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Witnesses

On the recent BBC Radio 4 Reith Lectures, Hilary Mantell said,

"When we die we become fiction, as we can no longer speak for ourselves"

Are we as poets, so imbued with license that we cannot bear true witness to people, places or things?
Thu, 22 Jun 2017 10:06 pm
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Should poets not be so imbued with truth that license is an unnecessary administrative detail?

They maybe should be, but demonstrably are not.

It begs another question, is artistic license ethical? surely it has to be.

The truth is easily found, if one has the will to seek.

David.
Sun, 25 Jun 2017 10:28 pm
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Lancashire County Palatine Tourist Bard

This topic is of great interest to me, since a few days ago I attended a discussion group on the subject of Truth; and how we might define it.

I proposed to the meeting that; the moment we externalise -whether by everyday conversation, music, singing, dancing, writing, painting, photography etc- how we perceive, or “feel about” a thing, a person, or the world about us, then we change the nature of what we call “truth”.

That is to say, each of us, on an internal, personal level “sees the world differently”. I once proposed to someone that all spoken/written language developed as metaphor, and remains as, philosophically speaking, metaphor!

Now, Hilary Mantell appears to be asking whether or not poets can “…bear true witness to people, places or things.”
And David asks: “…is artistic license ethical?” A question which, without wanting to put words into David’s mouth, appears to be another way of asking: “does the use of artistic license constitute (telling) a lie?”

Well, although I’m “way out of my depth” I’ll have a go.

Take the following two examples, which for the purpose of this discussion I take to be examples of artistic license.

1. by Robert Burns: “O my Luve's like a red, red rose, /That's newly sprung in June:”…(which uses Simile i.e. X is Like Y)
2. by me: “Take this rose,/My love for thee,/Which will forever bloom.” …(which uses Metaphor i.e. X Is Y ).

I think it might reasonably be proposed that in both examples the speakers/authors are telling “the truth” i.e.: there is nothing which I or anyone else knows about them which might lead me to suspect that they are lying!

Yet we know from our experience of the world, that an abstract concept such as “love” does not and cannot literally grow in a garden, nor can it be gathered into a bunch, wrapped in cellophane (there I’m showing my age) and sold for £5.

Although, in the interests of fairness it might also be argued that: “all men are bastards” and that we are both lying.

🌷
Wed, 28 Jun 2017 01:11 pm
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Lancashire County Palatine Tourist Bard

I think I was a bit clumsy in my language:
"...philosophically speaking, metaphor".

I was trying to make a distinction between what we nowadays recognise as metaphor ie-the "classroom" definition, and the idea or theory about language as it existed -thousands?- of years ago
Mon, 3 Jul 2017 11:04 am
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