Writers Journey: Poetry and Prose...

I touched on prose and poetry earlier and would do so again now.  The difference is important to determine if only superficially for now. Poetry is a heart-felt expression of a vision that unites people by its utterance.  Poetry speaks to the spirit like a photograph capturing an intangible moment with words that are not often sensible and yet dive down beneath rationality into something within everyone that beats a little deeper.  It is not that prose cannot do this within its structure as well, and I would argue that prose itself may contain moments of poetry within it, as so well-shown by J.R.R. Tolkien’s the Lord of the Rings or lines by James Joyce, such as “Soft morn, City.”  It is more that the vehicle of prose is a different animal, looking to share an experience which is longer than a vision and therefore cannot be a photograph of the ineffable when it must be a long chain unfolding into tangible experience. A good story will bring something new into the world.  So will a good poem.  Both are capable of bringing the reader a new awareness.  At its best, prose pushes past materiality and consumerism into a realm that pulls the reader up out of a sea of merely surviving and into possibilities.  Sometimes witnessing these truths, these possibilities, hurts as a reader, particularly when times are very tough.  It is a good storyteller that will mediate the message to the reader in a way that wakes us up like a man in a Russian classic, so that we exclaim, “Gentleman, I’ve had a good dream.”  We keep that dream, rather than refuse it, because even if it hurt a little, it empowered us. A well-written story seems to slide deeper into...

Crossing the Lines — Art vs. Craft Jul21

Crossing the Lines — Art vs. Craft...

These two terms have been known to be lumped together at times, but there is a difference between Art and Craft. While Craft generally refers to creations made for utilitarian purpose, Art is primarily created for aesthetics or contemplation; or to quote the philosopher Immanuel Kant, “Objects of art are intrinsically final: they appeal purely at the level of the imagination and no good practical utility, except the cultivation of the human spirit.” That’s not to say that a beautiful piece of jewelry or a finely-crafted rocking chair could not be thought of as a “work of art”, but because it also doubles as a useable piece, it’s placed in the craft category. In contrast, if one were to take a utilitarian piece and make it unusable, it could then be considered Art. Taking it one step further, if said piece displayed the elements and principles discussed in my article, Understanding Art as Art, it would be then be considered Fine Art. In adding the word ‘fine’ to the category, a value is placed on the work of art itself; not stating that Fine Art is valued more highly over Craft. Usefulness can be and often is, considered just as valuable as aesthetics. People often confuse these terms and sometimes feel that Craft isn’t given the spotlight it deserves. In the 18th century, when art underwent a divisional change, Artisans and Craftsmen were categorized as skilled workers, producing quality, functional pieces whereas Artists were categorized as creators of original, one-of-a-kind, expressive objects mainly for aesthetic or contemplative purpose. In the past few decades, we have seen that the line between Art and Craft can easily be crossed. We now see museums exhibiting stunning craftsmanship at its best. An intricately-designed quilt, a finely-painted piece of...