The Instigator
shakuntala
Pro (for)
Losing
0 Points
The Contender
Stephen_Hawkins
Con (against)
Winning
4 Points

Is this a great postmodernist poem

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Post Voting Period
The voting period for this debate has ended.
after 1 vote the winner is...
Stephen_Hawkins
Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 6/27/2013 Category: Arts
Updated: 3 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 871 times Debate No: 35112
Debate Rounds (5)
Comments (0)
Votes (1)

 

shakuntala

Pro

This poem exhibits many elements that for me make it a great postmodernist poem
Pygmalion
http://www.scribd.com...
Stephen_Hawkins

Con

There are multiple reasons why this isn't a great postmodernist poem, and they hinge upon the fact it isn't postmodern. Also, it isn't a poem. It's a one act play, so straight off of the bat this is necessarily wrong.

However, it's clearly not postmodern: it conforms to traditional transcendental signifiers to organise discourse of the masculine against the feminine, it conforms to traditional rhyme schemes which do not challenge any preconceived notion of how poetry ought to work. The breaking of the fourth wall (in the play) is a traditional element of plays, which though in a poem would approach postmodernism, in a play is simply traditional.

It is simply erotic imagery which conforms to masculinist constructs, with only a floundering attempt at meaning hidden by the attempt to use words such as postmodern without truly understanding or appreciating its meaning.
Debate Round No. 1
shakuntala

Pro

based on definitions of poetry/free verse

point i) postmodern -the blurring of genre - is the text free verse or prose is the poetry poetry or free verse

this work blurs these terms
thus
point 2)
is the work a play or is it a poem ie is it all written in poetry ie free verse or is it all written in prose
this work blurs these terms
your point about the forth wall falls down
if the work is a poem in free verse
Stephen_Hawkins

Con

To address your first point: it is a one-act duologue play, where both actors speak in varying metrics. The only difference between this botch Pygmalion and Shakespeare's plays is that Shakespeare doesn't have as much control as his actors. In that regard, Shakespeare is at least unique in breaking from the common dictation of stage direction by contemporary and modernist playwrights. The existence of a metric in a play is nothing new: in fact, it is archaic. Postmodern playwrights would haughtily challenge the existence of any metanarrative or rules of writing a play. Barth's great example of postmodernism, Lost in the Funhouse, challenges the entire existence of linguistic rules, such as the existence of themes and "a great question to be answered". Where is that in this piece? It conforms to traditional language and order.

The second point again assumes that it is a poem. It's not a poem. It's a play. It explicitly says "one act play". It follows the traditional themes of characters. It states the stage setting.

Even the publisher notes its use of "archaic words" and "inversion of word order" and "Miltonic effect", referring to the 17th century Milton. The work is unapolagetically archaic, and undoubtedly poor.
Debate Round No. 2
shakuntala

Pro

you say the play is in metric
there is no metre in the rhyming bits if there is it is by pure chance
all that can be said for the rhyming bits is that it is rhyming prose

you say "The second point again assumes that it is a poem. It's not a poem. It's a play. It explicitly says "one act play""
yes the work says its a play but it can be argued a play in in free verse
you say it is not a poem but it fulfills what free verse is if free verse is poetry then this work is poetry
the publisher points out the Miltonic effects but only to point out the postmodernist take of the work ie blurring genre

you say it is not a poem but it fulfills what free verse is if free verse is poetry then this work is poetry
thus undermining your point about the fourth wall
Stephen_Hawkins

Con

No. Simply put, none of what my opponent says has been proof of it being postmodern. Not only does most of it not take place, but none of it makes it postmodern. Postmodernism is "the incredulity of metanarratives". I'll make it explicit again: use of rhyme, use of metric, use of archaic language, use of fourth wall, are all old fashioned techniques commonplace in plays, and therefore it is not postmodern.
Debate Round No. 3
shakuntala

Pro

simple please state yes or no to this question
is free verse poetry
if yes then address points below

you say

"No. Simply put, none of what my opponent says has been proof of it being postmodern."

i said this work blurrs genre thus making it a postmodern work

you said
"The breaking of the fourth wall (in the play) is a traditional element of plays, which though in a poem would approach postmodernism,"
i have pointed out that based on what free verse is this work is poetry if free verse is poetry

thus undermining your point about the fourth wall
and by your own admission makes the work approach postmodernism
Stephen_Hawkins

Con

Blurring genres is not postmodern, and no credible source will agree to this. Nor is the play a poem. It contains poetry, which is traditional among archaic plays (and incidently inexistence among postmodern plays), but it is a play. Therefore, the play is not postmodern.
Debate Round No. 4
shakuntala

Pro

you say
"Blurring genres is not postmodern, and no credible source will agree to this.

go here to see all the references that say postmodernism is the blurring of genres
https://www.google.com.au...
qoutes from

Defining Postmodernism ... fixed narration; Blurring of genres; Blurring of distinction between "high" and "low".
It rejects rigid genre boundaries and promotes parody, irony, and playfulness
For a number of postmodern theorists, the blurring of rigid generic
Postmodernism, on the other hand, is about rejecting boundaries, blurring genre distinctions,.

etc
etc

you say
" Nor is the play a poem. "

you did not say if free verse is poetry
if free verse is poetry then the work is poetry
thus underming your point about thr fourth wall
Stephen_Hawkins

Con

My opponent's definition of "postmodernism" is the definition of "modernism", which postmodernism specifically goes against and distances itself from.

"Modernism Characteristics
  • Impressionism; subjectivity; stream of consciousness
  • Reflexivity
  • Lack of objectivity; fixed narration
  • Blurring of genres
  • Blurring of distinction between “high” and “low”"
This, from http://shrdocs.com..., itself took it from:

From a literary perspective, the main characteristics of modernism include:

1. an emphasis on impressionism and subjectivity in writing (and in visual arts as well); an emphasis on HOW seeing (or reading or perception itself) takes place, rather than on WHAT is perceived. An example of this would be stream-of-consciousness writing.

2. a movement away from the apparent objectivity provided by omniscient third-person narrators, fixed narrative points of view, and clear-cut moral positions. Faulkner's multiply-narrated stories are an example of this aspect of modernism.

3. a blurring of distinctions between genres, so that poetry seems more documentary (as in T.S. Eliot or ee cummings) and prose seems more poetic (as in Woolf or Joyce).

4. an emphasis on fragmented forms, discontinuous narratives, and random-seeming collages of different materials.

5. a tendency toward reflexivity, or self-consciousness, about the production of the work of art, so that each piece calls attention to its own status as a production, as something constructed and consumed in particular ways.

6. a rejection of elaborate formal aesthetics in favor of minimalist designs (as in the poetry of William Carlos Williams) and a rejection, in large part, of formal aesthetic theories, in favor of spontaneity and discovery in creation.

7. A rejection of the distinction between "high" and "low" or popular culture, both in choice of materials used to produce art and in methods of displaying, distributing, and consuming art.

From http://www.uni-muenster.de...

Neither are about postmodernism. Moreover, "blurring genre" is about making prose, that is, pieces without metrics, more like poetry (sounding as if there was one). This piece is not even postmodern, as it holds to a varying metric.


To the second point, I never said that the play does not contain poetry. Free verse is of course a form of poetry. I deny that it has free verse (that is, I claimed that there is a metric), which is evident to anyone reading the poem. I simply hesitate to quote amateur pornographic work onto this site. However, to take a mild segment:

"To enter in this shadow-land of mine,
If he must forget the utter Summer’s shine
And all the daylight ways of hand and brain
:
Here is the white moon ever on the wane,
And here the air is sad with many a sign
Of haunting mysteries, — the golden wine"

In this extract of a monologue, a metric is obvious, rhyme is obvious, there is an obvious purposeful elaborate lexis, and therefore it is undoubtable that this piece is not postmodern, but instead archaic, modernist at best. Thus I urge a vote CON, and in favour of reason, rather than purposeful obfuscation of what "postmodern" means to promote a purposefully vulgar piece.

Debate Round No. 5
No comments have been posted on this debate.
1 votes has been placed for this debate.
Vote Placed by Enji 3 years ago
Enji
shakuntalaStephen_HawkinsTied
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Total points awarded:04 
Reasons for voting decision: Con uses actual grammar and makes actual points. Notably it's a play, not a poem; it's not postmodernist; and it's far from great.