Why is modern poetry difficult? Talk by Professor Geoff Ward

17 thoughts on “Why is modern poetry difficult? Talk by Professor Geoff Ward

  1. Sorry, but for me this lecture was a complete failure. He never really answers his own question – even if you "intuit" for him. No doubt he was also oblivious that, while he was addressing his Peers in the lecture hall, he was also getting 14,000+ hits on the internet – very few of whom would be at his academic reading level and yes, that includes me. Then there was this annoying blather about the, "last time someone could've read everything." Really? Like my Uncle Harry's 28 year old grocery list? Well of course not that ! So he doesn't really mean everything, he means those reads that others would say "really matter," although he's too coy to fess up to that himself – or even better to list them. That would've been helpful. He goes on at length about one Jeremy Prim(sp,? sorry) and what a mentor he was. But he comes to this man's lectures asking the same questions I was asking when I came to hear Ward and I never hear the answer, do I ? I get the idea that Prim(sp.) is lecturing over the student's heads but at least THEY had a syllabus and meetings and a final exam that had to test your knowledge of something – and thereby give you a lead of sorts. None of this from Prof. Ward. I do not doubt his sensitivity or his expertise. He looks like a nice guy! But if I want to watch some teacher practice deliberate obfuscation and mutter vague, inscrutable anecdotes I'll just go watch any Kung Fu movie; they've had that cliché down for years. "You must contemplate, Grasshopper."

  2. What is meant by difficult? What is difficult to me is the need for a certain type of bio in order to be considered a serious poet.

  3. Personally, I do not consider Modern Poetry difficult. It is just the angle we look at it. I believe that,​ firstly, we should read it when we are young; secondly when we are in our middle age and thirdly when we are old or on death bed. Just like the novels of Leo Tolstoy. Every time, our point of view of Modern Poetry will be different (I would say more refined).

  4. Dressed as a pontifical don, Prof Geoff disarms you with his lightness of touch while dispensing a wealth of knowledge about the infinite variety of poetry. His style, despite the formidable sheaf of notes on the lectern, is not unlike that of a fleet-footed sherpa escorting you to the sunlit uplands of Mt Helicon and Parnassus while regaling you with the lore of the flora and fauna on either side of the precarious trail. More of Prof Geoff Ward on youtube and podcasts ! He serves you a wholesome libation that makes you thirstier for the heady Hippocrene.

  5. An excellent talk! Science and poetry do need to talk to each other, although as Terry Gifford stresses in 'Green Voices: Understanding Contemporary Nature Poetry', poetry has a responsibility to get the science right. This requires us to avoid the temptation of unquestionably accepting mavericks like Rupert Sheldrake, and being more rigorous in our scrutiny of attractive metaphors, working like scientists to test them against evidence.

  6. A compelling and fascinating talk. I still have a copy of your first slim volume, published by one Frank Whitbourn in Horsham. He was, of course, one of those brilliant English teachers who inspired his students.

  7. "I am a poet – I know it – hope I don't blow it" …Robert Zimmerman aka Bob Dylan
    Bangkok-Johnnie www.pattayatoday.net

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