Loading ...
Sorry, an error occurred while loading the content.

Re: [mythsoc] A Tale of Two Professors, poetry, and confusion

Expand Messages
  • Elizabeth Apgar Triano
    ... some ... You mean, reading it aloud oneself? In that case, is one reading to hear one s voice speak the poem, or reading to feel the taste of the language
    Message 1 of 2 , Dec 2, 2004
    • 0 Attachment
      > [Original Message]
      > From: David Bratman <dbratman@...>
      > To: <mythsoc@yahoogroups.com>
      > Date: 12/2/2004 12:46:58 AM
      > Subject: Re: [mythsoc] A Tale of Two Professors
      >
      > At 11:26 AM 12/1/2004 -0500, Lizzie wrote:
      >
      > >I recently came across a funny site about poetry that took the opposite
      > >stance, that it should not be read aloud because that was "artificial" or
      > >some such argument.
      >
      > It seemed to me that the argument of the article you linked to was that
      > _listening_ to a poet's reading of his own poetry should not be taken as
      > the definitive interpretation. That might not always be true, but it's a
      > different point. I was in any case talking of reading poetry aloud, not
      > listening to someone else read it aloud. If, as the article suggests,
      some
      > can read silently as if they were reading aloud, they might get out of
      > poetry what the rest of us are missing. But few have that talent.
      >
      You mean, reading it aloud oneself? In that case, is one reading to hear
      one's voice speak the poem, or reading to feel the taste of the language on
      one's tongue? For example, I enjoy singing a number of folk songs -- I do
      not enjoy the sound of my own voice, but I enjoy the feel of singing the
      song.

      To read silently as if one were reading aloud is, for me, just the matter
      of reading a bit more slowly, and listening to the words drop through my
      head. It is easier than reading aloud, in that it is not hindered by one's
      vocal qualities (or lack thereof). It is a little like envisioning a thing
      you want to draw -- which is not so difficult until one picks up the pencil.

      >
      > At 09:04 AM 12/1/2004 -0800, Debra Murphy wrote:
      >
      > >I daresay it's ultimately a matter of taste, but it strikes me that
      those
      > >who cannot bear Shakespeare-in-performance are probably the sorts of
      people
      > >who either don't care much for theatre anyway, or who live primarily
      inside
      > >their heads, as it were; who have so specific a construct in their minds
      for
      > >what the play's about that they cannot stand to see it done otherwise.
      >
      > I'm not sure if that's the problem - I believe in Shakespeare dramatized,
      > but I'm one of the people allergic to the whole idea of dramatizing LOTR
      > and specifically disappointed with the Jackson version. The difference,
      of
      > course, is that Tolkien dramatized is no longer Tolkien, but Shakespeare
      > dramatized is the essence of Shakespeare. Perhaps the anti-performers in
      > Shakespeare studies are the people who haven't figured that out - who,
      > again, in Tolkien's words haven't realized that drama is a separate art
      > from pure literature.
      >

      I objected a lot to the idea of LOTR dramatized, but I think Jackson did a
      great job. I am also enough of a capitalist to appreciate, if with irony,
      the level of art created for the movie and then marketed with apparent
      success.

      What is the essence of Shakespeare? Shakespeare is just some guy who
      rewrote a lot of things in a way that works really well for the public, or
      some such thing. How much of his work is truly original? Maybe some of
      the sonnets?

      In that I suppose he was just another of the greats... just like the
      Arthurian poets and writers before and after, who were working with a body
      of material and distilling their own product from it.

      > A similar problem comes up in music. Some persist in thinking of the
      score
      > as the "real" music, but it is nothing of the kind. Ontologically, a
      score
      > is not music at all: it's instructions for performing music. The music
      > does not exist until it is performed. Something similar could be said of
      a
      > playscript.
      >
      Or DNA, I suppose?

      If we are made up of lots of things that are made up of things, at how many
      levels do you think there is sentience? And we are part of things that
      make up things. There is "our" warm biological world, including the
      plants, and there is the "cold" mineral world -- is it alive? And then
      there is all that energy stuff. Don't any of you lie awake nights pursuing
      this stuff? How small are our little PC arguments compared with the myriad
      forms of life and energy in Great Creation.

      Wouldn't be my post if it didn't contain a lack of lucidity, now, would it?

      Lizzie
      Elizabeth Apgar Triano
      lizziewriter@...
      amor vincit omnia
      www.lizziewriter.com
      www.danburymineralogicalsociety.org

      >
      >
      > The Mythopoeic Society website http://www.mythsoc.org
      > Yahoo! Groups Links
      >
      >
      >
      >
      >
      >
      >
    • David Bratman
      ... Mostly the latter. That s why it s reading, not listening, that makes poetry. And if you are listening, the poet is not necessarily the best reader of
      Message 2 of 2 , Dec 2, 2004
      • 0 Attachment
        At 09:12 AM 12/2/2004 -0500, Lizzie wrote:

        >You mean, reading it aloud oneself? In that case, is one reading to hear
        >one's voice speak the poem, or reading to feel the taste of the language on
        >one's tongue?

        Mostly the latter. That's why it's reading, not listening, that makes
        poetry. And if you are listening, the poet is not necessarily the best
        reader of his work, any more than the composer is necessarily the best
        conductor: they're different talents.


        >To read silently as if one were reading aloud is, for me, just the matter
        >of reading a bit more slowly, and listening to the words drop through my
        >head. It is easier than reading aloud, in that it is not hindered by one's
        >vocal qualities (or lack thereof). It is a little like envisioning a thing
        >you want to draw -- which is not so difficult until one picks up the pencil.

        I don't think that reading silently slowly is the same as reading aloud, at
        least not for me or, I think, for most people. It's hard to keep from
        speeding up, and silent reading doesn't convey the sense of vocalization.
        Even subvocalization isn't the same thing as reading aloud. I once had to
        time a playscript - how long would it take to perform? I timed it by
        mumbling it to myself while riding in an airplane. (This was before 9/11:
        today, I'd probably be suspected of being a terrorist praying the Koran,
        something which actually happened to me in an airport boarding area when my
        physical position - lying on the carpet because all the seats were taken -
        was deemed suspicious.) Anyway, I thought I was making an accurate timing,
        but later was informed to my horror that the actual reading aloud of the
        play took twice as long as my subvocalized rendition did.


        >I objected a lot to the idea of LOTR dramatized, but I think Jackson did a
        >great job.

        I am sorry to have to say this, but anyone who thinks that Jackson's films
        are a good _dramatization of LOTR_ (apart from any other qualities they may
        have) doesn't know LOTR very well at all.


        >I am also enough of a capitalist to appreciate, if with irony,
        >the level of art created for the movie and then marketed with apparent
        >success.

        That's a different matter. I am in awe, I take off my hat to Jackson's
        ability to organize and pull off this enormous logistical accomplishment.
        More experienced directors than he have fallen flat on their faces on big
        projects far smaller than this one. I have _Lost in La Mancha_ rented from
        the video store right now: the story of Terry Gilliam's disastrous attempt
        to film Don Quixote. And then Jackson made a 10-hour epic that was, judged
        entirely on its own, fairly entertaining! Not entirely boring! That too
        is unprecedented.

        But none of it has anything whatever to do with Tolkien.


        >What is the essence of Shakespeare? Shakespeare is just some guy who
        >rewrote a lot of things in a way that works really well for the public, or
        >some such thing. How much of his work is truly original? Maybe some of
        >the sonnets?

        As you say, Shakespeare's plots are rarely original. Therefore his
        originality, and his greatness, lie in the way he told those stories. And
        the form he chose to tell them in was drama. That is the essence, or at
        least part of the essence, of Shakespeare.


        >> Ontologically, a score
        >> is not music at all: it's instructions for performing music. The music
        >> does not exist until it is performed. Something similar could be said of
        >> a playscript.
        >>
        >Or DNA, I suppose?

        Yes, precisely.


        >If we are made up of lots of things that are made up of things, at how many
        >levels do you think there is sentience? And we are part of things that
        >make up things.

        The secret lies in the complexity. Literature is made of 26 letters in two
        cases with a few punctuation marks, nothing more. Where lies greatness?
        In the complexity with which those letters are arranged. Same with life.
        This was demonstrated by the guys who wrote simple computer programs that
        generated fascinatingly complex screen designs.

        David Bratman
      Your message has been successfully submitted and would be delivered to recipients shortly.