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quote:
OPB Kittybear:

Musical poets I admire:

Bob Dylan

Steven Patrick Morrissey

and the most current band I listen to who I credit with writing poetry are Guillemots, Fyfe Dangerfield, certainly has a poetic soul.


Kittybear, Morrissey is my favourite songwriter EVER.

I know very little about Bob Dylan, apart from the couple of lyrics everyone knows because they've been cited for decades. I don't know at all The Guillemots: I followed the link and it's interesting, but a single song is really not enough so I'll suspend my judgement (the italian meaning!) and wait to know more.

Still, even if I would need to do my homework on him, I would more easily call poetry Dylan's lyrics, than Morrissey's ones. I underline that I wrote my favourite "songwriter", not poet. I reckon he's amazingly good at writing, can use the words with rare ability, has (had?)a deep, even painful insight on emotions, wrote strange, different, original lyrics, touching matters unusual and sometimes dangerous, or anyway trouble-raising.

So 5 stars on a 5 star scale. Or 100 on a 100 one, if you prefer. But only sometimes I find him poetic the way I mean poetry to be. This happens a lot even with Neil's lyrics: most of the times (IMO) they're a mix of poetic bits and much more prosaic ones, with neuter parts mixed together.

I would also state that a lot of trouble come from a initial misunderstanding (it's not going to change your - of you all- opinion on my high treason), but in the ardour of the discussion I fell into that too, so I'm the first one guilty. When I say "I admit I don't think Neil is a poetic kind of guy" I don't necessarily say that he doesn't write poetry.

I know the difference is very thin. I undestand what you mean when you jump on the chair and keep citing parts of lyrics. You (and I suppose you all, not only Kittybear) have an idea of poetry and poetic that's different from mine (more on this later).
It's true that sometimes he does a very good job with the images he suggest and the metaphors he uses, even if what I feel as changes of register are disturbing to me (and are the reason I would rate him less than Morrissey -FOR LYRICS ALONE- if we discuss songs as a whole or music only it's a completely different issue)

It's the choice of topics I find often really unpoetic. And that matters a lot to me. To the point to ruin the song sometimes. And that's the reason I still regard Neil as not poetic as a person.

Poetry is such an elusive concept. I'm thinking about some oh the things Mr. Sadly wrote, and I'll try to reply to that as soon as possible. but what I want to try to explain is my concept of poetry, and why I've been writing what you seem to find so controversial...

When you try to describe poetry there are many different definitions: if I understood correctly for many of you it's using evocative images, metaphors and indirect descriptions (correct me if I'm wrong, I'm open to different readings of this matter).
Just to be the more simple and plain that I can, I reckon that if you try to write poetry writing in verses, in rhymes or with the rhythm you find appropriate that is only the first step. I can call it technic, or formal level. That can be poetry, and cannot be (most of the times it isn't (IMO)).
The second one is the language you use to comunicate the "poetic" you're poetry is about. This is a tricky level, because sometimes there's a "poetic" the poet is writing about, and I guess you can define it poetry. Sometimes there are only very beautiful images and descriptions, and I - and I underline "I"- wouldn't call that poetry.
The third one is when you have the formal shape (the technical one), the images, descriptions, suggestions, the more evocative the better, but this is not only descriptive, it gives you some insight on a different level, a different feeling, something you didn't know before or wasn't able to focuse in in the correct way.

I will try to explain myself better with an example. I hope you know about Haikus. Haiku is a japanese form of poetry, with very strick "technical" form: 17 syllables in 3 verses (usually 5+7+5). And this is step one.
The step two is the subject. It's usually very beautiful, with references to seasons and nature, but can stay just on the surface, without deepness.
The third step, and this is really poetry to me, is when you have the technical form (if needed, can be just the right internal harmony), the appropriate "language" form (words are able to suggest something to you) AND the whole composition is able to suggest you something more, that transcend the words and images.
This happens only if there is a perfect (harmonic) balance between all the elements, and some more. The real goal of it all: trying to communicate something that's impossible to define with words.

I understand it's a personal vision, and can easily understand you have a different one, but this is the reason I said that about Neil: I guess he's often missing on the third step.

I have to go. Will be back on this as soon as possible, because there's (much) more to say...

-
We all hear about how Neil doesn't like coming on here because the fans are 'too picky' - I think this is a perfect case and point - perhaps he is trying to be poetic, perhaps he isn't... does it really matter? His music and lyrics are what they are and maybe we should just accept that no matter how much we nit-pick it's not going to change how much we like/dislike certain lyrics/songs. I think we are reading into it too much. Just my 2 cents worth

He can certainly write catchy hooks though!!
Oh well, I'm very sorry, NZWarriors, I was under the impression this was a forum.

A place where views about a particular issue can be exchanged.

If the problem is that Neil doesn't like to come here because the fans are "too picky" maybe we can adjust that writing only positive things. We can hide every criticism under a carpet, so everything will be perfect, he will be able to read only positive posts and the sun will shine on the world.

Honestly I'm very picky. This is the reason I didn't fall in love with a musician/band in the last 25 years. And even then they weren't as good as CH or NF alone are.

This doesn't mean they're perfect, and I'm so obsessed that I prefer to discuss about their difects, but to be able to talk about them anyway, rather than to stay on my own and look at the wall.
I was under the impression of doing it in a critical but respectful way, and I always recognized how GREAT that music is.

To me they are not perfect, just the best thing I found in half of my life. If this is not enough, I don't really know what to do.

-
I'm a massive fan of both Dylan and The Smiths, particularly on a lyrical level. I think the actual term 'poetry' can be interpreted on many levels, But, in my own humble (and often blinkered opinion) I think Neil, as a poet, is better than both Morrisey and Dylan, even if we go by the Wicepeidia definition of poetry:

'..Poetry primarily is governed by idiosyncratic forms and conventions to suggest differential interpretation to words, or to evoke emotive responses. Devices such as assonance, alliteration, onomatopoeia, and rhythm are sometimes used to achieve musical or incantatory effects. The use of ambiguity, symbolism, irony, and other stylistic elements of poetic diction often leaves a poem open to multiple interpretations..'

(Except perhaps in terms of onotopeia - although there are a couple of NF examples of this). But certainly in terms of the following :

'..the use of ambiguity, symbolism, irony, and other stylistic elements of poetic diction often leaves a poem open to multiple interpretations..'

(Although Morrisey does use irony beautifully at times, probably more than Neil)?

I think Neil wins hands down in terms of ambiguity, symbolism, and multiple interpretation. In fact, on the 'multiple interpretation' front I can't think of many better (in terms of popular music).

I have to say though, I'm not sure as to the meaning of 'incantatory effects'. WTF does that mean!?
quote:
Originally posted by NZWarriors:
We all hear about how Neil doesn't like coming on here because the fans are 'too picky' - I think this is a perfect case and point - perhaps he is trying to be poetic, perhaps he isn't... does it really matter? His music and lyrics are what they are and maybe we should just accept that no matter how much we nit-pick it's not going to change how much we like/dislike certain lyrics/songs. I think we are reading into it too much. Just my 2 cents worth

He can certainly write catchy hooks though!!


Actually, on Twitter, Neil said he doesn't come here because he thinks the fans should feel free to speak freely.

So I guess we should speak freely Wink
quote:
OPB Welsh Dan:

I think the actual term 'poetry' can be interpreted on many levels, But, in my own humble (and often blinkered opinion) I think Neil, as a poet, is better than both Morrisey and Dylan, (...)


I have to think not twice but thrice, before replying to this... I guess I did enough damage to myself. Plus I don't know Dylan (Ok, more homework to do!). And anyway, if I undestood the word correctly, my opinion can be more blinkered than yours.
Ley's say that if we talk of songwriters my preference goes to Morrissey.

quote:
(idem)
(...) if we go by the Wicepeidia definition of poetry:

'..Poetry primarily is governed by idiosyncratic forms and conventions to suggest differential interpretation to words, or to evoke emotive responses. Devices such as assonance, alliteration, onomatopoeia, and rhythm are sometimes used to achieve musical or incantatory effects. The use of ambiguity, symbolism, irony, and other stylistic elements of poetic diction often leaves a poem open to multiple interpretations..'


One of the problems I have is that every dictionary I look at have different (sometimes very different) definitions of poetry.
I know it's elusive, bur it's like trying to catch an eel with oil on your hands. So I will just stick to my personal definition, with the proviso that I accept there are others, different interpretation of this concept.

quote:
(Idem)

'..the use of ambiguity, symbolism, irony, and other stylistic elements of poetic diction often leaves a poem open to multiple interpretations..'

(Although Morrisey does use irony beautifully at times, probably more than Neil)?


(IMHO) Morrissey is the champion of use of irony. It's one of his more outstanding writing characteristics (the other being the brass/nerve/cheek of dwelling in emotions most of people pretend not to feel). So I agree with you here (with no parenthesis and question mark)

quote:
(idem)

I think Neil wins hands down in terms of ambiguity, symbolism, and multiple interpretation. In fact, on the 'multiple interpretation' front I can't think of many better (in terms of popular music).


I agree again, surely Neil is much more ambiguous, and his lyrics MUCH more open to interpretation that Morrissey's ones. I have to add tha usually Morrissey had one specific topic for a song, while I suspect more and more that Neil mix two or more inputs/inspirations on every lyric. I can't say if there are someone better, I do tend to care about the music more, and with the fact of the language I just have not to try, for the vocals being part of the music.
I only listen and try to understand the words when the music mesmerizes me, and this doesn't happen very often.

But it did happen with CH!

quote:
(idem)

I have to say though, I'm not sure as to the meaning of 'incantatory effects'. WTF does that mean!?


Oh well, if you are so lucky to find a very good reader, poetry can be "incantatory". There are persons that are able to declaim a poetry in such a way you feel like being in trance. It happended to me, a couple of times. You need a very good poetry, and a very good speaker.

Otherwise you need a poetry that goes so much near to your soul, that you feel like falling in love. I'm sure you know the feeling, but to be able to describe it is another matter. Some poet is able to do such a miracle.
(even some musician Wink)

-
@Welsh Dan posted:
I have to say though, I'm not sure as to the meaning of 'incantatory effects'. WTF does that mean!?

If it means anything, (used as it was in distinction to musical effects) it must mean the effects of language as incantation. A magical twist on the natural ability of language to call forth, to as it were, to summon, conjure, abjure, dispel, bind, evoke, enchant, transmute. Language of course does none of this directly, but in the mind of the receiver. Who can then enact as much of such business as they see fit, and are capable of - but the incantation has done its work in the mind.

Am I babbling gibberish or was all that quite clear?

I am I fear a disenchanter. My incantations run straight to decoctions, and are neither absolved, nor resolved, nor solved.

Hey! I guess it makes me an alchemist! Hoo hoo!

Edit: I am not a "disenchanter." I am a chanter.

The point is, the incantatory effect of language is heavily-dependent upon the practitioner's skillz.

So is poetry.

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