Cari Pantun

Traditional Poetry

Traditional poetry has the greater store of principles. Such things as: Poetry is language organized for aesthetic purposes. Poetry must not only describe but bear witness. A poem is distinguished by the feeling that dictates it and that which it communicates, by the economy and resonance of its language, and by the imaginative power that integrates, intensifies and enhances experience. Poems bear some relationship to real life but are equally autonomous and independent entities that contain within themselves the reason why they are so and not otherwise. Unlike discourse, which proceeds by logical steps, poetry is intuited whole as a presentiment of thought and/or feeling. Workaday prose is an abbreviation of reality: poetry is its intensification. Poems have a transcendental quality: there is a sudden transformation through which words assume a particular importance. Art is a way of knowing, and is valuable in proportion to the justice with which it evaluates that knowledge.

The poet's task is to resurrect the outer, transient and perishable world within himself, to transform it into something much more real. Poets must recognize pattern wherever they see it, and build those perceptions into poetic form that by its coherence and urgency will persuade us of its truth: the intellectual must be fused with the sensuous meaning. The greatness of the poet is measurable by the real significance of the resemblances on which he builds, the depth of the roots in the constitution, if not of the physical world, then of the moral and emotional nature of man.

Points to Bear in Mind

1. Traditional poetry is a high calling. Given also that its products are difficult to place in magazines, you may wish to consider the Modernist and Postmodernist approaches, at least until a reputation lets you do as you please.

2. To produce traditional poems is to write in a long tradition, where you will be judged against the acknowledged masters. Borrowings (and failings) are much more obvious, so you will have to work harder for poems to be contemporary, individual and authentic.

3. Traditionally, poems are representations of reality that give order, value and significance. The representations become available through the medium of depiction, but are themselves also of intrinsic interest — by reason of the literary tradition, and by the value society places on these matters. Again, the obligations are more onerous, and the shortfalls more apparent.


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