October 18, 2004


I brought this to my workplace today,
Though I've no idea what it might say.
Even if they might cuss,
It's in French, so no fuss.
...But my boss is Canadian, eh?

My plan is to run away to lunch so that if there turns out to be something horribly unacceptable in some of these songs, I won't be around to get in trouble for it.

Edit: this is a really crappy limerick. What was I thinking?

Posted by dianna at October 18, 2004 12:08 PM

And according to your "rules" and "stuff" it doesn't even rhyme!

Form = Fascism

Welcome to the dark side?

Posted by: poot at October 19, 2004 08:13 AM

Yes it does. It's ungraceful and meter-iocre, but you can't say it doesn't rhyme.

Form is not fascism, it's a challenge. If you want the inherent qualities of your words to be the thing that makes your writing stand out, you can write prose. If you enjoy stewing for hours over how to squeeze your message into a few heavily constrained syllables, then it's just darned convenient that there are forms which you can use to do so. This one came out crappy because I didn't take my time over it, but that's not going to make me suddenly snap my fingers and say, "Oh my god, you're right, there's nothing fun about this at all!"

Posted by: Dianna at October 19, 2004 09:39 AM

Drat, you've seen through my master plan.

And drat, you're right, there *are* definitions of rhyme that isolate its requirements to the terminal phoenetic sounds. This begs the question, however, of just how permissive the rule can become.

Incidentally, I stumbled across a fascinating definition of rhyme that belongs in the "what crawled up whose ass now?" bin. I thought I would share it with the rest of the class:

" 2. (Pros.) Correspondence of sound in the terminating words or syllables of two or more verses, one succeeding another immediately or at no great distance. The words or syllables so used must not begin with the same consonant, or if one begins with a vowel the other must begin with a consonant. The vowel sounds and accents must be the same, as also the sounds of the final consonants if there be any."

Translation: "I used to get beat up ALL THE TIME in school and now I make schoolchildren cry when they violate my rules of rhyme, especially the big dumb ones. The big dumb kids. Not the big dumb rules. Er, I mean.... ."

By the way, I'm surprised by your implication that the inherent worth of poetry is isolated to success in cleverly adhering to form. I'm of the opinion that poetry sucks definitionally so perhaps I shouldn't presume, but I didn't peg you as a poetry-Nietszchean.

I will forever be your Dostoevsky, nipping at your heels.

Posted by: poot at October 19, 2004 12:06 PM

I'm with D-Money here. Constraints, even arbitrary ones, make things interesting, like when the
White Stripes record an album using only pre-1965 equipment, or that improv game where your lines all have to be a certain number of syllables, or Vincent Van Gogh spotting all of the other painters an ear and still kicking their asses. Rhyming is easy, unless you're Anthony Kiedis.

Posted by: sean at October 19, 2004 12:15 PM

Sean, I think you've unintentionally captured my opinion of the whole thing quite nicely.

The idea of Van Gogh, primarily known as a painter if I'm not mistaken, "spotting" his competition AN EAR, is a beautiful image, perfectly encapsulating the inherent ridiculousness of self-imposed constraints. So what if it isn't true? It's art!

Your imagery also saved me from having to conjure up some vulgar and disgusting analogy- for instance, fostering in one's self a sense of accomplishment by only masturbating with one's off-hand. Thank you for sparing me that indignity.

In order to feign a continuation of something resembling a substantive debate, allow me to proffer the following: a lack of limitations presents far more of a challenge for one who seeks to create something of quality, especially where art is concerned. Forging concrete criteria for success or failure in art is something of a copout.

Posted by: poot at October 21, 2004 05:32 AM

Counter-argument: the measure of failure or success is not whether you've followed the concrete criteria. The measure of success is still the elegance of your finished product; the concrete criteria only serve, as I suggested before, to make the process of creating it more delightfully challenging.

Posted by: Dianna at October 21, 2004 07:58 AM

I always enjoy it when people completely miss sarcasm, and then write long paragraphs treating sarcastic points as if they're serious arguments. Good thing poot isn't bound by the arbitrary constraints of reading comprehension.

Posted by: sean at October 21, 2004 05:05 PM