|Earl the Squirrel's Rule #13|
Not one participant had any difficulty guessing which was prose.
We can understand how the experimental group was able to separate the verse from prose; the rhymes and rhythm were tipoffs. How did they discern the free verse from prose, though? More to the point, why do English-speaking editors have such difficulty drawing the same distinction with English language submissions?
The answer to both questions is: rhythms. The listeners were able to detect their presence whereas editors today can't seem to detect their absence [or are forced to publish despite that absence].
Let me conjure up two scenarios.
a drunken, misogynistic, bomb-throwing p[r]oser were to appear on the horizon he would be instantly replaced in the public eye with a drunken, misogynistic, bomb-throwing poet. Same clichéd message, same clumsy verbosity, same persona, same hype, different mode--poetry as opposed to lineated prose.
We can stimulate knowledge but we cannot simulate it. We can show aspiring poets how learning the essentials can help them charm contest judges, editors and audiences. We can show aspiring poets the basics in an hour. Once they attain this wisdom we can encourage them to practice and share it, especially in critical forums. What we cannot do as individuals is trick others into thinking we've studied the elements of the art form. Our ignorance will show in everything we say, in the topics we discuss (i.e. content) and in the whole glossary of subjects we avoid. As a population we cannot be expected to buy something we don't understand. Like watching a foreign language film without subtitles, the participants in the aforementioned experiment may be able to discern poetry in Russian better than editors can do so in English but they won't report enjoying the experience. No, not even if someone translates the pieces after the fact.
|Barring celebrity or notoriety, at least.|
In truth, we have far too few.
- 12 Things Poets Get Backwards - Part I
- 12 Things Poets Get Backwards - Part II
- 12 Things Poets Get Backwards - Part III
- 12 Things Poets Get Backwards - Part IV
- 12 Things Poets Get Backwards - Part V
- 12 Things Poets Get Backwards - Part VI
- 12 Things Poets Get Backwards - Part VII
- 12 Things Poets Get Backwards - Part VIII
- 12 Things Poets Get Backwards - Part IX
- 12 Things Poets Get Backwards - Part X
- 12 Things Poets Get Backwards - Part XI
- 12 Things Poets Get Backwards - Part XII
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Earl Gray, Esquirrel