Image result for abstract painting black heart

As one who loves science and prose meaning,

I defend poetry in this way:

A poem doesn’t have anything to say

Except that it seems profound

Merely on account of its sound.

Poetry experimented long ago

With utterance as a way to know,

As sound which helps us know where to go,

As sound which is beautiful, and can see,

With sound, you hiding in silence,

Alone, unloved, and without science.

A poet is a piece of curiosity

Who asks, did God make a sound? Did you love me?




  1. February 7, 2018 at 9:30 pm

    I heard that the TV series ‘The Walking Dead’ was going to have a special on poetry. Is this true?

    • thomasbrady said,

      February 7, 2018 at 10:06 pm

      I never watch that show. But fans do write Walking Dead poetry—I just googled ‘walking dead on poetry’ and lo and behold you can read some pretty good ‘zombie poems…’

  2. Mr. Woo said,

    February 7, 2018 at 11:55 pm

    Possum Poetry…Is it dead? or just playing?

    • February 9, 2018 at 2:39 am

      Possums play dead so they won’t be eaten. Unfortunately, nobody wants to eat the poetry possum anymore.

  3. noochinator said,

    February 9, 2018 at 11:45 am

    Here’s a good from-beyond-the-grave poem written in 1984 by a Boston-based poet — a working-class love story without any sentimentalism:


  4. maryangeladouglas said,

    February 13, 2018 at 8:19 am

    Lack of sentiment is a good part of what caused people to turn away from modern poetry.

    • noochinator said,

      February 13, 2018 at 10:08 am

      It has much true sentiment, but no sentimentalism — there’s a big difference between the two.

      Drew, check out this video setting of a Roxy Music classic — the creator used video from a great Fellini film, Toby Damnit:

    • maryangeladouglas said,

      February 13, 2018 at 10:52 am

      I stand by my remark.

      • February 13, 2018 at 7:20 pm

        Bingo, Mary!

        • maryangeladouglas said,

          February 15, 2018 at 5:37 am

          Well and I think and I thought when I first realized it in the Norton Anthology of Poetry WHO ARE THEY TO DECIDE NOT ONLY WHAT POETRY CONTAINS BUT WHAT MAKES A HUMAN BEING HUMAN because far more than changing what poetry should be they were at the same time forbidding us by implication to be “sentimental” ever after making it some kind of not thought crime, but feeling crime. AND WHO ARE THEY, WERE THEY TO DO THIS ALL THE SCORES OF CRITICS AND ACADEMICS WHO DECREED THIS. How could they EVER have that much power.

          • maryangeladouglas said,

            February 15, 2018 at 5:40 am

            Further I think that in the novels of Charles Dickens you can see the perfection of a sentimentalism which also involves pure sentiment as well as realism as well as a tremendous grasp of the individual and eccentric possibilities of the soul and of human types. So that shows the big lie that its realism vs. sentimentalism. Because Dickens was at heart a sentimental novelist who also incorporated these other things which were truly one and the same. But you know. Divide and conquer. Separate the elements out make up a big lie and dine out regularly on being the new avant gard and hopefully no one will ever notice how sloppy the premise was in the first place. Just because Ernest Hemingway and possibly the World War I poets and the Lost Generation in Paris all decided it was more modish to be bitter.

            • Mr. Woo said,

              February 15, 2018 at 12:01 pm

              Mary, funny you should bring up Dickens and I quite agree with you. I just finished reading “Hard Times” last night! Here’s the opening three sentences, from the mouth of Mr. Thomas Gradgrind:

              “Now, what I want is, Facts. Teach these boys and girls nothing but Facts. Facts alone are wanted in life. Plant nothing else, and root out everything else.”

              And of course you go on to see how his system, mode of being, woefully prepares him and his children for the world.

              I love Dickens, and he makes me laugh out loud. Also, if there’s a better novelist writing today I’ll eat my hat, I say!

  5. noochinator said,

    February 13, 2018 at 12:03 pm

    Here’s a link to lots more poetry by Lloyd Schwartz, native New Yorker, Boston-based, Elizabeth Bishop scholar, Pulitzer Prize winner, etc.:


  6. Desdi said,

    February 13, 2018 at 2:55 pm

    Roxy/Fellini drew me right in !
    Never saw this film though . . .

    • noochinator said,

      February 13, 2018 at 4:52 pm

      The movie is great, only about 30 minutes long — part of a trilogy called Spirits of the Dead. I think it’s Fellini’s best, it’s short enough so that his fondness for grotesquerie doesn’t outstay its welcome.


  7. thomasbrady said,

    February 13, 2018 at 10:27 pm

    Toby Dammit is one of Poe’s stranger characters.

    Sentimentalism—in which good is immediately apparent, which joins people together, which combats cynicism and pedantry—was admired. and only with the dawn of Modernism in the early 20th century did it come under attack.

    Feelings are invoked by a poet—or not. How are they invoked? That’s the thing. Sentimentalism is the goal. Moving the reader is the goal. Bad poets never reach the goal of Sentimentalism, or reach it in a cheap or obvious way.

    The sentimental needs to be admired again.

    • maryangeladouglas said,

      February 15, 2018 at 5:34 am


    • noochinator said,

      February 15, 2018 at 7:46 am

      I still think there’s a difference between human feeling honestly portrayed, and a kind of mawkish sentimentalism. But then I think of the songs of Carrie Jacobs-Bond — “I Love You Truly”, “A Perfect Day” — and they’re easy to make fun of, but they also express beautiful sentiments. So though I can’t explain the dividing line between sentiment-beautifully-rendered & sentimentalism, I do believe it’s there, as I believe there is a dividing line between art and pornography. “I know it when I see it”, as Supreme Court Justice Potter Stewart said in 1964 to describe his threshold test for obscenity in Jacobellis v. Ohio.

      Thanks to everyone for the great comments.

      • thomasbrady said,

        February 15, 2018 at 3:01 pm

        Yes, I agree, Nooch. Wonderful discussion.

        Mawkish comes from Middle English “maggot” and indicates sickness or weakness.

        Dictionary.com for mawkish = “sickly sentimentality, weakly emotional, maudlin…”

        But let me (as I sometimes do, when I’m not being more balanced and rational) double down on my feelings about this:

        Psychopaths and mass murderers are not sentimental.

        Can there be too much sentimentality? Too much love? I don’t think so. The more sentimentality, the better.

        A Beethoven has an excess of sentimentality, a serial killer has no sentimentality. Sentimentality does not automatically equal genius, but I have a sentimental notion that the scale is rather simple: Great sentimentality = great genius; little or no sentimentality = creepy nobody (or infamous criminal).

        Am I weakly emotional to think this? 🙂

  8. maryangeladouglas said,

    February 15, 2018 at 8:07 pm

    Beware of people and movements who alter the meaning of words to serve their own poisonous agendas. As defined in Czeslaw Milosz’ book The Captive Mind. As the Bible says, beware of those who call good evil and evil good. This is most certainly going on in our time to a massive degree and I am not talking about mere politics. Thus the quality of being sentimental became downgraded to be an insult and mocked while all kinds of perversions in literature and art are lauded.

    • thomasbrady said,

      February 16, 2018 at 2:53 pm

      Mary, you are correct.

      When sentimentality is attacked as weak, you breed unfeeling creeps—in both men and women.

      Mass paranoia and psychosis is a terrible thing. The recent tragedy in Florida is blamed on men, guns, the NRA, Trump, and Republicans, but what about Big Pharma? What of the meds these shooters are always on?

      The poor people who are overly and badly medicated are unsentimental—souls of no feeling, numbed by drugs to prevent pain and anxiety.

      Drugs for the brain, whether LSD or anti-depressants, get in there and mess with the brain in such a way that they block actual feelings and replace them with pleasure-sensations, etc.

      Gun control—yes.

      But what about psychology and drugs?

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