I believe modern poetry is in terrible shape, and its low popularity is the appropriate, deserved result of its decline as an art form.
I mean poetry of the type that properly educated poets write these days: as few words as possible, little meter and almost no rhyme, impressionistic, often ungrammatical, almost always aggressively pointless. I mean measly secretions like this, rated the fifth best original poem ever posted on reddit:
Had the worst dream today.
I almost didn’t get out of bed.
Why the hell is it getting worse?
Is it possible I am depressed, or am I just overthinking things?
I don’t know if I’m depressed or not.
What’s an official diagnosis?
I think of drivel like this as the polar opposite of my favorite poet, Rudyard Kipling. He likes to go on a bit longer than necessary, he uses rhyme and meter and usually repeats phrases or entire lines to create more structure, has an explicit narrative and a coherent language and always a clearly discernible point. He is also basically the reason I write poetry. I’ve been writing poems since some Kipling poems in German translations of the “The Jungle Book” and “The Second Jungle Book” were so amazing when I was about 7 years old. Continue reading
In the USA alone, every day, a lucky 10,000 people hear of Richard Dawkins for the first time.
Statistically, you know about Richard Dawkins already, so I won’t go into the vast list of accomplishments he has contributed to the world. I’d rather focus on how his great poetic skill and his scientific work have contributed much to the Seven Secular Sermons. Continue reading
You might think that a very long poem that describes the natural laws of the universe to demonstrate how supernaturalism is unnecessary is a novel idea. It’s not.
Around 2070 years ago, probably in or near Rome, a poet and philosopher named Titus Lucretius Carus spent years writing a truly spectacular poem: De rerum natura. The title is commonly translated as On the Nature of Things. This epic poem describes a naturalistic worldview and explains how all sorts of physical, biological, social and mental phenomena are made of atoms – 18 centuries before this was widely accepted. It makes a vague but correct guess at natural selection 19 centuries before Darwin. Before Christianity was even invented, this poem said that if gods exist, they’re made out of atoms and don’t care about us. It is classic epic poetry in dactylic hexameter and about half as long as the Iliad. Its rediscovery is credited with ending the Middle Ages.