AVENUES IN FRANCE (english poetry)

The bulk of my poetry isn’t found in this blog, but in my longer stylised compositions containing the array of symbology and my core ultra-romantic elements. Avenues in France is one of such, perhaps the first of it’s kind published here, and part of my series of monadic poems subdivided in various structures.

Screen Shot 2018-05-21 at 16.18.34Screen Shot 2018-05-21 at 16.18.37Screen Shot 2018-05-21 at 16.18.42

Tell me if you like these types of heavy poetry, I may publish more (I was planning on publishing surrealism poetry next, like Yangtze or Gran Java)


JOHNNY

Poetic Tips II (I suppose slightly harder)

Poetry – like all artistic displays – has a myriad of rules as well as their designations when those rules are not followed, essentially: structural and counter-structural, fluid and stagnant, chaotic and orderly. It is necessary for me to stress that no form of composing elevates over another, and none yields better results among the general readers. The most important element of any form of art, for me, is it’s understandability, how accessible it attempts to be. Portuguese author José Luís Peixoto placed it best in an interview, I will attempt to translate as best I can:

“Eu acredito muito na escrita como alguma coisa que se dirige às pessoas, que não exclui ninguém e que procura, justamente, comunicar com todos, por isso, em relação aos seus veículos não coloco limites.”

I strongly believe in writing as something directed at people, it does not exclude anyone and seeks, precisely, the communication with all, therefor, I place no boundaries to it’s vehicles. 

Related to his writing being displayed on building walls of Lisbon, in an interview with Caras in 21 of March of 2011

Some years ago, I was confronted with the reality that my Portuguese poetry wasn’t always understandable (an example would be TEMPO, the only clear example of that published on this website), and it alienated a plethora of possibilities by being excessively confusing – not because of any attempt at brilliance, but because of obvious mental laziness at conveying my own creations clearly. I would just cast it off with any vocabulary I could muster, with any structure I could be bothered to envision.

Under beyond-the-grave mentorship of many authors, I was taught the importance of structure and how it deeply affects the reader, and how the common myth of overly-complex pieces being superior is just a trap aspiring authors tend to fall face-first into. There is nothing wrong about the humility of being understandable by all, as much as there is no class or poignancy in being understood by none.

SYLLABLES, SOUND, VISUAL ORDER

Metric lines in poetry have been used for centuries, but many people question: to what purpose? From iambic pentameters, latin hexameters, endecasillabo, an vast array of metrics were created with different purposes, but the one subjacent to most of them is the sonority of the composition. Many times, poetry wasn’t just a readers delight, it was also meant as a listeners glory. These poems could be considered similar to current songs, as they flew off the mouth straight to the chest, and they were meant as exhibitions of romantic beauty or full theatrical compositions.

Today, the device of counting syllables has fallen to disuse, and is often disregarded all together, but to anyone interested in the sonority or aloud readability of compositions, with or without rhymes, you should be wary of the syllables used while you compose. Not only do they fuel great sounds, but they also control tightly the visual order of your poem. For example, visual disconnects are not common, but they are odd constructions that should often be avoided, for the sake of the readability of a line:

(disregarding syllabic order) 

I could sense my mind flickering akin to the pinnacle of a candle’s flame,

The waver… a burning tempest of emotional apathy.

(regarding syllabic order) 

My mind flickers akin to a candle’s flame,

Wavering… whirling fires of inner apathy. 

(these lines are demonstrations and not part of any actual composition) 

The second version is a common use of the alexandrine meter, following twelve syllables in each line, one of my most common uses of a meter. Often, the syllables align the lines, but it’s not always the case (hence why my compositions often look so “orderly” in the length of each verse, it happens naturally most times).

Is it important, at all? I would not know. It is important to me, it allows me to express the feelings exposed in an understandable, appealing way, instead of the word mesh I used to create. It helped me greatly to worry about these things, and now, composing to me really feels like composing, I look at all these elements, I organise them, and a poem is born almost naturally, because as the paper suffers this structure, so do my thoughts and writing.

In a lighter tone, my Mother used to say that a messy room is representative of a messy life. I’ve always believe that this applied to many of common things, like poetry! This outer order I create allows my mind to clear further, like organising a desk.

Of course, if your jam is poetry that comes straight from the mind to the paper, there is absolutely nothing wrong with that either. This is mostly directed at people who hold much to be expressed and cannot do it when they attempt to write poetry.

I hope I helped someone, in any way, that would make me the happiest.

Santos is almost here, I’m a big celebrator of Portuguese folk parties, so poetry will be scarce. Let’s enjoy the first step into Summer with poetic incantations!


Johnny.

Poetic Tips (I suppose)

A more fitting title would be: “a few points I’ve gathered from writing poetry”, yet, I’ve written in Portuguese since I was about 11 years old, and in English for about three months. If I already had a long way to go in my native language, that is multiplied by some dozens when it comes to English.

I believe poetry is a frugal thing, much in the ways of music: a powerhouse of conveying feelings directly that often falls flat on it’s face. I don’t have fingers to count my failed compositions, but I do have an excellent memory about how they failed:

MEANING VS. SUBJECT

One common trap of composing is to collide the meaning intended for the composition and it’s mechanical subject. The two mustn’t exist hand-in-hand, in fact, it’s preferable that they exist separately.

The meaning of a composition is to be left undecided, it’s not mine to hold, and the more I force it’s presence, the more it seems to dodge under descriptive words and imagined perceptions. In fact, a composition doesn’t need to mean anything, it’s a natural part of the process to allow itself the literary space to mean… whatever it wants to mean, really. A keen reader might break the veil and see clearly into the poets feelings at the time of writing, but even that can be arguably fallacious when it comes to understanding the poem at hand. Everything can be indicative of meaning, even the structure of a poem, but it shouldn’t take priority over the subject.

When I use the expression “mechanical subject”, I usually image a combustion engine working within the poem. It is the core propeller, the fuel for that composition to even exist. This could be the poetic subject or it could not. There are countless poems versing love and singing heart-break, those feelings are the mechanical subject of the compositions, even if the poetic subject might be the authors themselves, a fictional character, or the person to which the composition is directed. If you are familiar with any of my poems, you might have realised I use artistic displays as mechanical subjects, like guitars or grand dances:

These ghosted moves illuminated by yellow lamp posts,

These rhythms and notes guided by a Spanish guitar

Are but beautiful memories we hold, mi flor del mar.

(…)

Yet, the children still smile in those avenues in France,

The Spanish guitar backgrounds all my hopeful walks

Searching for you, waiting eagerly for our ghostly dance

Spanning my thoughts and the lights of these city blocks.

From “Avenues in France” by me, but unreleased. 

Some authors are able to smoothly shift their mechanical subject mid-composition, unfortunately I’m not that gifted. Not yet, at least. If I can convey one tip regarding this specific factor, I would advise you to be aware of it and attempt to make it clear in your mind before writing.

LANGUAGE AND [PRESS ENTER]

I’m often guilty of using ridiculous words in poetry, like halcyon or hecatomb. Now, of course, there is absolutely no issue with using any word you wish to, the more the merrier, but there can be a severe disconnect between the general language of a composition and a sudden eldritch word. Consistency isn’t always necessary, but connection is a key element of flux when it comes to poetry. It must flow, almost effortlessly, through you and through the reader. Sometimes, that flowing can be broken by an out-of-place heavy word, which is generally a common poetic technique nowadays (to which I’m a very big prey of).

The wording is, however, not the only problem with the flux of a lot of compositions, there is also the somehow puzzling [PRESS ENTER] effect many authors have criticised over-time.

Verses usually tend to

path

The way to a stanzaic

demonstration, much

like an instrument

Some poets do this naturally, others do it for some other confusing reason I can’t quite grasp. The problem here is not so much the fluidity of the poem, although it is often damaged by this process, but also the rational process behind reading a poem. It’s much like a math equation, each verse must contain something that leads up to a full stanza, once all have been read in the necessary order, the whole stanza will then contain the ultimate take-away. Not only is it important that the verses themselves are fluid, but that the stanza division follows the division of thoughts.

Poetry, after all, is that very action. Verses and stanzas are used to guide the thought behind the composition – the climaxes, the low-points, the expositions and breaks, all must be organised in a way to facilitate the message of the poem.

The general lyricism of the poems is also transformed greatly by the proper usage of verses. I can’t count the times where I’ve seen verse breaks where there was no necessity for a break to exist, or two verses that are supposed to be read continuously with no clear indication of division, making them essentially one verse needlessly separated by a line break.

Countering this mechanism is pretty easy, just experiment with classical structures. Tercets, quatrains, even sestets if you are feeling gutsy. They needn’t rhyme, although the usage of crossed rhyme and distichs is a great way to force you to shape up a thought, and to keep the poem within marginal lines. I will leave syllabic counting and coda structures to another sunny day.

 

Sorry for the bulky text, I tried shortening it as much as I could.


JOHNNY

 

 

SCOTTISH WOLF (english poetry)

I was talking to my dear sister early yesterday about how I’m always single, things never seem to quite work. Then I saw a documentary about wolves, and voilá, we have a poem.

If anyone ever wondered about my process, there doesn’t seem to really be one, I just take things and write them down, almost like notes, except they rhyme.

Screen Shot 2018-05-15 at 15.45.38

Screen Shot 2018-05-15 at 15.45.49


JOHNNY

 

DESTINO (english poetry)

Apologies for the verses in Portuguese, this started out as a poem in my native language, and then morphed into english, so I just scattered around the verses.

The translations are as such:

“Que se ame a eternidade na beleza de sua verdade…” – May eternity be loved in the beauty of it’s truth.

“Que no traço do Tempo, não existem estátuas sorridentes…” – That in the trace of Time, there are no smiling statues.

“Até as redes do momento já se apertam nos braços…” – Even the nets of the moment already tighten our arms.

Screen Shot 2018-05-14 at 20.08.02

Screen Shot 2018-05-14 at 20.08.06

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


Johnny

EMERALD CAGE (english poetry)

Wrote it all on one go, hence why it’s so big. I usually crop a lot while I compose.

Might not be good, but it’s the first composition where I didn’t truly care about structure, I just went with what felt right at the time, and I’m quite happy with the lightness of that.

Screen Shot 2018-05-12 at 18.36.04Screen Shot 2018-05-12 at 18.36.07

(Sorry about second publication, I actually forgot the poem on the first go, typical.)


JOHNNY

NIHIL (english poetry)

A bit of an abandoned project, I had hopes of transforming a portuguese poem I had into an English form without translation. Due to structure constrains, I wasn’t able to fully converse it, it was supposed to have eight more stanzas (to match the portuguese version with 20 stanzas).

Turns out the English language is generally more laconic, and you can convey more using less, in turn breaking the general spine of the poem. This is what was left, hopefully someone can look at it and see something worthwhile.

Screen Shot 2018-05-11 at 00.10.34.png


JOHNNY

WOTAN-A-MORTE (english poetry)

I haven’t been publishing much lately. Besides being generally busy, my poetic production lately has seemed a bit twisted. As I struggle inside, usually, so does my poetry, and it warps more and more the worse I get.

Regardless, I created this blog for exactly this purpose, to “document” how my work seems to change, evolve, sometimes for the worst. Here is a composition that shows it pretty well:

Screen Shot 2018-05-09 at 04.29.46.png