Friday, April 29, 2011

Discuss your thoughts on sentimentality in literature. When is emotion in literature effective and when is it superfluous? Use examples.

                   XVII

I do not love you as if you were salt-rose, or topaz,

or the arrow of carnations the fire shoots off.

I love you as certain dark things are to be loved,

in secret, between the shadow and the soul.

I love you as the plant that never blooms

but carries in itself the light of hidden flowers;

thanks to your love a certain solid fragrance,

risen from the earth, lives darkly in my body.

I love you without knowing how, or when, or from where.

I love you straightforwardly, without complexities or pride;

so I love you because I know no other way

than this: where I does not exist, nor you,

so close that your hand on my chest is my hand,

so close that your eyes as I fall asleep.

Pablo Neruda(100 Love Sonnets)

Welcome back to the fine Ladies of The Blue Bookcase, and in answer to the question – “Discuss your thoughts on sentimentality in literature. When is emotion in literature effective and when is it superfluous?”. My answer is that anything written is reliant on artifice to convince the reader of it’s veracity, it becomes more a case of how they deal with it, to make it work, like sleight of hand, when done well, all you see is the magic. If not, what you see is some fool playing with their hands. If we then apply this to something as fundamental as our emotions, then the strings the writer uses to pull at us must be finer than gossamer, must be of the most subtlest art, if we are not to see them standing there, just a clown with their box of tricks.

Which brings me to the poems here, both deal with the idea of love, and yet both deal with the subject as a normal expression, Neruda speaks of love as elemental, it’s not fireworks and roses, it’s more basic, soil-like, it’s more essential and yet this poem is full of emotion, this is a love that has not diminished either parties, but created a greater whole.In the 2nd, the poem is even more  routed in the everyday, specifically states the individual doesn’t want all the Mills & boon, she’ll be loved by men not flowers, & yet it’s still magical.

WHEN SHE wakes drenched from sleep

She will not ask to be saluted by the light

Nor carolled by morning’s squabbling birds,

Nor lying in his arms wish him repeat

the polite conversations already heard;

She’ll not be loved by roses but by men,

She will glide free of sweet beauty’s net

And all her senses open out

to receive each sensation for herself.

If I could be that real, that open now

And not by half a light half lit

I would not gossip of what beauty is and what is not

Nor reduce love to a freak poem in the dark.

                        Brian Patten (Love Poems)

So my answer to the question “When is emotion in literature effective”, that for it to be effective it must be part of the whole, not an add on, it must be more shade, not a spotlight highlighting every vague nuance “ Nor reduce love to a freak poem in the dark.”

11 comments:

Bellezza said...

For me, emotion in literature is effective when the author is writing of which he's felt...quite obviously, the poems which you 'showcased' here are deeply heartfelt.

I appreciate you expanding my knowledge of, and appreciation for, poetry in your last few posts especially.

Laurie said...

Eloquent, Parrish.
And the cleanly evocative poems support your stance.
Hats off to Neruda, as always.

James said...

The Neruda poem is lovely and moving as so many of his poems are, but I was astounded by the power and beauty of Brian Patten's poem as I read it over and over. My panoply of poets has been expanded by the addition of his powerful pen!

LBC said...

I love the Neruda poem. It is beautiful and feels authentic.

Check out my hop here.

Miss Good on Paper said...

Not much of a swooner, but I swoon over Neruda. Great examples.

Thanks for sharing this. I look forward to reading more. -Miss GOP

petekarnas said...

Good quote - "to be effective it must be part of the whole, not an add on." I should really get caught up on my poetry....

parrish lantern said...

Hi Bellezza, thanks for your comment & I agree that an author needs to have a connection in fact Alberto Manguel stated that- The ideal Reader is The Writer just before the words come together on the page.

Hello, Laurie,Thank you & also a hearty yeah to brian Patten.

Hi James, glad you like patten, he was part of a group of poets, known as the Liverpool poets(http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Liverpool_poets)although he seems to be not as well known as Roger Mcgough or Adrian Henri, he's my favourite. A good place to start is "Love poems" or "Little Johnny's confession"(which I Tweeted earlier as NBM)or possibly "Storm Damage", i hope this helps.

Hi laura,yes it's a wonderful poem.

Hello miss G.O.P. yes it's definitely a poem one could swoon to.

Hi Pete, thanks for the comment. as for the poetry, you like Raymond Carver, start there, or don't know any of his poems but stephen King writes them, if you want a range, there's a fantastic series of anthologies published by Bloodaxe " Staying alive", "Being Alive" & " Being Human", hope this is of use.

IngridLola said...

Great thoughts, parrish! You are so articulate. I absolutely agree that emotion must be a shade, not a spotlight. That's really a beautiful analogy.

Deb Nance at Readerbuzz said...

I love the emotion of stories over the control of fact. I do stay away from enormous pits of sweeping emotion. I find I can't breathe well there.

Here is my response: Readerbuzz: The Queen Died and the King Died.

Jillian said...

I agree: it's about slight of hand. And manipulation happens in every work of fiction. Great point.

parrish lantern said...

HI IngridLola, thanks to you ladies for the fantastic question that I found inspiration in, just loved it.

Hello Deb, there's nowt wrong with feelings, it's just how you present them within the confines of a book that's the issue.ps loved your response.

Hi Jillian,without some degree of manipulation we're not going to have anything to follow, hence no tale. thanks for your comment.