Archive for January 6th, 2011

January 6, 2011

in rebuttal to some comments from yesterday

by jhon baker

Mel, I have enjoyed your work in the past and will continue to do so in the future. In general, artists have very strong opinions about things and are not very reticent about sharing them. However, I am a bit dismayed that you did not truly read my commentary or that of those who disagree with you who I believe had quite solid points that are left unaddressed in rebuttal.
None of us here are stroking the phallus of academia – we are saying something quite different and that you and L. do not see that invalidates your argument in it’s entirety.

Here is a list of things I did not say in my argument:
 – Academia is the only way to go. (we are not stoking the phallus of academia here)
 – you must adhere to rules to write good poetry. (on the contrary, actually, I say you should know them in order to write without them)
 – you must dissect a poem to find its value. (I don’t know where you and L got this from)
 – without training, people should not try new things. (quite the opposite which is clearly stated in my original commentary.)
– of the “1000 styles of poetry” [sic] you must be versed in each of them to create without boundaries. ( I am unaware of all 1000 and would need to research that bit of proofiness, however, this has no place in my argument and does not follow my line of thought.((but there may be truth to it – I don’t know, I don’t create without constraints)) )

What I am saying:
 – You must learn to further your art, learning from those who are better and more advanced – reading only what you write and that of people of you caliber does nothing to extend your endeavor.
 – Writing in one style is not writing without restriction if you only know that one style. On the contrary – you are totally constricted to that one style.
 – Learn what is offered to know – then forget what you have learned to write without restriction. (mel, you did this and it seems to have benefited you quite handsomely)
 – My comment on the MBA has more to do with putting me in the position of teaching to expound on a greater level the value of learning not the value of formal training.
 – thinking that you don’t need to learn and shouldn’t study to be able to create truly and that is what is best is self centered in the extreme. (I find it difficult to parse why you are defending a line of thought that is so partisan, allowing no room for other expression)

What I should have added:
  – Whether or not any of us wants to admit it – all creation is done within constraints, chosen or unchosen – being able to choose your constraints creates more informed and better work.
 – I am basing my commentary on what he says, where quoted or referenced, not what he intends as I do not know his intention – I only have his direct wording.
– reading and quoting from his blog where he tries to pass himself off as a well learned and trained writer.

What I should have left out:
 – My personal opinion of his poetry as it has little to do with what I am talking about. Though I did think what I read was bad and self-centered – it may have been poor examples of his work as a whole – he may well be the second coming of Bukowski (who was indeed a trained writer and obsessive autodidact as well.)

Your argument is not a direct rebuttal of my statements but a continuation of L.’s which did not address my commentary and took everything I said out of context and inflamed it beyond its point.

Answer me this -, in poetry, after you have nearly mastered one form (in this case, free form) how is it creation to continue to write in that form when it isn’t a choice but a limitation by chosen ignorance.

and L. You made my point with your argument about the laws of the land – you are not able to exercise your freedoms without knowing what they are, and the limits to them. If you create within one form only without knowing the other avenues how can you possibly expect to further your art? As K said – how can you create from within a box? I am sorry, L., I cannot answer your question without first knowing who the greatest poet ever is, and having some information about the parental tutelage as you inferred.

Is someone who can change oil a mechanic? Someone who can install a faucet a plumber? when you take out the garbage are you a garbageman/woman/person, when you mow your lawn are you a landscaper, when you fix a chair are you a woodworker, file your own taxes an accountant? what makes the difference? and are you limited to not do these things because you aren’t fully informed? of course not.
If you are not learned should you resist the urge to write poetry or paint? not at all – you should give in to the temptation to create – if it suits you, you should continue in the endeavor and learn, study – no institution is necessary for this, but a love for what you are trying to do.

I thank you all for weighing in on the thought process and turning it to a debate of sorts – I would hope that you always feel comfortable enough here to disagree with me and my “elite” (so called) opinions.

I look forward to the beating that I may get as a response to this post. If writing in rebuttal on your own blog – I only ask for direct quotation of what you are rebutting and a link back. If you choose to not do this, that is fine as well but not honest. I chose to not link back in my original article as I didn’t want to bring the argument to the person in question as I have no want to hurt his feelings or dissuade him from continuing to learn. This may be a mistake and I will consider informing him directly of my commentary.

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