Posts Tagged ‘titles or not’

From RK Singh this morning…

June 16, 2009

RK!  You write my blog entries for me!

This is too good to be buried in the comments section, because it informs, educates….and also because I agree with it.  LOL!

I post it here hoping it fires off some discussion with other poets/writers…

Thank you, RK.

Lady Nyo

Comment From RK Singh:
I agree with you. But when we write, we should be sensitive to the taste of our time rather than what we notice in the past writers. There are so many things to learn from the past, but we also need to be aware of the present. I have read several American poets of the 1960s and 1970s who wrote in free verse and used either very apt adjectives or wrote like you and I using  ‘bare bones’ expression.
What I have been trying to emphasize is using minimum or very fresh adjectives and metaphors or being brief, especially in lyrical poetry. Unnecessary verbosity is distracting and boring.
Then, one also needs to develop ones own poetics. For example, I avoid using punctuation marks in poetry. I also don’t give titles to my poems.
For reasons of identification, I have hung my poems with titles, often inappropriate, while publishing on the net or on my blogs. But in my published collections, the books have titles, and not the poems. My simple reason: I hardly composed a poem with a title integral to it.
And,  titles tell too much!
The readers need freedom to imagine and recreate their own meaning from the poems. This may be different from the poet’s meaning, intention  or interpretation. The more meaning one can get from a poem, the better for the poem.  I have often found by not using punctuation marks, I provide ‘ambiguity’ to my poem and ensure that various people like it for their own ‘way’ of reading it or for their own mood at the time of reading it! Sometimes they may also find it bad.

We have to discover our own ‘aesthesis’ which is in keeping with our nature, or what I called, sensibility. You know better what you like to read and write, and within your aesthetic frame, you try to present your poem to the readers. What I have learnt is that it is possible to write SIMPLE poems without being complex or  verbose or using too many adjectives.

When I try to revise a simple poem, it becomes very challenging. After all, simplicity of a poem is something beguiling. You too might have experienced it.


Arrrggghhh!  Bare Bones expression!  That is something to strive for…especially in longer poems, RK.  It seems to be easier in the short ones…because of the constrains we set upon ourselves in terms of words….but the longer poems need that same aesthetic.  And I think there is something we use, a couple of us here….that we were ‘trained’ in on this writing group: ERWA….that has been rather helpful to us verbose folk:  it’s called ‘flashers’.  This is a complete story with dialogue or not, but within the confines of 100-200 words…but no more.  You can pack a lot of punch….in 200 words…and they are stories, not scenes….You take a sharp knife and cut out most of the adjectives, the fat, the dross from your story.  What you are left with is clean, sharp, concise.  It’s a thought pattern that is refined through the fire of ‘less is more’.  You have to make every word count.

I think Nick and I can say that this ‘training’ on ERWA has been the most helpful in our general writing.  Applying that technique to poetry is also necessary, and possible.

However, there are other considerations as you point out. This issue of being sensitive to the taste of our times is a very complex issue. And being stuck in the past, in past tastes is also deadly.

There are other considerations, but I wax too much.  Others here can answer to the above, and they are very good considerations, RK!

Thank you!

Lady Nyo

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