IS there a way to distinguish

Main Question or Discussion Point

Mindless rambling from poem?
 

Answers and Replies

Averagesupernova
Science Advisor
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The same way you distinguish random scribbling or paint splatters from art. All joking aside, I would say it depends on who you ask.
 
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at least you know mindless rambling is mindless rambling

with poem, not so much
 
collinsmark
Homework Helper
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Mindless rambling from poem?
Absolutely. And anyone well versed in the language of the poem should be able to distinguish between the two as well.

Good speaking/writing, whether it be technical writing or for entertainment purposes, is characterized by communicating essential thoughts as clearly, concisely and within as short of space as possible. If you can clearly communicate a thought in 1 short sentence, it is better than communicating the same thought in 3 long, overbearing sentences.

Poetry is the epitome of this idea. A good poem speaks volumes in a span as short as a few pages, a few stanzas, or even just a few sentences. A good poem can communicate a swath of information and even whole emotions all within a tiny space.

Rhyme, alliteration, meter, and and other techniques are not necessary for a good poem. But these techniques can communicate information about mood, and also add mnemonic attributes. They can enhance the overall communication of the poem (if used properly). Although not necessary to call a poem a poem, they can certainly be justified, all else being equal.

But if you read or listen to what somebody else calls a "poem," and that "poem" doesn't successfully communicate anything, then let's call it what it really is: mindless rambling.
 
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I killed a fly
and laid my weapon next to it
as one lays the weapon of a dead hero
beside his body—the fly
that tried to mount the window
to its top; that was born out of a swamp
to die in a bold effort beyond itself,
and I am the one who brought it to an end.
Tired of the day and with night coming on
I lay my body down beside the fly.

What does this have to communicate with readers? Sudden realization of one's own bleeding-heartness?
 
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What exactly is your dissatisfaction with poetry?

How do we distinguish useful information from information that is not useless? Obviously no one can set down hard and fast rules for what is, and what is not, poetry; yet you seem to want to force us into giving you a clear definition of what is poetry and what is "mindless rambling". collinsmark has given you an admirable outline of what poetry is. Of course much can be said on this topic, and if you are really interested in this you will go down to the library and read a book on poetry; there are many such books.

The poet is an artist with words who tries to present his unique view of his subject matter (most people do not have unique views and they do not become poets), using language in a high, beautiful and very skillful manner. Of course this definition is too short and too simplistic but is a useful starting point.
 
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In science one tries to tell people, in such a way as to be understood by everyone, something that no one ever knew before. But in poetry, it's the exact opposite.
-- P.A.M. Dirac
 
827
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I suppose Dirac's words on poetry are final then. And it's funny Dirac should add "in such a way as to be understood by everyone": is quantum mechanics understood by everyone?

"Poetry is the breath and finer spirit of all knowledge; it is the the impassioned expression which is in the countenance of all science" Wordsworth.

We can quote people to each other all day.
 
drizzle
Gold Member
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Poetry is the breath and finer spirit of all knowledge; it is the the impassioned expression which is in the countenance of all science
Love it, thanks for sharing qspeechc. :)
 
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;) I took that quote from the preface to Lyrical Ballads that Wordsworth did with Coleridge, if you're interested.
 
What exactly is your dissatisfaction with poetry?

How do we distinguish useful information from information that is not useless? Obviously no one can set down hard and fast rules for what is, and what is not, poetry; yet you seem to want to force us into giving you a clear definition of what is poetry and what is "mindless rambling". collinsmark has given you an admirable outline of what poetry is. Of course much can be said on this topic, and if you are really interested in this you will go down to the library and read a book on poetry; there are many such books.

The poet is an artist with words who tries to present his unique view of his subject matter (most people do not have unique views and they do not become poets), using language in a high, beautiful and very skillful manner. Of course this definition is too short and too simplistic but is a useful starting point.


No dissatisfaction. Can you say "I'm dissatisfied with chemistry"? I just try to understand something I previously do not understand, which may not purposed to be understood at all.
 
In science one tries to tell people, in such a way as to be understood by everyone, something that no one ever knew before. But in poetry, it's the exact opposite.
-- P.A.M. Dirac
Witty
 
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Only in the eyes of the utterer, and even then, not so much.
 

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