinion. One day a magical moment comes, maybe having found the right perceptual slant, and I think: Oh right. This is what she/he meant. In the interrim what matters to me at least is the dialogue conducted between equals, the exchange, the dialectic it can result in. Jung said the genius of the Greeks rested on two principles or pillars and the dialectic between the two. On one side there was Logos, word (or truth). On the other there was Eros, love (or relationship). When a young man I was a Logos kind of guy. Nothing mattered more than the truth. Now? At the very least I've discovered something that matters as much too.

Thought of you today Auto while taking a break from the heat and reading Yahoo news at work. I think it is in Iran where a woman was condemned to stoning to death for adultry, and, because of international pressure exerted, was given a reprieve. I thought, well, I didn't actually have a thought. Just trying to take in the horrific nature of the punishment for an act I do not consider a crime, much less a crime against society. Then I am thinking: now there is a 21st C Islamic Romeo and Juliet type romance/tragedy for you. Woman gets condemned to stoning. At the last minute her lover runs out, kneels before her, takes the stones meant for her. He is killed. And of course she is killed too. Talk about a political statement. And almost simultaneously I am thinking of something else. It seems Mohammed preferred the company of women and that he admired women so much he learned the domestic arts, such as sewing and cooking. And the Gnostic Christians maintain that Jesus Christ chose as his successor The Magdelene. I hope you get my point. Just another world historical irony, as Hegel might call it.

Tere
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Re: afghanistan


 Terreson wrote:

Zakman, you never know. You just never know. On occassion it has needed years for me to reverse a firmly held opinion. One day a magical moment comes, maybe having found the right perceptual slant, and I think: Oh right. This is what she/he meant. [Yes, I'm hoping you and Pam will have that epiphany soon. Just kidding.] In the interrim what matters to me at least is the dialogue conducted between equals, the exchange, the dialectic it can result in. Jung said the genius of the Greeks rested on two principles or pillars and the dialectic between the two. On one side there was Logos, word (or truth). On the other there was Eros, love (or relationship). When a young man I was a Logos kind of guy. Nothing mattered more than the truth. Now? At the very least I've discovered something that matters as much too. [I don't have a problem with the equation. But I don't think a discussion of the dynamic of a poem has to set aside rules of logic. Now, there are poems that "transcend" logic, but then we have to get into the structure of the poem, the posture, so to speak, etc. But we've already been over that ground, and Auto and I seem to disagree, and only time will tell which one of us comes over from the dark side to the light. I gather from the discussion you agree with her position on the poem with regard to my objections, and that is cool. Absolutely no problem with that. Zak]


 
Tere

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Re: afghanistan


Zakman, I think I've been trying to say I can see the question from both sides. That's all.

Tere
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