Tuesday, May 3

Poetry is not for Posers

I picked up another copy of the university's student-written art and poetry magazine today, and I was immediately reminded of how much I hate people. In particular, though, I was again reminded of how much I hate fractured prose.

I don't know if I'm the only one to use this term or not, but that's the name I've given to the sort of horseshit half-assed attempts at poetry that seem to proliferate among universities and coffeeshops. Yes, I understand the concept. You're trying to get across an idea and you don't want to be "restricted" with petty things like rhyme and meter. Getting your idea across while playing by the rules was too hard, so you eliminated the rules. You're a cheater.
I will admit that some fractured prose, when properly done, is interesting at best. But ultimately, fractured prose is like zooming a video camera all the way in on a section of something. The good writers of fractured prose will keep the camera steady and will allow you to see a microcosm that you wouldn't have otherwise seen. The bad writers (and these seem to far outweigh the good ones) will jerk the camera around with their awkward metaphors and feeble attempts at avant-garde juxtaposition. Fractured prose is not poetry.
I don't know how many times I'm going to say this before I get fed up and just stop reading anything an undergrad student writes, but I can't stress this enough: fractured prose is not poetry. Free verse is not poetry. Writing in a style which splooges words across the page is not poetry. Calling this shit poetry is a slap in the face to all the real poets. To all the heroes of literary tradition, the Romans, the Greeks, and the English, this free verse shit is complete nonsense. Poetry is an art form. There are many forms of real poetry if you feel "hampered" by a particular style; sonnets, limericks, haikus, rhyming couplets, and alliterative verse are all examples of poetic forms (although alliterative verse has more of an oral fixation and probably shouldn't be recounted among these literary forms...eh, fuck it). Poetry is a challenge to the writer, one which says "Ok, you've got x amount of lines and you've got to rhyme these lines to these lines and you've got to tell a story and it's got to be good". That's why poetry is hard. That's what makes poetry art.
Free verse, or fractured prose as I would much rather call it, doesn't tell a story. It's a snippet ofa story dissected and scattered across a page. It's like a skeleton with no connecting sinews or muscles....fuck it, most of this shit is like a skeleton made up of the bones of all sorts of animals and put together the wrong way. Fine, it's ok to look at, but it doesn't make sense. In fact, it sucks.
Stop trying to act like fractured prose is hard to write, you pussies. Fractured prose isn't writing - fractured prose is the formulative idea for writing. So, what you've done here is think of a few creative phrases and then written them down without any connecting material? That's not writing. That's horseshit. That's a smorgasbord of crybaby mediocrity. That's pure fucking laziness - to write down phrases without connecting material in which the meaning is not explicitly clear is to fail as an artist. Sure, fine, let's cut out all the non-descriptive words and leave a few metaphors and leave it up to the reader to figure out what the hell was going through your mind when you scribbled this shit on a coffeehouse napkin at three in the morning. Be lazy. Avoid the extra work of fleshing out the descriptive phrases and adding proper adverbs and conjunctions and ideas - hell, why not just hand in a blank page and let the reader think of their own poem? You'd be a fucking genius!

To give you an idea of why I hate fractured prose so much, here's an example. The following "poem" is what this entire post would look like as a work of "free verse". Hopefully this will illustrate more fully why taking out the connecting material is horseshit -

"I hate fractured prose"
~ThE aNgRy DrUnKeN iRiShMaN~

you're a cheater
dissected and scattered across the page
in an ass-backwards skeleton
in a lazy smorgasbord
in a blank page
fucking genius
a SLAP! in the face of
Romans
Greeks
people of intellect


Get the picture? I can explain this shitty ass fractured prose until I'm blue in the face, but that fact is that a) it's not poetry and b) it doesn't get the same point across as my prose does. I heard a student talk about his poem, named "if". The entire poem was the word "if". He explained and explained how having this one-word poem encapsulated the possibilities of education and how it showed open horizons and brand new vistas and blah blah blah. Meanwhile, I'm thinking to myself "Goddammit, if your poem were any good, someone else would be up there talking about it. As it is, your poem doesn't make any fucking sense so you have to waste my time talking about what it means. I need to drink."
I'm tired of typing, so let me sum up my beef with the following points:
-Art should stand on its own terms. It shouldn't need to be explained.
-Fractured prose is horseshit. It's not poetry and it's not that damn good.
-Real poetry is hard to do. It takes skill. It takes patience. It's not something you can pull out of your ass. I suggest that you learn to do it, you fucking rule-changing pussies.

And while you're at it, bring me a drink. You know, to prepare you for your future vocation of Perpetual Coffeeshop Employee.
Click this shit!

3 Bullshit Responses:

Anonymous Anonymous left the following bullshit...

You can say whatever the fuck you want about Tributaries. Quite a bit of what you say is the truth.

That said, bitching about it makes you nothing more than an immature, lazy prick.

If you hate Tributaries and the fact that it represents writing, then submit your own writing. You have no right to complain if you aren't attempting to right the system.

6:50 PM  
Blogger The Angry Drunken Irishman left the following bullshit...

Dear Anonymous,

"[B]itching about it makes you nothing more than an immature, lazy prick".

Love,
The Angry Drunken Irishman

P.S. Whoever said it was _Tributaries_?

1:35 PM  
Blogger The Angry Drunken Irishman left the following bullshit...

P.S.

I don't submit to _Tributaries_ because a), I'm familiar with their "Hey, this is my buddy's story, let's publish it and ignore their lack of talent" decision making process regarding their submissions, and b) I've already garnered a larger and more diverse readership with this blog without having to deal with a bunch of pretentious assbags.
How's the weather in New Jersey?

Love and kisses,
ADI

2:29 PM  

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