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comment by user-inactivated
user-inactivated  ·  701 days ago  ·  link  ·    ·  parent  ·  post: Poets, do you feel like you need to compete in order to get better as a poet?

I made somebody feel something once with poetry, so I'll try and answer my best. You'll have to ask lil and _refugee_ to get real answers.

I don't compete. One of the major reasons I don't compete, is that there aren't a lot of competitions I would care to win. And I don't mean that in a sour grapes way, though I probably couldn't win them anyway. I'm judging this by the previous winners of a lot of contests that I hear announced as 'won' on the radio.

This is the lyric poetry winner from last year from poetry society.

Light my face and light the flesh of my flesh,

Light each my eyes and light inside my sight,

Light the light that makes me light in the bones,

And in my hands, light, and in my loins, light,

And light your light before and behind me,

Above and beneath me, light to my right

And light to left, light to my enemies

Who in the moral dark will use my light

Against me, light the dull swords of my ribs,

The thick fist within, light the blood-hot rooms

Pulsing there, light the gates when they swing wide

To the stranger, light more light on my tongue,

In the light, light more light, in the black, light,

and when it's time to snuff this wick—light that light.

It's not terrible. It reminds me of Muslim prayer. That's neat. But it's pretty gimmicky, and I don't learn anything from it. Content wise it's a lot like the Lord's prayer:

Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name. Your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread, and forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors. And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil.

Honestly, was the author not Muslim, and already famous (Phillip Metres),I doubt it would have gotten much attention. This happens all the time in poetry. Recently there was a famous case of a white man who got into the Best American Poetry Anthology only after using a Chinese pen-name. Instead, it gets this crazy academic nonsense: "With admirable conviction and panache, "Devotional (after a Muslim Prayer)" answers affirmatively all of the intuitive and rather vital questions that plague a lyric poem. Yes, the poem is a sonnet and yes it enacts the work of sacred speech and yes by combining the two the poem is enhanced by paradox, sacred light in a secular bottle."

But I'm a layman. I don't like post-70s Jazz either, but for the same reason. When you get so into the craft and science of saying something, you have more trouble saying it naturally. So Jazz doesn't connect with most people, because they can't hear it. But the point of art (for me) is to convey a message through something you've created. These kinds of poems don't connect with me, and so it's either because I can't hear them, or because they have failed in their attempt to convey a message. I think most people give jazz and poetry deference when the piece is popular, because clearly they're missing something that everyone else is hearing, but I approach it from a more 'it does or it doesn't for me' space. I might look stupid to some, but some look stupid to me, so it's balanced.

ArtemusBlank  ·  701 days ago  ·  link  ·  

Yea the light poem is pretty gimmicky. It's nothing really original. When I do poetry, I try to be simple and funny. I never really go out of my way to be flowery. I always try to tell the best possible truth or satire I can. I want to have fun with this. I don't want to read a drag of a poem, I just want to read something fun. That's how I personally looking at creating and performing poetry if that makes sense.