What makes someone a ‘good poet’ is the ability to express yourself in your own unique way, taking existing ‘rules’ of poetry and bending [not ignoring them] them to your own poetic taste”. The rules exist as a guide, to preserve the form and make it a science, an art. Still science and art evolve, so does poetry. It should however not be turned into a madhouse, an anarchic circle of ‘creative’ madmen.”
— Kukogho Iruesiri Samson
Modern poets, especially the young ones, have changed the landscape of poetry. I fully understand the process of deconstructing the language, and its aim and effect.
Is clear to me that the new poets find it orgasmic to invent such expressions as:
He went with
They think they enhance the feeling of separation by ending a line on a positive preposition, and starting the next with a negative…not even a preposition! ‘Out’ can only be an adverb here, and an adverb does not modify a noun. So the sentence is grammatically all wrong.
The fact that it does not make sense grammatically may be thought to highlight the fact the situation does not make sense to the character. But disrupting the language has no other effect than…disrupting the language. Does it add any flavour to the notion expressed? When you read it aloud, it makes no difference. When you see it, it’s just nonsensical.
A setting such as:
He waited for
is just as nonsensical. It’s pointless. Separating the preposition from the complement which it introduces feels like separating husband and wife just for the fun of it. I can see no other valid reason that the will to take distances from rules hallowed by usage. For the sake of it.
They want to desecrate the language? What for? They could as well desecrate religion, and desecrate human life into the bargain. The principle is exactly the same. And to me, the result is identical.
“Ditto with the lack of punctuation.”
Punctuation has been created to underscore the articulations between the groups of words and indicate grammatical organisation. Doing away with it means you want your reader to be left high and dry in the middle of nowhere, in some limbo he alone can make his way through.
I know the justifications:
“Everyone is free to find his/her own interpretation to your assemblage of words.”
What a rich experience! Everyone is invited to recreate the poem according to their own experience and sensibility, and this enables all humans to partake in the creation of the poem. To me it is as if you gave every one of your guests a pile of stones, and asked each person you’ve invited to your home to build his/her own shelter to spend the night ”at your place”.
Preposterous! What a lack of savoir vivre.
“It’s a world of freedom! You can’t impose your words [rules]! Just offer them!”
But it doesn’t work that way. When you invite people to your home, they don’t feel you impose a roof on their heads when you “impose” your house to them. They rather find rest at your place because someone has taken the care to build your house according to architectural rules, and you have prepared a room for your guests to feel good there. And they feel at home because they are made to feel at home, following the way of life of their host.
“Rules are made to be broken?”
I will never buy that either. You can break rules in mathematics? In physics? In finance? In religion? In civic life? Driving when you’ve drunk in this country can take you to prison. Because you’re a danger to other people.
Rules are made to make life “livable”. It also works with the language, the currency of communication.
Rules can be adapted. They obviously evolve. You can create new ones of course. But there are rules! Don’t these poets see that when they deconstruct the language, pretending that breaking the rules is the true way to write, they end up just creating a new rule??!!
“They can break the language as much as they want.”
There is room for more than one branch on the ‘poetree’. But they can’t argue they are the only one green branch on the tree. There are other branches, older and more fruitful, that demand to be considered!
by Brigitte Poirson
I am a member of the WRR editorial team.