Home   |  Issues  |  The Daily Star Home

 

The Different Poets

Many flinch at the mention of 'poetry', throw back with derisive laughter, or at least make an inane remark about how boring poetry is. But poetry does not always have to be the overflow of emotions that some people think it is. It can be experimented with, adding twists and styles. In fact, many poets have broken the rules of syntax and metres, and deviated from the conventional style. These poets have been idiosyncratic with their work, throwing away norms and still capturing the essence of poetry - expression of feelings. These poets are known as the modernist poets.

The exact time when a certain trend starts is always difficult to pin down, and modernism crept into poetry during the 20th century, when some poets came up with innovative ways to express their thoughts. Before World War I, some modernist poems were written, but modernism really flourished after the war. Modernist poets studied and understood the rules of poetry, and experimented with them to create something which was their own. These poets bothered less about whether the general people could decipher their writing, and instead followed their heart. Their writing was fragmented, and reading them felt more like being in the poet's head itself rather than the poet explaining his thoughts. These poets were often surrealists, and their poetry was not about the material world that they saw. Rather, this kind of poetry was deep, and anti-realistic. Modernist poems were often very vivid, consisting of images or hallucinations, and tended to be satirical.

One of the leading poets of modernism was Ezra Pound. The most famous of his poems is possibly “In a Station of the Metro”. This poem was written in the 'haiku' style, and consists of just two lines

“The apparition of these faces in the crowd;

Petals on a wet, black bough.”

This poem was initially thirty lines long, and the end result turned out to be so much shorter. As with other modernist poems, this poem is difficult to understand, meaning something only to the poet himself. Other significant works of his include Homage to Sextus Propertius and The Cantos.

T.S Eliot, the American born poet was another important figure of modernism. His poem 'The Waste Land' is a perfect example of intellectualism. It is difficult to gather, and is written in four different languages. This poem is not for the average person, but T.S Eliot's other works, such as Old Possum's Book of Practical Cats, are light and can be enjoyed by everyone.

The other poet, Edward Estlin Cummings did the most experiment with his work. His poems often omitted punctuation, and added words together, or made formations and images across the page, or used wordplay like

“deeds cannot dream what dreams can do
-time is a tree (this life one leaf)
but love is the sky and I am for you
just so long and long enough”

Other modernist poets include Gertrude Stein, Wallace Stevens and Marianne Moore, and modernism later on evolved to form postmodernism, which was a similar kind of poetry. Many modern poems are written in this style, and some of the lighter poems of this form are written by recent poets like Shel Silverstein and Ogden Nash. Modernism was a movement, not only in literature but also in the visual arts. It was a way of life after the WWI, and the hub of modernism was Paris, where many eminent writers of The Lost Generation gathered to swap ideas which shaped current poetry.

By Anashua


Adaptation

Everyone who's ever had a job where hierarchy plays part knows this. When your colleague gets promoted, you suddenly see certain changes come over him. Not too evident at first, but soon the changes increase and expand until all your other colleagues notice as well, and then he's the topic of those half-minute elevator conversations. Newbies, the ones who have been around him just long enough, detect the transformation first, but you catch on quick enough. Based on actual observations by and within our very own RS team, we bring you the greatest symptoms of… The Change.

Loving the Chinese This is one of the less obvious symptoms. Your colleague, as in higher-up, will suddenly begin to show support for the Chinese government and the communist system as a whole. He'll start ranting about China's success and showering the government's methods with praise. He'll also bring your own country's government into the conversation, and begin comparison. In such a case, listen for a revered tone and watch out for a crazed look in his eyes. The blinking red sign above his head says: DANGER.

Developing a tendency to fire people Not that he actually starts firing people; he just starts with the threats. Anything goes remotely wrong, he wants to fire someone. Doesn't matter who. He's fine with it as long as someone gets the boot. Maybe he hopes it's his boss, so he can move further up the chain of power.

Censoring fanpage Or whatever it is you use to express your opinions on your work. It's not exactly part of his job description, but being in a seat of power, he feels as though it is. He must adhere to the strictest rules that did not exist before his time, and hence make you wonder at the abrupt birth of a rulebook, without even an incubation period.

Staring at people and expecting them to cower This point seems pretty self-explanatory.

Claiming the red chair There is usually a chair in your office that stands out from the rest. It could be an armchair or a beanbag among cheap plastic chairs, a revolving chair among a troop of plain ones, or a red armchair among black, plain, plastic chairs. He wants that chair. No one else can sit there. It's just a way of ensuring everyone knows he's a little more special now.

Getting a crew-cut Now it's getting serious. He's going military. Watch out people: the crew-cut symbolises a lot of things, the least of which being a shot at dictatorship. For whatever reason he does it, this is a sign of a growing Hitlerian mindset. Run while you still can.

Need for affiliation with boss This isn't the same thing as sucking up. He will seek a stronger bond with his immediate higher-up; whether this is an effort to sabotage said higher-up or he does it just for the heck of it is, as of yet, unknown. For whatever reason, it is a symptom seen in every power-crazed colleague.

Shouting orders Your usually calm and quiet colleague may suddenly take a liking to yelling at you. Don't get upset; this is perfectly normal during The Change. Once again, he is establishing his new position as your superior, and the sooner you yield, the less you'll have to suffer watching him try to repeat the performance.

Unfounded threats of violence You know they're pointless and he knows they're pointless. He knows he'll never be able to carry them out. Yet he will insist on threatening you with violence he isn't capable of. It's not something to smile at, 'cause that will only make him try harder, and Lord knows you've both suffered enough.

The Hitler complex may last from several months to years, or till the time you get promoted as well. Depending on your relationship with the colleague, The Change can be annoying or fun for you to observe. Don't try to prevent it from happening. Your efforts will be in vain. The Change is a way of adapting to a new setting, a phase waiting to get out of his system. So bear with it and remember that you would probably have experienced the same.

By Professor Spork


 

home | Issues | The Daily Star Home

2010 The Daily Star