Friday, February 29, 2008

Poets and versifiers

Faber brought out a book on modern poetry but named it faber book of modern verse, though it included works of celebrated poets like Eliot, Pound, Auden, Yeats and many others. May be they were sceptical that many included were mere versifiers.

I came across another anthology named ‘Silver poets’from ‘everyman’s library’. The introduction or the prepace gave clarification why the anthology was named so. It says, “ it acknowledges a distinction between this particular assembly of poets and their more eminent contemporaries----.”

I do not recollect having come across any anthology titled Copper poets or bronze poets. I believe this category does exist. Ofcourse I have not seen a title of golden poets either. I have come across the term lesser poets, whatever it means. On the second thought it should mean versifyers who do not have poetic content even very occasionally.

Atalji, our highly respected politician, is also a poet. Hardly anyone knew him as a poet before he became prime minister. Then there were sycophants not only of his political acumen but also of his poetry. He gave in to sychophancy. He would recite one of his verses on any given occasion or on a slight suggestion to recite one. India TV portrayed it well in their programme ‘gustakhi mwaf’. Only Kaif Azmi could say what Atalji was writing was mere ‘tukbandi’. Celebrated singers offered to sing his poems and they did sing. Composers lined up to give musical score.

Verse is a form, while poetry it’s content. When the two compliment each other it is great poetry. Even the free verse has rhythm. Great prose has rhythm. Great prose also bursts into poetry. I can think of James Joyce and Katherine Mansfield. Poets use ‘measured language of emotion’. A poem is ‘a litarary expression in which words are used in a concentrated blend of sound and imagery to create an emotional response.’

‘In its broadest sense, writing that aims to present ideas and evoke an emotional experience in the reader through the use of meter, imagery, connotative and concrete words, and a carefully constructed structure based on rhythmic patterns. Poetry typically relies on words and expressions that have several layers of meaning. It also makes use of the effects of regular rhythm on the ear and may make a strong appeal to the senses through the use of imagery.’

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