Statement of Philosophy

A site for exploration and discussion about verse, poetics, the aesthetic, and creative writing in general.

Because there is a profound difference between writing something to be read and writing something worth reading; and in that difference might beauty be found.

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Sunday, May 19, 2013

"Dusk in the Ruins" by Ernest Hilbert -- Verse Daily, 5/19/2013

from All of You on the Good Earth
poem found here


First lines:
I arrive, one more uninvited guest.
A June storm coasts down the horizon


a bit about the process

— reformatted 9/30/15

So, to be straight, this poem irks me. I don't think it succeeds: I find it flops about a bit ideationally, and the phrasing seems to come straight out of the shoebox of trite. (There needs to be a noun form for trite: tritoids? trits? tritialities?) But I can't put my finger on anything that I can put into words (with merit) so instead I want to take a moment on how I approached the poem, and what happened. My aim is to give a moment to how I work this blog.

First reading, I thought the poem was god-awful. Even second and third. At about fifth my opinion of it was raised substantially, but I still am not that fond.

Now, I usually like to see if the poet has other poems on the web. (Also, I will look at the source book on Amazon.) Sometimes, it will show me that while the poem at hand is bad, it's an outlier of what is out there. (Or, sometimes, that a good poem is an apparent outlier.) Sometimes, it confirms that it is in fact that that poet just isn't very good.

Sometimes – and this I think is the most fruitful moments – I find other poems that point out that there is something that I am missing in approaching the poem. One of the problems with publishing poems one at a time is the poem put forward can lack necessary context: I'm talking not so much about topical context (although, I have more than once had a poem suddenly improve greatly once I knew the context of the book from which it came), but stylistic context. Sometimes the experiments the poet is working with is not evident in a single poem. Sometimes you can't find the poet's voice in only one poem. Sometimes a poem is taken out of a book that is an ordered book, where the poems are in a sequence, and you have to know the sequence to get the poem. (Something I have never understood – taking a poem out of a sequence, that is.)

So there is much to learn from looking at other poems. (And, on this one, to me it is an outlier from the other poems on the web, both in success and in verbiage. But, really, that's not my point here.)

But, moreso, sometimes you come upon other projects: for example, Ernest Hilbert, here, is the driving force behind the E-Verse Radio blog (here). Which is something worth checking out.[FN]

[FN] I feel I should clarify that I treat blogs like I treat magazines: I do not any more subscribe to magazines, because they only end up stacked on the floor. I buy them in the stores when I see or discover or hear about an article I am interested in. So also with blogs.

And, what do I find on the E-Verse blog? Right at the top, a poem by D.A. Powell (this one). And how very interesting a poem it is. And I can't say I have ever heard of D.A. Powell before -- so with a little looking about, even though I did not think much of Hilbert's poem, I have found two other things much worth the effort.

So what's the moral to the story, here? Really, just wanted to show you a touch of what I do with poems when I approach them (that they are not generally accepted in their isolation). But, also, perhaps there is here a demonstration of something fundamental to good writing: that is,


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