Tuesday, October 04, 2016

The Raw and the Cooked

Another thought-provoking Thread from Alfred Corn:

If the most important, the most essential value of a literary text is that it tells the real, raw, unvarnished truth, free of any artifice, all you need to do is get a voice-recognition program, speak your truth into it, transcribe, and publish it. To hell with your writing courses or even reading other authors with the idea of modeling yourself on all those "monuments of unaging intellect." Just speak into the mic.
You, Okla Elliott, Surazeus Simon Seamount and 14 others

Shakila Khalje Tempted hugely.

Billy Mack Mcbride A problem I have with the Gospel of Truth by Valentinus is that it pits truth against beauty. If I have to make a choice, beauty seems more likely, but he does not speak of happiness, which is even better than the truth or beauty.

Alfred Corn "Truth is Happiness, Happiness, Truth. That is all ye know on Earth and all ye need to know."

Billy Mack Mcbride Yes, if Keats had implied that as well, it would mean much too. If only truth was or would lead to happiness, but it cannot. That is what our imaginations are for.

Shakila Khalje As a matter of fact, all those steps discourse me to write.

Tom Thompson Yet telling our own versions of "the real, raw, unvarnished truth" can take a great deal of courage, which is no doubt one reason I ended up studying law (which takes practically no courage at all) instead of literature and writing.

Robbi Nester I don't just want to talk to myself. And I learn from interacting with others.

Billy Mack Mcbride A.J. Ayer states that thinking is another way of talking to yourself. I don't know if I agree with him though.

Shakila Khalje Law takes courage if you were meant to be a writer/poet;)

Tom Thompson Thanks. I have the sensibility of a writer/poet without, alas, the talent.

Shakila Khalje You do have the talent otherwise, a lawyer with modesty?:) yet to meet one ha ha.

Shakila Khalje One can still interact and talk to oneself;)

George Szirtes Oh Alfred, you know that is nonsense. Neither language nor speech work like that except at the crudest level. The raw truth is never raw. You'd never have written poetry - especially your poetry - if you thought that.

Alfred Corn Errr, George, I meant this post to be in the line of Swift's =A Modest Proposal=, in which it is suggested that the solution to famine in Ireland is roast babies.

George Szirtes Ah. Irony. What a strange and exotic toy!

Alfred Corn I appreciate the nice irony of that statement, George.

Graham Christian On the Road! Kerouac!

Jack Miller That is a myth, isn't it? On the Road was well planned out before K typed it.

Graham Christian Jack Miller , it just reads like something unplanned and unedited. I'm not a fan.

Mark Weiss Read it again.

Bharat Ravikumar It is a generalization, i'm afraid and does exactly what you accuse unvarnished truth of, setting an intractable standard . I find this post equally exhortatory . One can and learns always from other poets/writers .

Shakila Khalje Oh. I then belong to the nonsense society;)

On serious note; Raw can be very much polished and fine.

Alfred Corn But then it is no longer "raw". Conscious art ("polishing") has intervened.

Shakila Khalje Without it, it will be too raw for others to digest so to speak;)

We polish our rawness all the time. We learned to wrap our rawness in sweet little wraps of social norms all the time otherwise we all would be in jail...

Alfred Corn One can be in jail even when not behind bars.

Shakila Khalje True. I find myself to be one of those;)

Alfred Corn Shakila Khalje That is saddening. No one is entirely free to do anything that it might seem desirable to do. Yet almost everyone can be freer than she now is.

Billy Mack Mcbride What about Bloom's: a poem is a lie against time, against itself, against other poems?

Alfred Corn Uh-oh. I wasn't aware no one was able to detect irony in a FB post.

Gregory Woods Surely that's the first rule of FB!

Gregory Woods (Should I add a smiley-face?

Bharat Ravikumar Irony that is ironical is so joyous, irony that is hortatory scarcely so. Perhaps I should slink off to the corner to hide my unsmiling fatuousness .;) . It is the obviousness of the irony in the post that I was addressing, that operates through genera...See More

Billy Mack Mcbride

Alfred Corn Important not to get stoned and become unhenged.

Olivia Byard Alfred Corn ouch-- that's me heritage thingy!!

Brigham Taylor As Fran Leibowitz once put it: "Spilling your guts is exactly as attractive as it sounds."

Shakila Khalje Fran must have lived a very boring gutless life;)

Bill Lantry Did Yeats really mean 'intellect' there? Given the last stanza, skill seems like a better word, or craft, or techne, even though what he has rhymes nicely. As for the raw thing, how could we argue with ourselves if we're just pouring it out? ;)

Ken Fields turn on the hose

Alfred Corn The Death of the Ball Turret Gunner
Randall Jarrell, 1914 - 1965...See More

Ken Fields perfect

Olivia Byard Alfred Corn well
You cant get more raw than that, can you-- strong stuff.

Oscar Houck Well, yes. And no.

Larry Littany Litt Ruthless and truthless is the soldier's excuse.

Jack Miller This discussion opens up a review of the entire 20th C. Over and over it was an undoing. Einstein undid Newton. WWI undid the old order of European aristocracy. WWII brought chaos and untold destruction in overthrowing the law and order of Nazism and Japanese autocracy. The raw and the cooked took overwhelming forms. The atomic bomb was a destroying god, Shiva at his worst, deconstructing civilization. We have yet to realize the impact, to understand how the millennium was upended by it. The Beats were deconstructionists, using language as raw as possible to attack the literary forms of the time. Tear down, rebuild, tear down. No discipline was exempt. Look at the art of the surrealists. If the Victorians tried to will away the raw with wit and good form, hiding the passions from sight, the 20th C. ripped away the veil and showed us, as someone noted, the guts. LSD and marijuana were likewise deconstructing forces, taking away the well worn categories of the understanding. All of which leaves us with the question, what next? Have we gained wisdom or fallen back into the same quandaries as before? As I hiked Mt. Rainier this summer, I stared at its apparent eternal beauty realizing that it could so easily become an inferno of lava, an explosion, and a destroyer of life. Raw.

Olivia Byard Excellent post. If we havent learned from all that-- what I call humankind's violent adolescence-- then we wont behave like adults and save ourselves and all else from climate change. Last chance to be grown up before the earth loses patience.

Surazeus Simon Seamount When I wrote my tales of the lives of Greek philosophers, I tried to give each one their own authentic voice, complete with self-delusions, and not mine.

Stephen Pain Oh boy. I tried to get the unvarnished truth via Google translate of my youngest boy's latest vlog on youtube. It bore no resemblance to what he said in Japanese. It was a complete case of lost in translation. Having said that -- a literary text is never a bus time table. Fiction is just that. It can never purport to be telling the "unvarnished truth" or the "absolute truth".

Jesse Glass You sound like an inhabitant of another world. Alfred.

Sam Gwynn A "raw, unvarnished truth" is not the same as a "round, unvarnished tale."

Marie C. Jones Style without content is boring; content without style is boorish.

Wrexie Bardaglio Very interesting thread. Two things: seriously, is there any such thing as "raw, unvarnished truth"? And, was this just a good, meaty, intellectual prompt, or is there an intriguing backstory?

Bertha Rogers Too true, Alfred. And that's what's happening with so much self-published poetry, fiction, memoir. And there go the standards. It's very sad.

Bill Tremblay The real raw unvarnished truth? Most people want to be lied to.

Alfred Corn But not you.

Bill Tremblay Ah, Alfred, weary of time. We ask these questions over & over. What you call artifice I call decency. I do not go out every day in search of the real raw unvarnished truth because for the most part I want to be encouraging when I can. The artifice can often come by asking the question, "What's so great about being brutally honest?" 50 years ago I thought it was necessary. Now I look for balance. And to get balance you need some artifice. What is artifice but a decent concern for the sensibilities of others?

Simon Paul Augustine I want to be lied to by really good, trained, mischievous liars, so that I can begin to hear the truth. Always seek out the best liars.

Raymond Saint-Pierre Or polyurethaned?

Stephen Morrissey Yes to = "To hell with your writing courses." No to = "even reading other authors with the idea of modeling yourself on."

Joe Weil Yes! A student to me: "Professor, I don't want to read other writers. It will effect my style." Me: "I certainly hope so."

Marlon Fick Very good!

Ron Smith Memorable language--that's the essential element. Now, what makes language memorable? Well, that depends . . .

Mike New It's not easy to tell the truth, because what holds true for others, if it is true, hold true for the writer as well, and it's hard to admit how petty, selfish, ugly, and afraid we are. I re-read Flannery O'Connor's "Everything that Rises must Converge" the other day. My feeling at the end was how could Ms O'Connor have allowed herself to feel the way her characters felt and to do the things her characters did? Before we can possible tell the truth to others, we have to e able to tell it to ourselves. That's hard because our psyche tends to spin everything so that we seem good to ourselves. In a sense, we have to go against our survival instincts to tell the truth.

Ron Smith Apt that you should mention O'Connor here. When she was very sick and looking like hell, her publisher or editor said, You don't need a new jacket photo. We'll use the old one. To which she replied, it is said, No, I want one that shows exactly how I look.

Ron Smith She had more than a little of Hulga in her ("Good Country People").

Sam Gwynn The contemporary fascination on tv and other media with cooking sort of puts the lie to any "Age of Raw" claims, doesn't it? The French have been giving the rest of the world "recipes" for centuries--all the way back to the Chaîne des Rôtisseurs (1248!) and Nicolas Boileau-Despréaux (1636-1711).

Alfred Corn Salad. Gazpacho. Sashimi.

Pamela Sutton You want me to answer this question when I'm editing my forthcoming book of Poetry? During a hurricane?

Mark Weiss For god's sake close the windows!

Alfred Corn Only if you care to, Pamela.

Pamela Sutton Alfred Corn Right now I have "hurricane head": can only think of my daughter, dog, and essential manuscripts.

Alfred Corn Shall be thinking of you as the storm breaks. It too shall pass.

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