Where Do We Stand?

Posted in Uncategorized on January 2, 2010 by lucumconlucare

So….It’s been an even longer while now. And what’s been happening?

As the new year starts it looks like school is going to be on the back burner for a while. I’m still interested in poetry but I’ve got more pressing matters and projects to attend to, and if anyone minds (which I find unlikely) I’m going to be taking this blog in a very different direction for now.

As it turns out I’ve failed the two courses I enrolled in this past semester. This has got me thinking about what I dream about doing. I’m not talking about a career or a dream job. I’m talking about my personal dream. The real reason I became a Historian and an Art Historian was not because I was interested in the subjects. I do have interest, and I do love history and art. I probably love them more now than when I began. However, the truth of my major was the difficulty I had trying to follow my first choice out of high school: Mechanical Engineering.

I thought that I could get around my problem with math, by becoming a historian and building reproductions and replicas of machines with modern methods and materials. Essentially what I wanted to do with engineering, except that I would’ve been better qualified. In truth this plan is flawed, even if I did get the job that allowed me to reproduce machines, I would be unable to do any serious research and get the word out to engineers. Because who would I be? Just a historian.

I’m sick of it. I’m tired of worrying about what everyone else will think. I’m going to take matters into my own hands and do what I want to do with my life.

How many of the great pioneers had professional training? Samuel Morse, who was trained to be an artist, built the telegraph. Michael Faraday was the son of a blacksmith and apprenticed to be a book binder. He discovered magnetic induction and gave the world the electromagnetic motor. Thomas Edison started out selling newspapers on train cars. Benjamin Franklin was a run-away-from-home apprentice in a print shop.

The truth? Greatness is not determined by a pretty diploma on a wall. It is determined by the spirit of the individual.

“I learned this, at least, by my experiment: that if one advances confidently in the direction of his dreams, and endeavors to live the life which he has imagined, he will meet with a success unexpected in common hours. He will put some things behind, he will pass an invisible boundary; new, universal, and more liberal laws will begin to establish themselves around and within him; or the old laws will be expanded and interpreted in his favor in a more liberal sense, and he will live with the license of a higher order of beings. In proportion as he simplifies his life, the laws of the universe will appear less complex, and solitude will not be solitude, nor poverty poverty, nor weakness weakness. If you have built castles in the air, your work need not be lost; that is where they should be. Now put the foundations under them.” -Henry David Thoreau, Walden, Conclusion.

It is high time I started building those foundations.

Welcome, 2010.


Steps Forward

Posted in Uncategorized on November 6, 2009 by lucumconlucare

So it’s been a few weeks since my last post. Things have been a bit busy. However I haven’t given up and I’ve started looking at another book, this one published in 1983, titled “Reading and Writing Poetry: Successful Approaches for the Student and Teacher.”

Overall I’ve found this book to be a lot more insightful than the last one. However, the usefulness of this insight remains to be seen. The book starts out with the opinions of several poets on the act of writing poetry. The authors assure that these people are experts and that we as readers should take their opinions as sage wisdom. Yet, after reading several accounts I’m not very impressed. Most of them are a perhaps a bit too subjective for me. The poets seem to dislike life, and have a poor view of people who are not fellow practitioners of the art. I didn’t find this particularly welcoming to the novice.

On the positive, I think I’ve identified a current that runs through all of the different accounts on what makes good poetry. All of them in one way or another mention creative energies of some sort. They get inspirations from colours, scenes, or studies of other poets. One of the perspectives gave a list of things that every poet should be familiar with, and this prominently featured an understanding of at least one form of traditional magic. I decided to go and investigate numerology.

I picked up another book, “Numerology: Or What Pythagoras Wrought.” the author is a Doctor of Mathematics and a professor of the same. He doesn’t look kindly on the subject of numerology, but provides a lot of very well researched information as to its history; Pythagoras and his cult featuring prominently. I’ve also gleaned some knowledge about a German form of poetry that was popular in the 18th century called “Paragrams.” Essentially it is poetry based around Gematria. The ancient Greek number notation system which gave each letter of the alphabet a different number value. I think that this sort of poetry may be right up my alley. It’s history oriented, it’s related to mathematics, and it may be fun. The bibliography gives details of a book published in 1991 pertaining to paragrams. I will certainly get it interlibrary loaned.

All said, I think that it is more important for me as a beginner to learn about the mechanics of poetry before I delve into the “meanings” of things. I’ll continue my investigations and keep you posted.

Thank you for reading.

Hello world!

Posted in Uncategorized on October 19, 2009 by lucumconlucare

Welcome to Enchiridia.

I’m Lucum Conlucare, and I’m a junior year university student studying History and Art History. I decided to record some observations and research here that I’m doing into the world of poetry. As a novice art historian I’ve realized over the course of my recent semesters how much depth there is to the visual arts. After checking out a few textbooks on poetry and asking around, I soon discovered that if anything, what defined a poem was far more complex and subtle than I’d guessed.

The first book I checked out was a textbook/manual authored by Mr. Brian Moon. Moon writes that poetry is a human activity. Much like building a house or playing a sport. Humans have and probably will continue to do poetry for whatever reason for many years to come. When I put this idea forward in a discussion with some friends of mine they were shocked. “Poetry is more than an activity, it is an outpouring of feeling.” Which I do admit I’d thought for the longest time. I think both opinions are true. But those opinions are related to popular paradigm shifts in the world of poetry.

Moon breaks up the history of the poem into four major eras. The first era was that of classical poetry. Here poets like Homer relate tales of heroism and morality through their verses. Poets were seen as imitators of life, for good or for ill. The next major change of perspective came about with advent of Romanticism. Here poets like Wordsworth were held in high esteem. The poet was a messenger of the human spirit. He was supposed to move the emotions of mankind. Immediately following came the New Critical View. Which understood poetry to be a composition, much like visual art. The poet was seen as a craftsman of words. Finally, the most recent documented stage is Postconstructuralist. Unlike the New Critical, this perspective discarded the idea of a poem having a static meaning. Focus was placed on the individual words and less on the overall form of the poem. The poem was impossible to classify for everyone, since it was intended to be subjective. Poets were intellectuals and philosophers.

I think that all of these schools of though have relevant ideas. However, I find that romantic and postconstructuralist are the most prevalent with the individuals I’ve discussed it with. On top of all that,  I think I need to check out more books and get some different opinions. I’ve only learned what a poem is by definition. Not very much about how poets are supposed to actually craft poems.

I’ll keep searching. Anything I find I will add here. Thanks for reading!