Editing: Done!

My last post was from March, eh?

There’s a good reason for that, too! It was laziness!

Anyway, where was I?

I left off with DoneMoWriMo? What the hell does that even mean? Ah, the things I do for SEO. I also see that it’s NaNoWriMo and I’m already done. Did I win?

As for my absence, I’ve stated before somewhere on this blog, that I work a job that is highly seasonal. The peer editing all came back to me around July/August, but I was still super busy at work. Job and life stuff aside, I didn’t really start editing until the beginning of October. I digress.

I’m now done editing and I have to find a publisher. Well, that’s not entirely true. I’m still open to self-publishing. I’m uncertain which route to take as I’m pulled in both directions from friends about what I should do.

My gut says to find a publisher. I’m pretty old fashioned. I actually still take a horse and carriage to work and light my apartment with candles while trusting the newspaper for the most up-to-date news. However, I understand creative rights and all that hooplah through self-publishing may outweigh going through a publisher. But I also understand not all publishers are like that.

But I’m also kind of excited about receiving my first rejection letter. And maybe my second one.

I’ll probably be crying by the third letter. Or reading them like this:

Oh boy. What am I getting myself into?

In the meantime:

. . .

More later.

Poetry Overlords Mk III

This’ll probably be the last bout of garbage spewed out of my fingertips for awhile based off this nonsense. I feel the discussion and philosophy could go on for ages. If you want to continue the discussion, leave a message here or follow me on the Twitter machine. Let’s recap:

The TL;DR from the first two blogs:
Poetry Overlords: Reading poetry out loud is a lot like performing music.
Poetry Overlords Mk II: Music is more universally accepted than poetry because of rules imposed on language.

And Now!

What else am I going to babble on about? A recent study by a McGill University neuroscientist suggests there’s a group of people out there who have the inability to enjoy music.

As I’ve stated previously, unlike poetry, I feel music is a universal language. However, as shown above, there are some people who are not moved by this universal language. It’s interesting to me because music is a great way to express oneself to someone who may struggle to understand what is being said.

For example, if I told you something positive and happy in Russian and you didn’t speak Russian, you would not understand me.

If I played something in a major scale, no matter what culture or background you have, you would feel the positive energy exerted from the music.

Unless you have an inability to.

You’re Not Making Sense

Well I’m trying, damn it!

With both poetry and music also considered forms of art, it can be understandable when someone does not “get” something. Not everyone would “get” classical music or “get” country music. However, one could still feel something from music. Whether or not you “get” classical music, you still get an grand, epic feeling when hearing Richard Wagner’s Ride of the Valkyries. Even with the music being written in the late 1800’s, it still feels grand and current. It does not feel dated.

Poetry, however, has a different hurdle when trying to feel it. Choosing particular words can make your work sound dated. Using a different language makes it non-universal. Sure, using cacophonous words or alliteration can help try and evoke some sort of audible sympathy for the listener. But if the message is not understood, then is that not a problem?

The Half-Assed Conclusion

As you can tell, there’s a lot of discussion to be had with these ideas. Performing poetry should just be as important as having the right words and language in the poem itself. The main problem I’m finding is that not everyone will “get” it because it is not properly understood.

Going back to the first blog on this subject, I had to explain why I was reading and performing Robert Herrick’s “To the Virgins, To Make Much of Time.” Will there ever be a time where I would not have to explain myself?

So I’m left to ask: where does poetry stand in the world of language? Will it never be truly understood?

Or am I just wasting my time on this?

Poetry Overlords Mk II

Since my last blog entry, I’ve been stuck exploring the intriguing comparisons between poetry and music. I don’t know why, but I just am! And if you haven’t jumped on the “Follow UncannyDerek on Twitter” bandwagon, you’re missing out. Sort of.

Here’s the TL;DR version from my last blog:

Reading poetry out loud is a lot like performing music.

New Thoughts. Little. Yellow. Different.

Now what?

This next part is going to stir some debate, I’m sure, but try to follow me here.

As a musician, I personally find that with music I could record absolutely anything and put it out to the public. I could guarantee it would be understood and appreciated by people.

Take for examples, Fantômas – Suspended Animation (2005) or Devin Townsend – Devlab (2004). Both albums are ambient noise and rather chaotic to the listener. But I really enjoy both albums. There’s no real “sense” to each album and they’re both dramatically different from one another. For the average listener though, there’s no real construct or sense to them. For the most part, I’d confidently say that many people would dislike those albums.

Breaking down the instruments and themes, sure, one could find the inspiration and technicalities built within the albums. That being said, both albums can be difficult to listen all of the way through.

So, Poetry?

Right! So, this is where things get debate-y.

As I said, with music, it could get published despite how normal or bizarre it sounds (as with my examples found above). There’s an audience for everything in music. But with poetry and literature? I think it’s a bit more complicated than that. Sure there’s an audience for everyone, but. . . well let me explain.

There is a certain “universal standard,” per se, that is set with literature in which I think music is removed from. Due to “rules” in literature, a missing period could make or break a sentence. Paragraphs can’t be scattered too far as it could confuse the reader. The lack of capitalization could misplace titles or nouns. I could go on.

Now hold on a second because I know you’re already beginning to think of counter-arguments to mine. That’s good, because I had them too.

Let me yank out a few popular lines from Gertrude Stein’s Sacred Emily which appeared in Geography and Plays (1922).

Color mahogany.
Color mahogany center.
Rose is a rose is a rose is a rose.
Loveliness extreme.
Extra gaiters.
Loveliness extreme.
Sweetest ice-cream.
Page ages page ages page ages.

So to start: this is a Canadian blog and she spelled “colour” wrong.

Okay, I’m kidding. But we can see – as readers – how some of the lines, when they are read individually, seem like incomplete thoughts. The final line, “Page ages,” is repetitive and has no commas. It looks strange to the reader and requires some attention when performing it out loud. Should “Color mahogany” have a colon to read “Color: mahogany”?

While Stein’s poem can fit under the same category as the Fantômas and Devin Townsend albums posted above, I feel it is much harder to cater to a literary audience than a musical one due to what some could say “universal standards” put in place with reading.

Someone listening to an album can (mostly) understand when they hear guitar, drums, saxophone, trumpets, piano, or vocals.
But when someone reads or performs poetry, grammar and understanding can get lost in translation.

To ALMOST Conclude

I can play a guitar solo – regardless how awful it would be – but people would still understand it as a guitar solo.

I can perform poetry – regardless how chaotic it would be – but people would have a difficult time understanding it.

With these “universal standards” put in place with reading, such as periods needing to come at the end of sentences, I feel many readers and listeners to poetry may just miss the point. As someone who goes to poetry readings, I often get scoffed at when telling people I’m going. Is it because they think poetry is pretentious, or is it because they simply don’t understand it? Would a “universal standard” to poetry help? Is there even a way to create such a thing?

There’s nothing really conclusive here. It’s more meant to stir the pot and flesh out more ideas.

What are your thoughts on the matter?

Poetry Overlords

Not too long ago, I attended a poetry reading in my city. I’ve attended many over the years, but one thing had always made me cringe: the way some poets read out loud.

Stopping Here

My feelings towards this are entirely subjective and based on the fact that I am completely insane.

There are a few poets who do drone on monotonously when they speak. I do enjoy that when droning is actually part of the poetry they are performing (more on that soon). But other times, it simply does not work and whittles me down to nothingness (I’m over-dramatic).

I’ll touch upon this image later. But first,

I Gotta Backtrack

In my first year of University, I attended and performed at a poetry reading. I remember “covering” Robert Herrick’s famous “To the Virgins, To Make Much of Time” (aka, “Gather ye rosebuds”), and gave it my own personal meaning. I had not known the poem was so popular (and to this day, I still haven’t seen Dead Poets Society).

Anyway, I explained to the audience what the poem meant to me. I read it how I felt it should have been heard given my explanation to why I chose the poem.

Fast Forwarding to the Now

When I attended the poetry reading the other day, as I said above – the way some poets read make me cringe.

I feel as if the words being read could have an entirely different presence or meaning had only the poet changed the tonality of their voice or had someone else read their story for them.

As some people may already know, I’m a musician. I enjoy lots of stuff, ranging from ambient noise, to death metal, to classical, to jazz. I’m all over the map, really.

While writing the other night, it occurred to me how writing poetry is similar to writing music. You need the right words or “notes” to make everything flow together properly. But it was the idea performing poetry which struck me. I ended up writing out something about jazz and poetry. As an aside, I should add there were no poets the other night that did drone on at all. My ideas just came to me as I wrote my own dribble.

Poetry & Jazz?

From my notes:

Performing poetry is much like performing jazz.

As with music written down on paper, there is no sound when reading poetry. The poet is left to be a slave to the words on the page in front of them. It is up to the poet – or musician – to emote what is on the page.

When read out loud, poets will interpret the sounds like how a jazz musician performs a song when they feel it out loud. It transcends the page.

Like jazz, poetry has an infinite amount of emotions and relies heavily on the performer.

In a way, one would not be reading poetry out loud, but rather singing it.

“Jazz isn’t dead. It just smells funny.” – Frank Zappa

Whoop-de-do

Big whoop, right? So what I’m saying is when reading poetry out loud, one should approach it like a jazz musician – add their own feel and emotions into it. When I read Herrick’s poem out loud many years ago, I gave a rationality to why I performed it the way I did. I made it more than just words.

While I said how monotonous droning does work for some poets, others just do it because it may just be “words” to them. Now that is one big assumption on my part (see image above), and poetry can be entirely subjective. But I’m sure it would not hurt for someone to add extra feel to their performance. After all, I, for one, do not welcome our new poetry overlords.

Don’t forget to yell at me over on Twitter.