‘Delimitation’ and Other Poetry by C. B. Anderson

“Apollo” by Charles Meynier


To rhyme with correct meter within the cause
Of basic varieties is nothing anybody
Ought to derogate, but previous poetic laws
Have been usual to enshrine a method, not stun
The poet into incoherencies
By forcing words to fit a fractured sense.
Adhering blindly to a rule might freeze
Inventiveness; the pitfalls are immense.

The God of Formalism has a say,
However writers nonetheless command the worldly realm—
The world remaining somewhat gray
Is who should man the sail, and who the helm.

The only limit inescapable
Is that to which a poet’s succesful.


We’re asked to keep our distance from cliches,
from anything related to the previous,
from sentiment or any flip of phrase
which may in basic types have once been forged.

They urge us to refuse to knuckle underneath
to counterrevolutionary forces,
although we be drawn and quartered, torn asunder
by diametric literary horses.

However I might say, it’s much the higher sin
to fault a poet’s atavistic traits
than it might be to laud the self-discipline
secured inside custom’s pearly gates.

A couplet (A quatrain …)
___________completes a sonnet
(adds headroom where a mind
___________may dwell upon it.).

C.B. Anderson was the longtime gardener for the PBS television collection, The Victory Backyard.  A whole lot of his poems have appeared in scores of print and electronic journals out of North America, Great Britain, Ireland, Austria, Australia and India.  His assortment, Mortal Soup and the Blue Yonder was revealed in 2013 by White Violet Press.

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15 Responses

  1. Steve Shaffer Might 25, 2019

    Wonderful! Thanks for writing these.

    This jogs my memory of one in every of my different arts — martial arts. Individuals will complain about kata (pre-styled varieties), saying that it’s not reasonable. But one has to grasp the types earlier than one can transcend them. We will all rely and use rhyming dictionaries (or algorithms), but what really issues is figuring out when to step away from the shape for the needs of the art.

    And yet this isn’t to say that one can just skip over learning the kata and go right to the kumite (preventing) — at the very least not if one wishes to study the art.

    So, one learns to master the kata, then transcend the shape when the state of affairs calls for it.

    Or, what you stated… 🙂


    • C.B. Anderson Might 25, 2019

      Steve, I should remind myself not to decide a struggle with you if we’re physically current together. I’ve urged young poets earlier than, and I will proceed to do so: Till you’re up there with Yeats, Frost or Yankevich, pay strict consideration to the perfect guidelines of prosody. Don’t be like Icarus, however slightly emulate the Apollonian order.


  2. Joseph S. Salemi Might 25, 2019

    Each of these poems by Kip Anderson touch on hot-button points in poetry immediately. “Delimitation” points out the risks of a completely rigid adherence to excellent metrical patterns, without due consideration to the fluidities and idiomatic buildings of our language. One poet will write an iambic pentameter line that sounds perfectly natural and clean; another poet (a syllable-counter) will drive the language into some godawful contortion just to take care of a da-DUM, da-DUM, da-DUM, da-DUM, da-DUM pattern.

    Then again, “Formalities” deals with a much wider and malignant drawback: the hatred of something previous or historical or apolitical. This angle is actually totalitarian, because it holds that poets usually are not allowed to touch upon subjects if they are in any means associated with conventional Western tradition, or which rejoice it, or which decline to deal with modern politically right points.


    • C.B. Anderson Might 25, 2019

      Joe, you’re right in your analysis of what these poems imply, however I guarantee you that what you pointed out was the furthest factor from my mind once I wrote them. I’d need to look it up in my data, but I’m pretty positive that both have been written greater than a decade ago, once I was nonetheless making an attempt to figure out my place in the whole poetic process. There have been three others like this I submitted, which Evan declined to publish, however I feel he caught one of the best two.


      • Joseph S. Salemi Might 25, 2019

        Kip, that’s fascinating, as a result of once I learn them I sensed that the poems weren’t quite in your ordinary fashion. This was particularly the case within the couplet ending of the second poem, with the stepped strains.

    • Peter Hartley Might 25, 2019

      These are two nice little poems by CBA, and the second, in mild of remarks upon it made by Dr Salemi concerning the prevalent “hatred of anything old”, made me assume a bit. A number of days in the past I questioned Martin Rizley’s use of self-conscious archaisms like “betwixt” the place the extra familiar phrase “between” would do exactly the identical job. However typically unfamiliarity is usually a small worth to pay for appositeness or accuracy or the “suspension of disbelief”. And it is rather true, as anyone else has identified, that a few of our biggest poets have used the language of an earlier age, and to appreciable dramatic impact. Coleridge together with his “stoppeth”, his “eftsoons”, his “uprist”, and “Rime” in the title of his Historic Mariner definitely assist to plonk us squarely in an earlier age than the one during which he was writing. And if I have been studying a work of fiction about, say, Mary, Queen of Scots, it might only help to take care of that fiction in my mind if the text have been sprinkled with the odd phrase extra present within the sixteenth century than the twenty-first, a word reminiscent of “mislike”, for instance or “bruit”. So definitely archaisms have their place, and I need to admit to having been very tempted, more than as soon as, to make use of an o’er when slavish adherence to a ‘right” syllable rely has prevented my using an “over”. To say that the archaisms that have been the precursors and the constructing blocks of the language we use in the present day ought to be prevented altogether can be a bit like listening to Tracey Emin eschew the achievements of the Renaissance as previous hat. As properly she might.


      • C.B. Anderson Might 25, 2019

        Peter, I too have typically shrunk from using archaic phrases, and I try to use them only when the context is acceptable, although “o’er” is perhaps seen simply as a natural contraction. Saving the meter isn’t the worst factor on the planet, particularly when so many individuals don’t care or simply can’t discover ways to do it. Alas, for a few of those who touch upon this website, metrical imprecision is a signal that true poetry is being written, to which I say “phooey.” Show me a nasty poem written by Richard Wilbur or Anthony Hecht the place the meter was as exact as might be. The difference is, they appeared long and exhausting, and came up with methods to perform all their goals, whereas compromising nothing, thus avoiding the “da-dum” syndrome adverted to by Dr. Salemi above. Yes, typically poems appear to arise out of nothing, full-fledged, however most often it takes quite a lot of effort to supply one thing that appears effortless to the reader.

  3. James A. Tweedie Might 26, 2019

    My four tips for utilizing archaisms:

    1. I don’t use them in a poem that is set within the modern world.
    2 I do not use one merely to unravel a random metrical problem;
    three. If used, I exploit them persistently all through the poem with at the least a passing nod to right Elizabethan grammar and syntax (i.e. thee/singular, you/plural, and so forth.)
    four. The exception can also be a rule once I intentionally and self-consciously use an archaism for an impact that additional’s the poem’s higher function.

    Word: Not all archaisms are archaisms. Many quaintly-sounding phrases still exist in our modern vocabulary; phrases reminiscent of “apace,” “perchance,” “fray” (as in “fight”), “wherefore,” anon,” “oft,” “alas,” “yen” “ken” (as in to know–nonetheless used commonly in Scotland) and “fancy” (as in “to desire”) to call a couple of. Words of this type might be helpful in adding depth and substance to a poem with out essentially turning it into an Elizabethan parody.


  4. David Watt Might 26, 2019

    We are lucky that you’ve a retailer of poems to draw from, further to those poems written more just lately. The fact that these are greater than a decade previous brings to mind the worth of formal poetry-that it might stand the check of time, and nonetheless have something relevant to say, even with the passing of years.


    • C.B. Anderson Might 28, 2019

      Thanks, David, although I need to say that a decade could be very small compared to centuries. What I did then, I do now, and I hope it pleaseth both myself and the reader. What extra may be asked?


  5. Joseph S. Salemi Might 26, 2019

    Peter Hartley’s feedback about archaic or obsolete usages touch upon something necessary. Older contractions like “e’en” or “o’er”, or certain words which might be not in widespread foreign money, aren’t really what the argument is about. As poets, we do have the best to make use of whatever vocabulary gadgets we wish, if they appear applicable to the poem at hand. The rationale for this is that English, like some other well-established language, isn’t just English as spoken in the present day. It’s a treasure home of ALL English, way back to the history of the language goes, and we’ve the cultural and artistic right to make use of whatever we find in that treasure house. All that matters is that we use it properly, and effectively.

    But the arguments of our enemies in modernism and mainstream free verse are based mostly on the false concept that “English” solely means English as spoken at the moment, by the lowest widespread denominator of the semi-educated. For them, any phrase or construction or idiom that is not usually current simply doesn’t exist, and have to be banned from poetic usage. I have heard persons object to using the preposition “upon,” because one doesn’t normally hear it in speech, or the subjunctive temper in verbs, as a result of the typical individual not uses or understands it.

    It’s one factor to dislike “e’en,” or “betwixt,” if they are used merely as a way of displaying off, or posturing poetically. Too many of us right here seem to try this. But our modernist enemies are against ALL FORMS OF ENGLISH which are in any approach strange, uncommon, unusual, or just not part of the psychological gear of a community-college graduate. Don’t give me an argument about this — I’ve been within the po-biz world for too many many years to not have listened to the generalized guidelines which are drummed into young poets by their workshop masters and their on-line buddies. The slightest trace of archaism, or recondite vocabulary, will get you a ton of brickbats from the Plain Language Police.


  6. Sally Prepare dinner Might 26, 2019

    Too typically we overlook that art of any sort shouldn’t be all blossoms and butterflies. To make any type of successful poem or painting there should first be intent.
    Second, what you assemble should, like a sturdy building, have a skeletal construction, to make it stand. That may be found in type, or design. From there, the fun is to use a selected flesh to the shape.

    Many assume that art have to be straightforward, spontaneous, and enjoyable. This can be because any nice musician, author or visual artist makes what they do look straightforward.

    Reading an awesome poem provides one a way of inevitability – the poem could not have been written some other method. Through similar goes for a terrific portray.

    These are larger points that always get put apart as we search to know why some do what they do. I consider that many merely do not perceive their objective, or tips on how to attain it, but as Dr. Salemi typically says, poetry is a fictive art. Preserving this in mind also retains one on monitor to a successful completion of a coherent poem; one which carries the message succinctly. Mr. Anderson is one who achieves this most of the time.


  7. Joseph S. Salemi Might 26, 2019

    Truly, Sally, I want to say that poetry is a type of “fictive mimesis,” in that it presents us with a feigned and imaginative version of life and experience, relatively than a scrupulously trustworthy cinema-verite version of what you “really” really feel,” or what “really” happened.

    When potential college students inform me that they need to write poems that “tell it like it is,” or that “give the real truth” about their experiences, I refuse them permission to sign up in my class. I know they will be hopeless instances.


    • C.B. Anderson Might 26, 2019

      Oh, Joe, you’re such a cruel authoritarian, who dares to talk the patent fact! God forbid that the least feather of any undergraduate be ruffled in the slightest method.


  8. Monty Might 29, 2019

    I’ve only just noticed these, CB: what a cuppla little gems they are. Especially the primary one . . a trendy poem about find out how to write trendy poetry. And the way disciplined and economical of you to handle in 14 words what’d certainly take me 500 to get off my chest: “.. not stun the poet into incoherencies by forcing words to fit a fractured sense.” – in a nutshell.
    And analogies don’t come any better than: “.. who should man the sail, and who the helm.” – in relating to the ‘coherency versus meter-fitting’ dilemma. Nicely captured, CB.
    The poem’s very concept one way or the other places me in thoughts of a masterpiece on these pages last yr: ‘The Composition Teacher Addresses His Class’.

    In the second piece: I just like the clear assertion you make within the third stanza; it is indeed “the greater sin”. Properly thought . . and nicely defended.
    I wish I might say that I understand the which means of the ultimate couplet within the scheme of the poem . . but I can’t. It don’t matter.

    Still relating to the 2nd piece: the “pickiness” in me (as you latterly put it) couldn’t assist noticing that the phrases “would be” in line 11 could be better if replaced with an ‘is’, to take care of the current tense with the ‘it’s’ (or ‘it is’) in line 9.. as in:
    ‘IT IS much the greater sin to fault a poet’s atavistic traits than IT IS to laud the discipline . . ‘. “it would be” is in the future tense, is it not?

    And one additional “pick”, albeit a minute and private one: I promise you sincerely that I might never and might by no means write “counterrevolutionary” with out placing a hyphen between the TWO phrases. Not solely ‘cos I feel that it’s fit and correct to do so; but in addition to avoid the visual imbalance – which such a disproportionate quantity of unbroken letters exudes – when wanting on the entire stanza as a bit of visible art.

    General, I’d say that each of those well-written pieces are a noble and impassioned defence of ‘real’ poetry. Bien Joué.


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