The Immortal Poets Society discussion

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message 1: by Jonathan (new)

Jonathan Moran | 95 comments Mod
I am pretty much open to reading anything that "has stood the test of time" here, but there is a burgeoning subgroup in The Victorians Group, called Poetry Corner, which discusses Victorian Era poetry. There is a current project on Shakespeare Fans! dedicated to reading the Bard's sonnets out of order. If you are interested in either of those projects, let me refer you there.


message 2: by Jonathan (new)

Jonathan Moran | 95 comments Mod
We are just getting started, but I believe new members will be joining soon. I am going to begin a couple of projects on my own here to get things going, so feel free to join in if you are interested.

My plan is to start one long read that will last a couple months, as well as choosing a poet of the month to focus on by reading at least of his or her poems per week.


message 3: by Jonathan (new)

Jonathan Moran | 95 comments Mod
What do you guys want to do first? Let's nominate a poet to begin with and we will choose four short poems for weekly reads and perhaps a longer work for a two-month read. We have 4 members so far, so you pretty much can choose whoever you want. I'm game.


message 4: by Jonathan (new)

Jonathan Moran | 95 comments Mod
I nominate Lord Byron. I'm not married to that conclusion, by any means, but choosing someone so famous may help us get rolling.


message 5: by Everyman (new)

Everyman | 4 comments Jonathan wrote: "I nominate Lord Byron. I'm not married to that conclusion, by any means, but choosing someone so famous may help us get rolling."

I know Byron is well regarded by many, but I personally have never learned to appreciate his poetry, only his life.

Donne may be too complex for a first foray into poetry, but he has some wonderful stuff, and he's a good subject for discussion since his poetry often involves a lot of unpacking in which the wisdom of a group approach can be very helpful when an individual reader is scratching his head about what that flea is all about, or what on earth is meant by "the king's real, or his stampèd face."


message 6: by Jonathan (new)

Jonathan Moran | 95 comments Mod
I do enjoy Donne. Let's see who else comes along, I would be up for Donne as well.


message 7: by Natalie (new)

Natalie Tyler (doulton) one difficulty with Byron is the length of his works: _Don Juan,_ _Childe Harold_ _Beppo_ and _Manfred_ are very lengthy.

I like the idea of--just to pick a few---Donne, Wordsworth, Keats, Frost, Wallace Stevens, ee cummings, TS Eliot, Elizabeth Bishop--to throw out a few names.


message 8: by Jonathan (new)

Jonathan Moran | 95 comments Mod
I hope we get going here. Just say what you guys really want and we'll start with that. I am good with Donne, I reread The Bait today, his style would make for an interesting discussion.


message 9: by Everyman (new)

Everyman | 4 comments I hope we hear from some of the other members soon -- it should be more than just three people involved!


message 10: by Natalie (new)

Natalie Tyler (doulton) "The Bait" by Donne is a response to Marlowe's "The Passionate Shepherd to His Love." It might be fun to read them together.


message 11: by Jonathan (new)

Jonathan Moran | 95 comments Mod
Natalie, I had forgotten this. Let's do so.


message 12: by Jonathan (new)

Jonathan Moran | 95 comments Mod
Eman I will send a group invite to the other 10 or so new members. All the other poetry groups I found are defunct. Most of them are called Dead Poets Society, that's why I thought we needed to be immortal. We'll see if that helps!


message 13: by Michael (new)

Michael Finocchiaro (fino) | 1 comments Does it have to go back that far? Could we do Wallace Stevens or Robert Lowell?


message 14: by Jonathan (new)

Jonathan Moran | 95 comments Mod
Fino wrote: "Does it have to go back that far? Could we do Wallace Stevens or Robert Lowell?"

It's whatever you guys want. I think anything that gets brought up here early on will make it on the schedule. The question is the order. We will do a poll on that, once everyone has a chance to post their nominations.


message 15: by Jonathan (new)

Jonathan Moran | 95 comments Mod
Natalie wrote: ""The Bait" by Donne is a response to Marlowe's "The Passionate Shepherd to His Love." It might be fun to read them together."

A footnote in my Norton Anthology says Sir Walter Raleigh's "The Nymph's Reply to the Shepherd" was a reply to Marlowe's poem. Is "The Bait" also a response? If so, we could do the trio.


message 16: by Martha (last edited Feb 05, 2017 01:21PM) (new)

Martha (marthas48) I appreciate the invitation, but I've read very little poetry since college days. I would like to change that & if you don't mind having someone who is fairly ignorant of this genre, I would like to read along with you.


message 17: by Jonathan (new)

Jonathan Moran | 95 comments Mod
Martha wrote: "I appreciate the invitation, but I've read very little poetry since college days. I would like to change that & if you don't mind having someone who is fairly ignorant of this genre, I would like t..."

Great to have you aboard. I am excited to try to initiate new people into the great art of poetry. You have a lot of help here. Poetry discussions are usually geared towards making sense of what we've read. So, if any of us can't make out a certain line or something, others usually provide valuable input.

I've only learned to love poetry the last 3-4 years, but it keeps growing. I think you will like it.


message 18: by Natalie (new)

Natalie Tyler (doulton) So some of the names I've been hearing are Donne, Byron, cummings, Stevens, Robert Lowell. Maybe, Jonathan, you could select one pre-20th century poet and one 20th or even 21st century poet.

Another idea is to post just one poem from contemporary times---1950 onward, say--and discuss that. A poet can produce just one or two really interesting works that can be looked at in just a few days. It's rewarding to look at some of these works.

I don't much like contemporary poets who are opaque nor do I like poets who are too facile. A good poem today should, for me, just give me a glimpse of something I might not have thought of on my own. Most poems are little stories and some are more visual than others.

Here's an example of a poem that gives us a nice image, is not too difficult to understand, and yet is well-worth reading:


message 19: by Natalie (new)

Natalie Tyler (doulton) So some of the names I've been hearing are Donne, Byron, cummings, Stevens, Robert Lowell. Maybe, Jonathan, you could select one pre-20th century poet and one 20th or even 21st century poet.

Another idea is to post just one poem from contemporary times---1950 onward, say--and discuss that. A poet can produce just one or two really interesting works that can be looked at in just a few days. It's rewarding to look at some of these works.

I don't much like contemporary poets who are opaque nor do I like poets who are too facile. A good poem today should, for me, just give me a glimpse of something I might not have thought of on my own. Most poems are little stories and some are more visual than others.

Here's an example of a poem that gives us a nice image, is not too difficult to understand, and yet is well-worth reading:

"Dust of Snow"
BY ROBERT FROST

The way a crow
Shook down on me
The dust of snow
From a hemlock tree

Has given my heart
A change of mood
And saved some part
Of a day I had rued.

**********
The bird, an ordinary crow, has shaken a bit of snow from a tree and the speaker of the poem was transformed a bit--amused, or perhaps he felt a moment of kinship. The speaker has had a bad day and regrets things from the day but the crow perked him up.

I like the fact that the images are not sweetly simple: it's a crow, not a robin. It's a hemlock tree, not a willow. There's something about the act that offers a little glimpse of something special---something that changes the speaker's mood.


message 20: by Jonathan (new)

Jonathan Moran | 95 comments Mod
I always enjoy Frost.

I will post some Donne, and the Marlowe poem, Natalie. I will also post a poem by Robert Lowell. Any suggestions?


message 21: by Natalie (new)

Natalie Tyler (doulton) Fino nominated Lowell, so he might have an idea. "Skunk Hour" seems to be the most anthologized. There's also "For the Union Dead," and "The Quaker Cemetery".


message 22: by Jonathan (new)

Jonathan Moran | 95 comments Mod
I've added two folders per request, one for Keats and one for Blake. If anyone wants a folder added for a favorite poet let me know. If you want to share a poem by one of these poets, please create a new topic with the poem's name underneath the poet's name. This will help keep things organized. Thank you.


message 23: by Jonathan (new)

Jonathan Moran | 95 comments Mod
Funyon wrote: "Jonathan wrote: "I've added two folders per request, one for Keats and one for Blake. If anyone wants a folder added for a favorite poet let me know. If you want to share a poem by one of these poe..."

I will add the folders. Underneath the poet's name, you can add "new topic" and copy + paste whichever poem you want to discuss. If you would rather, email me or use this thread and tell me which poems you want up. It is probably best to only add 1-2 per week, so everyone has a chance to see it and chime in.


message 24: by Jonathan (new)

Jonathan Moran | 95 comments Mod
Natalie wrote: "So some of the names I've been hearing are Donne, Byron, cummings, Stevens, Robert Lowell. Maybe, Jonathan, you could select one pre-20th century poet and one 20th or even 21st century poet.

Anot..."


Natalie I copied this poem under Robert Frost, so those looking for him will find it.


message 25: by Jonathan (new)

Jonathan Moran | 95 comments Mod
Poetry is a much different form than other forms of literature, novels for instance. This is evident in how we talk and write about them. If I write a good paper on a novel it is usually much shorter than the novel and, as much as I can, I try to reduce the novel into one significant concept. A good paper on a poem, in contrast, is usually much longer the poem itself. Poet's truncate their meaning to fit the size of the work they have in mind.

Poems can be read in a matter of minutes, and tend to become understood over a lifetime. Thus, I think it wise, to get things going here, to post a number of poems, and, as our members are inspired, they can come back and read and comment at any time. I suggest we do this for now, and perhaps, when we get more members or more activity from our current members, we can start doing scheduled reads.


message 26: by Samuel (new)

Samuel Jeng | 2 comments "A Fallen Leaf" by Ella Wheeler Wilcox


message 27: by Jonathan (new)

Jonathan Moran | 95 comments Mod
Our featured poet this month is John Donne. Even if you guys are unfamiliar with him, please take a few minutes and read some of his poems to help with the conversation.

Which poet should we feature in March? Nominations please. When you nominate a poet please offer a few suggestions as to which poems to read of his or hers.


message 28: by Natalie (new)

Natalie Tyler (doulton) Jonathan, I think you are doing a fantastic job. I also think that you don't need to add a new topic for just every poem or poet that people suggest.

I have been very busy at work but will try to come in to talk more about Donne this month.

One idea you might use is to divide up the poetry into categories such as these (only suggestions for you)
1. Renaissance & 17th century
2. 18th century
3. 19th Century British
4. 19th century American
5. 20th century British and American
6. 21st century poets
7. poets in translation

and then see which groups have the largest numbers of poets worthy of discussion---that would strike me (although anyone else can beg to differ) as indicating that the 18th century and the 19th century American and the 21st century poets are the smallest groups and the other groups are the largest.

Some enthusiastic members may give you dozens of suggestions but tell them that they can only give you one name a month to have the "poet of the month".

You might also consider having a "side" poet---a person who has achieved work of merit but who is either less well known or has a briefer body of works. For example the "minor" poets I've listed below have written some great poems, but they don't have as many poems---mostly because of dying young, or because they have only a few really great poems.

For example: I would consider (just off the top of my head)
Major poets: Donne, Browning, Blake, Wallace Stevens, Anthony Hecht

Minor poets: John Crowe Ransom, John Clare, AE Housman, WWI poets

Note that this is just a suggestion, not a nomination.


message 29: by Jonathan (new)

Jonathan Moran | 95 comments Mod
Natalie wrote: "Jonathan, I think you are doing a fantastic job. I also think that you don't need to add a new topic for just every poem or poet that people suggest.

I have been very busy at work but will try to..."


I would suggest a compromise as far as organization. I like the idea of each major poet having his or her own folder. But, I like your idea of placing the minor poets into the categories you proposed.

Featured poets and monthly reads will always show at the top.


message 30: by Jonathan (last edited Feb 11, 2017 01:38PM) (new)

Jonathan Moran | 95 comments Mod
Each month we should have a major poet, a minor poet, and an epic read, which may last beyond a single month.

For March, I nominate:

Major Poet: Alexander Pope
Minor Poet: Ogden Nash
Epic: The Inferno (by Dante)

After everyone has a chance to nominate their favorites. We will have a poll for each of the three categories. Once we choose the major and minor poets, we can discuss which works to focus on.


message 31: by Natalie (new)

Natalie Tyler (doulton) Pope and Nash go well together: they are both satirists working in very different styles.


message 32: by Jonathan (new)

Jonathan Moran | 95 comments Mod
While John Donne is still the flavor of the month, does anyone have a Donne poem they would like added to his folder? I am going to add a couple of his religious poems so we can appreciate the difference between his younger days of sowing wild oats and his later days of sowing the gospel.


message 33: by Jonathan (new)

Jonathan Moran | 95 comments Mod
Nominations for next month will be open until 2/19/17. After that, we will make our final decisions as to the featured poet, so that we can choose which poems to read.


message 34: by Jonathan (new)

Jonathan Moran | 95 comments Mod
It looks like these will be our selections for March:

Major Poet: Alexander Pope
Minor Poet: Ogden Nash

I will hold off on Dante or another Epic read until we get more interest.


message 35: by Jonathan (new)

Jonathan Moran | 95 comments Mod
I am going to post a poll to decide which way we should go with Pope. His most famous seems to be "The Rape of the Lock." His other major works include "The Dunciad", "The Iliad", and "The Odyssey". Other notable works include "An Essay on Criticism" and "An Essay on Man." Vote on which one you would like to read most, and if it is a smaller work, we may made do a combination.


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