Over at HTML Giant, the idea of the idea is being bandied about again; "Darby" (Darby Larson?) leaves this comment:
the problem i often have with ideas in art is that ideas are always either not new or too easily arguable so i prefer ideas in nonfic than in poems or fictionI think part of the problem with this whole discussion is that "idea" is poorly defined. Darby's comment is so bizarre to me that I wonder if our definitions of "idea" are wildly different. My response to this comment:
- If your concern is newness and its impossibility, ideas are the least of your worries. Most images are not new, most metaphors are not new. Avoiding ideas won't make your poems fresher. There's always the possibility that someone got to that line first.
- An idea is not the same thing as an argument, something to be agreed or disagreed with. Sometimes an idea is just a concept (like more durable bubbles ... or tattoos for the inside of your eyelids), in which case, what is there to argue? The point is not do you agree, it's is this interesting, is it worth thinking about, does it add something to the poem.
I propose a challenge: Find a "good poem" that doesn't have any ideas in it. Either copy it into a comment, drop a link or email it to me and I'll post it myself. Confirmation bias aside, my prediction is that I'll either A) not like it or B) find an idea. But you might prove me wrong, and either way we'll probably all learn something. Go!