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Relevant Art


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Posted

Three Questions:

1) What does it mean for a work of art to be relevant?

2) Why is poetry, which is being written in more copious quantities than ever before and studied in universities to an unprecedented degree, read by very few who aren’t practicing poets or academics?

3) Are the answers to the first two questions related?

I think many people would answer question 3 with a resounding ‘yes’-- but there would be considerable variation in their answers to question 1. And, as there is no shortage today of poets trying their hardest to be relevant, it could be that those answers are where the trouble lies. Or else the better answer to question 3 is actually ‘no’, and poetry owes its marginal status as an art to other factors.

All three questions are interesting ones-- of personal interest, for me-- but for the moment, what concerns me is question 1. This thread is for exploring that question, and the ways it might be answered. :)

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Posted

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Posted

You think a little thing like that is going to discourage artists? :lol:

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Posted

:mrgreen:

Another way of looking at the relevance of poetry in the 20th century and onwards is the transition from a print media of the 19th century to an image-centric media by the middle of the 20th century. Once we moved from newspapers to television, our forms of media changed, and made us less open to forms of print like poetry. :sadcheer:

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Posted

:mrgreen:

Another way of looking at the relevance of poetry in the 20th century and onwards is the transition from a print media of the 19th century to an image-centric media by the middle of the 20th century. Once we moved from newspapers to television, our forms of media changed, and made us less open to forms of print like poetry. :sadcheer:

Your post reminds me of this:

« Nos lectrices nous pardonneront de nous arrêter un moment pour chercher quelle pouvait être la pensée qui se dérobait sous ces paroles énigmatique de l’archidiacre: Ceci tuera cela Le livre tuera l’édifice. »

(Translation: Victor Hugo apologizes for Notre-Dame de Paris’s chapter-long digression on the rise of the written word and the subsequent decline of architecture.) :heh:

But, after all, we still have architecture, and print media are still capable of things visual media aren’t—if writers would actually play to their medium’s strengths. There have been poets trying to imitate spoken English in their verse for close to a century now, when that’s something prose is always going to be better at. :doh: And I’ve read more than one contemporary novel that gave the impression of desperately wanting to be a movie, and so, I thought, not being that good of a novel.

I think a lot of this is unconscious; watching movies habituates people to thinking cinematically, even when they’re writing. But some of it is ideological—I know it is with the poets—and comes from a desire to be relevant. They’re taking their lesson from live forms of media, but it’s the wrong lesson.

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Posted

"Unless art exemplifies beauty, which is objective, it is irrelevant." -Roger Scruton

True story.

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Posted

Scruton is, as usual, full of crap.

Beauty is cultural contextual, and therefore, any art work beholden to the values of beauty cannot be universal - merely historically and culturally contingent. Scroton should know this - for example, the ancient Greek virility was embodied in the scrotum, i.e., the balls, as opposed to the modern fixation on the male penis. :deal:

But I'm interested in what Scroton has to say about poetry's relevance, though.

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Posted

I thought on this for all of about 10 seconds...but, I wonder if the reason that there are lots of poets that aren't recognized is that the written art is much younger than the visual arts on the evolutionary scale.

Words do not work well for me, I miss the meaning in poetry all of the time and it doesn't flow in my brain.

This is of course my failing, so on the evolutionary scale, those that can write fantastic poetry are higher on the evolutionary scale. ;)

-Scott

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Posted

Or you could have it both ways, according to Baudelaire. :yup:

“Beauty is made up of an eternal, invariable element, whose quantity it is excessively difficult to determine, and of a relative, circumstantial element, which will be, if you like, whether severally or all at once, the age, its fashions, its morals, its emotions. Without this second element, which might be described as the amusing, enticing, appetizing icing on the divine cake, the first element would be beyond our powers of digestion or appreciation, neither adapted nor suitable to human nature.”

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