Thursday, February 4, 2016

Ars Poetica, the art of Horace

Thinkers and writers and philosophers have been talking about poetry for thousands of years—notwithstanding, we continue to puzzle and prate and pontificate about the nature of this, perhaps, most classical of the arts.

I’m doing much reading about poetry. I wish I could say that it’s an entirely pleasant learning experience.

Take a moment to reflect on this commentary by Horace (Quintus Horatius Flaccus, 65-8 B.C.):

“…the poet [should] just now say what ought just now to be said…In the choice of his words, too, the author of the projected poem must be delicate and cautious, he must embrace one and reject another: you will express yourself eminently well, if a dexterous combination should give an air of novelty to a well-known word…”
(From Ars Poetica, c. 15 B.C.)

Exactly so. In my poems, I strive to find the right words to profoundly express what’s in my mind and in my eye and in my ear. I want to offer my sensations most fully to the reader.

Here’s a sample:


Surf sounds, the singing of the sea,
the breaking rollers,
mellowed crunch of wave on wave,
the boistered drumroll of eternal tides.

There is no silent sea, we think….

….consider a sheltered beach,
in the lee of a baffling sand bar,
sea-spawned shoal,
mediator for sea and shore,
muffler of the surf,
tamper of the borning breakers,
damper of the singing of the sea,
guardian of truth about
the vastly silent blue water.

Copyright © Richard Carl Subber 2015 All rights reserved.
Published in The Australia Times Poetry Magazine and in Whispers

Copyright © Richard Carl Subber 2016 All rights reserved.

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