Modernist poetry

I don't get. All the actual modernist poets wrote very, very good poetry and yet their legacy on contemporary poetry has been nothing but destructive. Pretty much every negative trend in the current world of poetry (e.g., contempt for order and structure, slang and vulgarity, lack of any attempt to communicate real meaning, overt political grandstanding, obfuscation for the sake of it, etc.) traces back to the modernists. And yet Pound, Stein, Eliot, Hughes, Yeats, etc. all wrote beautiful poetry, some of the most beautiful I've ever had the pleasure to read.

What explains this?

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  1. 4 weeks ago
    Anonymous

    I don’t remember Yeats’s work being any of that but yea, Pound and Eliot ruined poetry.

    • 4 weeks ago
      Anonymous

      >I don’t remember Yeats’s work being any of that
      Fair, I'd have to go back and read, I remember it being highly abstract and difficult to interpret though
      >Pound and Eliot ruined poetry.
      But they were still good, no? That's the part that confuses me. They were good but they ruined poetry.

  2. 4 weeks ago
    Anonymous

    What's so hard to understand? Lack of formalism means mediocrities can't rest in the security of explicit instruction which leaves only genius with the wherewithal to surprise and enthrall, and genius is ever in short supply.

    • 4 weeks ago
      Anonymous

      Frick. You're right. I think the reason I couldn't understand is because I am one of the mediocre midwits you speak of.

      • 4 weeks ago
        Anonymous

        Don't be hard on yourself when it is simply gratuitous. And you should never attempt any venture with such an attitude, otherwise you may seal your own fate before fate itself has set.

        • 4 weeks ago
          Anonymous

          Thanks anon, I appreciate the wisdom

  3. 4 weeks ago
    Anonymous

    >contempt for order and structure
    not contempt! most of them could do structure. yeats’s “when you were old” just off the top of my head
    >slang and vulgarity
    you mean like robbie burns, and john donne?
    >overt political grandstanding
    that’s just because politics has replaced religion. poets were always known for writing corny shit about jesus now it’s Fentanyl Floyd

    • 4 weeks ago
      Anonymous

      Pound would have made for a much better example than Yeats because everything Yeats does of that nature he does threefold.

      Yeah I didn't have a picture of Pound on hand, that's my bad. This was meant to be about the modernists in general, but Pound, Eliot, and Stein were the main figures I had in mind.

    • 4 weeks ago
      Anonymous

      >you mean like robbie burns, and john donne?
      Not the Op, but 'vulgar topics', if you consider Donne's as such, is clearly not the same as just using prosaic language with people saying stuff like 'frick mate she was right good'.

      • 4 weeks ago
        Anonymous

        None of the major modernists wrote about sex like that. That style was mostly a vulgarized Celine filtered through the beat generation and american culture in general. Or Henry Miller, who is really just a bargain bin Celine.

        • 4 weeks ago
          Anonymous

          >None of the major modernists wrote about sex like that.
          Never said they did, and their use of language, even extremely casual language at times (I'm thinking particularly of Pound), was used with great intelligence and beauty. But you can clearly see how someone could claim that they introduced vulgar every-day life into poetry, with all the awful self-proclaimed 'poets' coming after them, just using their stupid voices as if the voice meant nothing and as if that is how poetry is supposed to sound now.

          • 4 weeks ago
            Anonymous

            Thank you for verbalizing something that I (OP) was having difficulty with. The examples I gave weren't so much accusations against the modernists as they were accusations against contemporary poets. I just think the seeds of these trends very much originated in the experimentation and convention-breaking of the modernists.

          • 4 weeks ago
            Anonymous

            You're completely right. We all have to start somewhere and I'm glad to see someone sincerely interested in poetry, going through the exact same things I went through when I first became interested in it. If you're interested, I found Wagner's aesthetical writings to be a very useful framework for understanding art.

          • 4 weeks ago
            Anonymous

            I'm probably not smart enough for those writings tbh, but feel free to drop the titles and I'll try to take a look!

          • 4 weeks ago
            Anonymous

            The Music of the Future, German Art and German Politics, Beethoven, The Destiny of Opera, Actors and Singers, in that order.

          • 4 weeks ago
            Anonymous

            Thanks, anon! I'll check these out, but I might get filtered, we'll see

          • 4 weeks ago
            Anonymous

            Even if you don't understand everything, you'll get a lot out of it and will recognise many of the aesthetic concepts in modernist literature. Modesty is the best possible virtue when learning a subject.

          • 4 weeks ago
            Anonymous

            Also here's the link:

            https://imslp.org/wiki/Richard_Wagner's_Prose_Works_(Wagner%2C_Richard)

  4. 4 weeks ago
    Anonymous

    Pound would have made for a much better example than Yeats because everything Yeats does of that nature he does threefold.

  5. 4 weeks ago
    Anonymous

    thx Mallarmé
    thx TE Hulme

    • 4 weeks ago
      Anonymous

      How is Mallarme to blame more than the other Symbolists?

      • 4 weeks ago
        Anonymous

        Crise de vers (to say nothing of his Coup de dés and Livre autism)

        • 4 weeks ago
          Anonymous

          Which is bad.. because?

          • 4 weeks ago
            Anonymous

            tbh not bad actually, but you could likewise argue he paved the way etc.

          • 4 weeks ago
            Anonymous

            In what particular ways?

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