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Redwall Poetry - Prose Misconduct
In a rapidly expanding ROC, there is one thing which has consistantly suffered: The Arts. Most Redwall Fictions are similar, and are (as I mentioned in a previous article) often rife with un-Redwallish elements, such as magery, invisibility, flight (not by birds, but by mice in cloaks and so forth), and many other such things. Art sites have ever-dwindling participation, and poetry has been virtually stagnated.
Where Have All the Poets Gone?
Time was when almost every site, whether it was a club or a personal page, had some sort of poetry collection. Many of the offerings were quite good. Now, however, there are fewer sites offering poem contests, and the ones that are have fewer people entering them. Fenlo Skysong gives his opinion:
"Poetry just isn't popular anymore. People like lots of fancy web stuff now that it's easier to accomplish. Some web authoring agents have java, layering, popups, frames, and all sorts of other neat stuff already built in. It used to take hours to get it all done, but now it takes moments. That's why people want more: Because you can provide it."
He went on to say that art contests have poetry contests beat, because there's more of a fair ground. It's easier to become good at art then it is to become good at poetry. I disagree, but neverthless... Anyhow, in speaking with several former RW poets, I learned that many of them share the same feelings.
"I can't think of anything really new anymore!" Complains Captain Aralla, a hare poet, "All my best ideas for poems and stories were used up in the first 5 or 10 pieces."
Kierden Raptail, a "vicious stoat captain", agrees.
"I used to write stuff all the time. Now I have to spend more and more time working on my site, because people keep demanding more!"
I suggested that perhaps Kierden should do what /he/ wants with his site, but this was met with inexplicable shock.
"No, that wouldn't work. A site used to be for the person who makes it, but not anymore. Now, if I want anyone to come at all, I have to cave to a lot of demands. I don't mind though. Some of the ideas are pretty good :)"
Certainly, there are plenty of poets left. However, the main constraint seems to be time, followed by a general lack of interest on the part of the consuming public. If we are to ressurrect the old ways, we must drastically reorganize our priorities.
Lack of Quantity, AND Quality
The general vein of poetry these days is poor. It is a thick, clotted vein, worn out from years of use, perhaps ready to yield of varicosity. An exceedingly poor vein. I cannot stress this enough. For an article such as this, which seeks to expose the underlying bad-itude of a lot of the poetry out there, it is understandable that not a single person I asked would agree to allow me to place their poems in this article. I could argue that, seeing as they're on the net,( that's about as public a domain as one can get (see copyright laws)), and criticism is legal, I should be able to use them at my leisure. However, I didn't want to cause trouble. So, I was forced to come up with my own poetry in an effort to illustrate the salient horrific particulars of this medium. I will use the same basic story for each poem, but will subject each version to a different torment. Now I begin.
"rufus the hare was a daring lad
although his aim was rather bad
he found his mark, to his surprise
he hit the rat between the eyes"
Now, the main problem with this is that it has absolutely no punctuation. That is inexcuseable. Furthermore, it is uncapitalized. It should read:
"Rufus the hare was a daring lad,
Although his aim was rather bad.
He found his mark, to his surprise,
He hit the rat between the eyes!"
Isn't that much more enjoyable to read now that it's properly formatted? I thought so. The next offender...
"The pebble bounced off the rat,
Who was wearing a hat,
And he let out an angry roar,
And he jumped, like he was going to soar."
The two problems here listed are the worst that poetry have ever faced, Redwall or otherwise. Bad meter and unnecessary verbiage are the chief foes of good poetry. Notice how words and lines have been added merely so they could rhyme with another line? Furthermore, notice that the beats-per-line are frightfully off. Bad meter, when it is just a beat or two, can usually be rememedied by slurring or quickening one's speech. However, this is too much to be overlooked. How it irks me. Moving on...
"The rat fell,
A broken animal under the sky.
He fell further, plumetting.
His mind reeled as he thought about life.
He hit the ground, and was hurt, but he jumped up again like a spring.
His attacker grinned, and shot again.
It was too late for everyone."
Oh dear. I promise you I have seen Redwall poetry like this. Firstly, the whole continuum of Redwall poetry, as laid down by Mr. Jacques, rhymes. I have yet to see a single bit of poetry or prose in the books which does not rhyme. Even directional poetry (which leads out heroes on the inevitable quest) rhymes. This is no good. I can see people arguing for freedom of expression, but there are some... unacceptable things. Furthermore, it is needlessly gloomy and existential. Those two components are not parts of Redwall poetry. Lastly, in this horror of a piece, there are several redundant moments which it would be superfluous to mention. Those who write this sort of poetry, unless it is to describe something of great beauty (this often works very well, if it is in a flowing manner. Not staccato, please.), seem to have some real-life issues if their writings are this gloomy.
There is no quick fix to this problem. As long as the technological world remains, poetry and the other arts which have sustained real civilization since the dawn of time will be stuck on the back bench. Perhaps something will happen in the future to change all this, and poetry will undergo a renaissance. Until then, just keep writing. But do it well.