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Re: Metrical Stress, Feet, Modernity and Haiku

From:Christophe Grandsire <christophe.grandsire@...>
Date:Tuesday, February 10, 2004, 21:58
En réponse à Philippe Caquant :

>'Soir' is certainly longer than 'soi' or 'sa', for >instance. There is a semi-vowel before the vowel, than >there is the final 'r' that makes it longer. I would >write it 'swa:r' in phonetic.
And I would write this "souaaar" :))) . I've managed to use the computer's microphone and recorded myself. In my speech, there's no meaningful length difference between "soir" and "sa".
> Anyway, I find it simply >impossible to ignore the difference between shorter >and longer syllables in French. Think of 'patte' vs >'pa^te'.
It used to be a difference of backness, "patte" using a front [a], "pâte" a back [A]. Today they are completely homophonous, and pronouncing "pâte" longer sounds pompous and artificial to me.
> 'Words like 'onde' are certainly longer than >'on', etc.
Not significantly.
> Sure, it's not so strict as in music, like >two black notes equalling the white one, but one must >take it into account, especially when writing poetry !
Not when it's not heard, and believe me, it's not.
>As to free verses, I'm not absolutely opposed to them, >as I happened to write some myself, but it is also >impossible to ignore that something is usually lacking >in them, and that is rhythm, or musicality. Maybe you >can find in them something else as a counterpart, but >anyway something very important is lost.
Possibly. But I've never said I preferred free verse over classical verse. There *are* other ways.
>I find it strange that you look so conservative about >French orthograph, which is often very outdated, if >not ridiculous (think of 'nenuphar', where there isn't >the slightest reason that there should be a 'ph' >instead of 'f'), and so modern about poetry. Isn't it >contradictory ?
In what way? I consider the French orthography as it is in balance. It is not perfect, but nothing can be. And *luckily* it's not perfect, because if it was it wouldn't be able to survive the smallest change in the language. However, I think the orthography is *optimal* for its purpose, and any change will only make it suboptimal. Don't repair what's not broken! The idea of balance applies also to my taste in poetry. I like balanced poems. I don't care what form they have, as long as they are balanced. But the classical verses with their oh too obvious and predictable balance are not of my interest. They are balanced like a plank lying on the floor. I like the unstable balance of a plank put vertically to stand on its smallest side, or the balance of a turning plate on a wood stick. That's interesting, not the plank on the floor! Now if that makes me a modern when it comes to poetry, then so be it. But I personally don't think I'm particularly modern here.
>Anyway, I think the the statistics about poetry buying >and reading, comparing XIXth and XXth century for ex, >are not subjective: there are facts. People lost >interest in poetry, and they don't understand it any >more. They find it boring, it doesn't talk to them any >more.
Which doesn't mean that *culture* is dying, just that it is changing. It doesn't mean that it's changing for the worse. We're at a period of great changes. Wait a few decades, then you'll be able to see whether the changes were good or not.
>N.B. Somebody also said that the rythm is hard to >perceive in the haiku. It might be if you're not used >to read and write haikus, but I think that for the >Japanese, it is very clear. This is cultural. But >remind that even the Japanese don't always follow >strictly the 5 - 7 - 5 rule. In the haiku, there are >many other concepts beside the rhythm, like the season >word, the frequently used interjections, and finally >the whole SPIRIT of the haiku, which is a >philosophical attitude and is the heart of the whole >thing (and this is far more difficult to understand >for Westerners than the 5 - 7 - 5 rhythm).
Indeed. I can't agree more! That's poetry! The SPIRIT behind it. Not any rule or rhythm! Christophe Grandsire. You need a straight mind to invent a twisted conlang.