Dr Niamh On The Plum Tree

Childhood Imagination Sows Seeds of Future Brilliance

In The Sandbox with Dr. Ampat Koshy

Which shall we choose? Young/old, simple/complex, popular/or great bards?

By Ampat Koshy

smokey

Smokey Robinson


In the humorous film ‘Music and Lyrics’ (2007), a discussion comes up between Hugh Grant (Alex, former pop music idol, now middle aged) and Drew Barrymore (young Sophie Fisher, once upon a time aspiring writer forced to turn lyricist by Alex) about the importance of a (song) lyric in comparison with a supposedly literary novel. Alex points out that lines like Smokey Robinson’s “I’ve got sunshine on a cloudy day/When it’s cold outside I’ve got the month of May” in ‘My Girl’ leave more of a long lasting impact on the minds of people all over the world, and that too for generations to come, than many difficult literary works like ‘Finnegan’s Wake’ by James Joyce. The deduction is worth thinking of: While popular need not be great, popular when simple, deep and profound has reach and greatness and becomes classic, living longer than many ‘great’ literary works in reality. The latter are kept alive only by esoteric readers, academicians, researchers and intellectuals or fan cliques; the former by everyone.

A present day example of this, paralleling the popularity of great poets like Ghalib and Rumi, is the simple fact that putting up the lyrics of a popular song in any language which is also great poetry/a lyric will get one, on youtube, millions of hits whereas a poem on a social network won’t. The roots of poetry as something meant to be sung, chanted or recited is also touched on here. A song lyricist fetches more money than a poet in the market. The neo-classical writers and readers who are ‘purists’ in love with classics hate these facts and also the younger generation’s bold use of language, including their use of words like f***. Lana del Rey’s “Ride”is a typical example of lyrics/poetry that are/is simple and powerful, igniting a huge fire as a response, also drawing on Whitman and the Beats as precursors with a large reach, though oldies hate it. They would prefer a Dylan or a Cohen refusing to acknowledge the fact that along with a Rumi or Ghaib such poets/bards too were also popular and not just considered profound and deep and only later labelled as classic.

Please read the lyrics of, listen to, and look at the number of hits on the Lana del Rey video to understand that the movement in poetry may presently be towards the firswords of my three pairs in the title, that is; towards the young, simple and popular – a fact driven by new media’s forms and not literary or alternative schools.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Py_-3di1yx0  Warning!!! (Niamh Clune) Young people visiting this blog ~ please be aware of adult content here. 

The thrust is, as a young Malayali poet said recently in a poetry reading in Urban Solace, Bangalore, – I paraphrase – towards not being offended by swear words but in presenting much deeper ills that are there in today’s life. In other words, dear writers, simplicity can make our writing both deep and profound if we let the latter pair emerge from the gaps in between and from the writer’s or reader’s intelligence which we should not insult, and the result can be popular, great and become a classic despite using a bold new young
people’s language that may seem inappropriate to some but perhaps is merely their … language.

Advertisements

About Dr Niamh

When I was a little girl (a very, very long time ago), I used to love learning new, really big words like ‘discombobulate’. As I grew, my love of words grew too, until I loved them so much, I could not stop writing them down. One day, as I was scribbling a particular word, a very peculiar thing happened. The word shouted at me, “Stop! Don’t put me there!” As you can imagine, I was shocked and nearly fell off my chair. When I recovered somewhat, I said to the word, “Could you stop shouting, please? I am not used to it.” Can you guess what happened next? No! I thought not. The word said, “I might be small, but I will misbehave if you do not use me properly. I will not tell the story you would like me to tell. I will say something entirely different!” I dropped my pen. I hoped that by dropping my pen, the word would stop talking. Alas! It did not. It carried on chitterchobbling, even after the ink had dried. I was in a pickle. I could not allow my words to run away with my story, now could I? I don’t know about you, but when this sort of thing happens, there is only one thing left to do if you prefer not to spend your time arguing. “Very well,” said I. “I will do as you ask if you will just be quiet and allow me to concentrate.” Since that day, I have been paying special attention to every word I invite into my stories. After all, a story should say exactly what it means to say and not be led astray. With love from Dr. Niamh, Ph.D in Learning Through The Imagination and Founder of Dr Niamh Children's Books. www.drniamhchildrensbooks.com

24 comments on “In The Sandbox with Dr. Ampat Koshy

  1. Uncle Tree
    June 27, 2013

    Many truths revealed here, Ampat. Good points!
    Song lyrics wooed me as a teen, and many times
    I wished to write words that would outlive me. Still,
    today, there is that hope that keeps me inspired.

    Like

    • ontheplumtree
      June 27, 2013

      Many thanks for your response, Keith! I am finding delight in writing verse for children’s books ~ same idea ~ all my power as a writer and therapist goes into writing something so simple. And I have written many songs. It needs such a different approach. The music also carries the lyrics ~ the lyric states the music, on their own, a lyric often does not do the same job at all ~ which is why the poem must stand alone and have musicality within it.

      Like

  2. Shawn MacKENZIE
    June 27, 2013

    Great post. It is perhaps a snobbishness that makes people ignore the impact of lyrics. Yes, from lullabies to pop radio, songs are often our first exposure to poetry. The form demands stripping to the bone. The best are haunting (in a good way), and stick with us. A hurrah for Ampat Koshy and the bardic tradition!

    Like

  3. Patricia Tilton
    June 27, 2013

    Excellent article. I think all poetry and storytelling should have a rhythm/musicality within it. Rumi is among my favorite poets — very esoteric.

    Like

  4. thiskidreviewsbooks
    June 27, 2013

    I am much more fond of music and poetry that doesn’t have curse words in it. I think people can find ways of saying something better, but that is just what I think, maybe not everyone else.

    Like

    • ontheplumtree
      June 27, 2013

      I agree Erik. I don’t think we need swear words either. Good for you for standing your ground. We like different points of view here.

      Like

  5. BUTTERFLIES OF TIME
    June 27, 2013

    Some of the most beautiful and popular Malayalam and Hindi film songs have the greatest poetry in their lyrics. Good lyrics of a song , good poetry, good words arranged simply but elegantly can stand the test of time and endure every new fad.. though swear words do put me off and I find them to dim the soul of the composition as if they have been used to cover up a lack of language . A great post as usual from Dr. Ampat Koshy.

    Like

    • ontheplumtree
      June 27, 2013

      I agree, Butterflies. I also think swear words dim the soul. But perhaps some people are not expressing soul but angst or sex. In which case, I probably wouldn’t listen. I am too old!

      Like

  6. Shawn MacKENZIE
    June 28, 2013

    Reblogged this on MacKENZIE's Dragonsnest.

    Like

  7. Thank you uncle tree 🙂

    Like

  8. ty niamh 🙂

    Like

  9. ty shawn 🙂

    Like

  10. ty patricia 🙂

    Like

  11. ty erik 🙂

    Like

  12. ty butterflies 🙂

    Like

  13. i like using swear words – they don’t do anything to my soul 🙂

    Like

  14. thanks to all the seventeen bloggers who liked it 🙂 those who tweeted facebooked pinterested and google plussed 🙂

    Like

  15. Correction – *first three words

    Like

  16. Correction – *Ghalib

    Like

  17. the secret keeper
    June 29, 2013

    The song RIDE is brilliant. The lyrics spoken and sung are so open, vulnerable, sad and honest. I have never heard Lana del Rey sound any better. It is a way of expressing poetry and combining with a tune that as beautifully melodic. It is a brilliant way to express the poetic. Music that is from the soul. Words that come from the soul. And singing that is from the soul is what makes it so profound and filled with power and depth. Language may bother some but when used in an appropriate placing in the lyrics it works to project the intensity of the meaning. I use the language found in this song all the time. It emphasizes the punch of meaning I am intending to communicate. Lana’s use was in the perfect place. Her life was that of someone crushed and homeless and she wandered her life and just had to RIDE to give any meaning to her life. Writing poems and music and lyrics I have done both and now I write poetry and other writings. It would be great to create something as profound as this song and video. It was amazing. Having monetary gain from your creativity is a delightful surprise and one that would not be so bad to receive. But most don’t reach 30,000,000 hits on YouTube for their music and lyrical poetry. It is a combination of talent and the right place and time. Whether one gets the money, the artist in us still needs to create. This was a soul experience. Thank you Niamh and Dr. Koshy for the gift of such a performance and post. It was an amazing surprise and enjoyable experience. Jk

    Like

  18. Thank you Jennifer the secret keeper your comments make me feel my posts are worth writing 🙂

    Like

  19. toad (chris jensen)
    July 2, 2013

    Learning to write poetry I am, seems at most time a harsh let down… What I believe you say continue writing forget what they say….

    Like

  20. keep going on chris

    Like

Leave a Reply

Please log in using one of these methods to post your comment:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: