Thursday, May 28, 2015

Pundits of Prosody

Castle & Sun by Paul Klee

Pundits of Prosody

“All poetry, as discriminated from the various paradigms
of prosody, is prayer.”-- Merriam-Webster.

Prosody has its
origins in Latin and
Greek; revered by some.

As if to
imply that “serious” poets must
study form like

Rabbinical scholars, like
medical students dissecting corpses to
understand Nature’s secrets.

Listening to linguists discuss poetics
saying that sans classical form-aesthetics
all verse pales, becomes almost pathetic,
to me is delusional, leagues from prophetic--
because poetry that finds its own way,
foraging through language, keeping form at bay,
can emerge as muscular, inspired, simply majestic,
miraculously just much more       energetic.

It is said/written that without adequate knowledge of the art of
versification, a poem can become barren, static, & soulless, like
a computer simulating music versus an accomplished musician
interpreting it emotionally, but speaking only for myself, to rely 
too heavily on pedantic parameters is stifling. In High School,
when it became apparent I had a talent for writing, my English
teachers complained:

“Glenn, you have already developed a writing style that violates
many of the rules of grammar even before you fully understand
them. You attack language like a berserk bear in a bakery. You
should not attempt to write like Faulkner or Ginsberg when you
are only 15 years old.”

Each time that I approach classic poetic forms
    & have to be concerned with tempus & morea,
               become obsessed with the prosodic principles
                     of feet, meter, & pernicious syllable count, using
                            the pyrrihic, trochee, spondee, dispondee, &
                     sapphic--merging into dactyls & anapestes, possibly
                morphing into the troglodyte state of being a hoary
           spiny-scaled pungent Dactylic Hexameter, 
my head swims with the artificiality
of the limp & lame language,
the hollowness of the murky mandates
& damned diatribes--                                 and my POEtic spirit
                         becomes enraged at the
                         claustrophobic characteristics
                         & the malicious manacles;
because my poetry rises 
like dew on mountain meadows,
not from some fenced-off,
plowed, tilled, & sown parcel of platitudes;

it is written to be spoken, to be sung, & like jazz, it creates its own
measures during the act of creation--& I tell you enthusiastically that
when prose copulates with phonetics rather than merely being bound
by prosaic prosody, it embraces pitch, volume, tempo, & rhythm more
naturally, viscerally, & organically.
It is born.
It breathes.
It is alive. 

Although I respect
poets who study their art, still I
roam free, & off leash.

Glenn Buttkus

Posted over on dVerse Poets MTB/FFA

Our guest host at dVerse is asking for us to write with Prosody in mind. This 
poem is my maverick version of a Haibun, opening with a haiku, followed by 
two stanzas of Collom Lunes, followed by a stanza of rhyming verse, 
AAAABB, that becomes a sliding list of AAAAAA, followed by a pure prose 
stanza, followed by a dialogue stanza, followed by a Wave stanza, ebb & flow, 
descending & ascending, capped with creative spacing of line breaks and stops, 
followed by a straight-up free verse stanza, followed by another prose stanza, 
capped with an epilogue Haiku.

Would you like to hear me read this poem to you?


Claudia said...

smiles.. you know.. i love to play with language - beyond grammar rules but probably it's good to first learn the rules and later write beyond them - and i love paul klee...

Mary said...

This made me smile, Glenn. I like the way you roam free and off leash.
I do feel a bit like you do oftentimes. When I have to fit thoughts into a form,
my poetry often seems a bit artificial to me. When I do form poetry now,
I kind of think about it as an exercise & just enjoy the wordplay. My
more serious messages though are imparted in free verse...

Dell Clover said...

I love some forms, but the concept of being off-leash, roaming free is intoxicating!!

brudberg said...

Ha.. I have to admit that I rarely count syllables.. and sometimes when I write in prose, there is a meter underneath... rhymes come up, and all of the sudden when I do not where to go I let those darn rhymes guide me to the next... but it could also be a struggle.. I love all the variations, also the variation in a form that can be like the plume in a beautiful caged bird... and actually I need a surprise and contrast, I need passion and surprises... and there my friend is poetry.

Raivenne said...

" is written to be spoken, to be sung, & like jazz, it creates its own
measures during the act of creation-..."

Oh how well I know this truth. Your use of multiple forms reminds me of the discord poetic form which does exactly that. It breaks the rules why complying completely.

Anonymous said...

to not be a student of poetic forms, etc. will certainly NOT destroy your ability to create as you prove again and again! You may write "free verse", but yet your poems all typically exhibit a certain "visual form" Lines all starting in a straight line, and then lines that move in and addition to the wonderful thoughts and lessons that you express, there is a beauty, visually, to the way the lines are arranged on the page. The jazz analogy is wonderful too! (and I'm not just saying that because I have jazz tunes playing as I'm doing my reading!! smiles)

Sabio Lantz said...

I did Aikido for many years. Students come with many handicaps. The peace-loving New-Agers who don't want to harm anyone but just redirect their energy softly. Then the Karate guys who are stiff and hard -- attacking well but falling hard because the can't flow with movement. Having both hard and soft skills is the trick.

Likewise in WeiQi -- "Go", "Igo" -- knowing the analytic small battle mind and the big picture mind is essential.

In Poetry, knowing both freedom and form seems a special skill. To stick to only what comes natural is to be limited by what you are.

We all valorize our tendencies -- what valor is that?

Fun style, as always -- and though I like your style, your length (verbosity) is always a bit of a challenge. But it is good at challenging my natural tendencies.

Victoria said...

More smiles, Glenn. Your teachers nailed it. I think your form is you or perhaps the other way define it. I love the quote you open with--as always, so appropriately chosen.

Anonymous said...

What can I say? I am just in awe of this poem. You make it seem so effortless - like just standing on a soapbox and preaching what's on your heart. WOW

Anonymous said...

Your apologia for freedom, wrapped in haiku and dotted with disciplined stanzas is a paradigm of what poetry should be But I agree with your teacher - it's necessary to learn the rules and forms before we can throw them away and fly with the words.

Can I have a moan here: Blogger always did make it difficult to comment, but now it's gone right over the top, making it nearly impossible with the number of hoops it puts us through.
It wouldn't be so bad if it left our carefully written thoughts in situ until we'd rung all the bells. But no - each failed attempt means we have to start again from scratch. Grrrrr.

Dell Clover said...

I have to weigh in too about the difficulty of commenting on Blogger--half the time I can't tell if my comment has even posted, so I click off in frustration! And those food items, sheesh--the math problems were actually easier. WordPress readers' loyalty is really tested on the Blogger posts. Okay, I'll settle down now.

Marina Sofia said...

Well, you were never going to make it easy for any form prompt, were you? I love your romp through forms and styles here. As for this:
Glenn, you have already developed a writing style that violates
many of the rules of grammar even before you fully understand
them. You attack language like a berserk bear in a bakery. You
should not attempt to write like Faulkner or Ginsberg when you
are only 15 years old.
Dare I assume that is a direct quote from your English teacher?

Hayes Spencer said...

I go from no form to strict form as in haiku and tanka. I'm not good with rhyming forms. If I have to write to a form, I will. But then hey, I'm an engineer. I am anal about always have a good romp with free form. We all express our passion in different ways which is the lovely way of poetry, even the form ones. You let go with your words the way I let go with cooking or playing my violin. I always know your poems will be a good read - formed or unformed. That you will take those words to places they are not used to going but they will enjoy the walk, as do we.

De said...

all those "ic"s made me happy, as well as the flow-dance of your shape. Well done.

Anonymous said...

I couldn't stop smiling throughout the entire poem :) I wrote a lot of free form poetry as a teenager, Latin and Greek in high school and linguistics in college (so much that I got a degree in Speech Pathology). I love how you tease and taunt all the "stuffiness" that follows close behind the magic.

My favorite line:

"when prose copulates with phonetics rather than merely being bound
by prosaic prosody, it embraces pitch, volume, tempo, & rhythm more
naturally, viscerally, & organically."

X said...

We share a similar approach to poetry. It is meant to be spoken and thus the sound is very important, but not contrived of form. I think you will like my process note at the end of mine. Its funny too. i wonder if those teachers were not well meaning even in their ignorance. I like mine wild, and you hit the spot.

Anonymous said...

"You attack language like a berserk bear in a bakery." Dude. That is a HUGE compliment, if you ask me.

I loved this. You had me grinning through the whole thing. Fantastic.

(However, I do think some poetry can be enjoyed visually, even if it can't be read aloud with ease. But maybe it's not really poetry. Who am I to say?)

Kate Mia said...

Ah.. the rules of Queen Victoria do restrict.. and honestly I still
have no clue to terms and rules of English.. and never
do learn them at school.. i look at the patterns of
songs of language.. relate them.. and make
straight A's.. without ever really learning
how to even compose a paragraph
before age 50.. consistent in
creative ways.. the problem
is not enough
pain.. and now
i write and write
and write through pain
and beyond.. ah.. life
is strange
For minds
thinking uniquely
differently in change..:)

And i for one love the food
captchas that capture blogger robots.. as
now i'm ready.. for Saturday Steak at Ryan's..:)

Anonymous said...

So glad I took the time to read AND listen to the audio version as it made me shout "Bravo!" Although I can definitely appreciate the challenge,knowledge and honed skills behind the writing of form poetry, I enjoy the freedom of writing without rules and constraints. Doesn't necessarily make it easier.

X said...

Reciprocation is a beautiful thing

X said...

Thanks for dropping in G. Just prodding as I am about over the whole poetry community thing - you were #8 out of 21 at dVerse to return comment. Sick of wasting time leaving thoughtful comments to people so self consumed they can reply on their blog but not visit others.

X said...

Hope you and the wife had a nice weekend.

Anonymous said...

Your teacher gave you a lovely compliment. You make words come alive. :-)