Does profanity have a place in poetry? I'm sorry, but in reading many contemporary published poets, I am shocked by their employment of extremely profane words like c***t, etc. Personally, I don't find this poetically acceptable. Likewise,when exposed to most rap music, the preponderance of vulgarity negates whatever appreciation I might glean from it, and all the intricate word play, inventive rhyme and sophisticated meter become lost on me. After all, English is an iambic, Germanic language-- one that lends itself to rhyme and to meter. It's not rocket science. But doing it well takes a certain panache. So why cheapen it? I understand it's a hard world and artists need to explore the ugliness. The question is, in this "anything goes" society, are profane words and crude sentiments fair poetic game or do they serve only to cheapen and pollute the spirit and nature of poetry?
I guess poetry is just moving right along with all our other cultural changes… Who knows when the pendulum will start swinging back the other way.
If swearing and cursing we could lay our wares here before the world without censure or disdain from our fellows who read us then there would be a place here for it if nowhere else but by majority rule, or mods overlordship (which ever gives you a better reason to gripe) this is a moot subject and the answer is no.
In general I would say no to this... but I'm have no education in poetic structure so who am I to say? Poetry brings to mind a certain level of genteelness but I've written a few that are very aggressive and accusatory; not in keeping with a tea and a Polo match. I've refrained from the use of profanity because I personally feel it's too easy to use. But I don't think the use of profanity should automatically disqualify one's work as poetry. It would have to be judged on it's whole message and delivery.
Poetry is more than just what we're spoon fed in highschool, or (more commonly) what we read in Hallmark cards.
Every word has a place in our world, even the naughty ones. If you want to elicit a visceral response, there's nothing better than a good curse word.
In general, however, I think that crass swearing generally indicates a lack of creativity and originality, so make it count!
Profanity has its place. Like a surgeon's scalpel you use it carefully and cleanly to make a point.
I don't believe in ever forbidding anything.
That being said, if almost every word in your poem is profane then the words stop having any meaning.
You dilute the shock of it and make it moot.
So use your swear words carefully.
I'd say profanity could possibly have a place in poetry - it all depends on what the poet is trying to say, and, of course, if it's overused (as in your rap example) the meaning behind the poem would disappear and leave it meaningless.
i was gona say sure it dose. but the you broke out the c word. lol
Sure. Poetry is done for many reasons, using many venaculars. It would be bizarre to say that no legit poetry could every use a swear word.
My first reaction would be to say no. But as a writer, sometimes the piece may require it to be a bit more colorful, and so if profanity helps.....I say go for it. But if it is just used for sensationalism, to get a "rise" out of the reader....Don't do it....for then I think it's a cop out on what could be a really good piece of poetry.
Everything is for use in poetry; profanity is part of the daily language of some people, even most people. If you want your poem to 'talk' to f**king w**kers then you might need to include those kind of words in your poem - or a poem about a bankers meeting might want to include 'a wunch of bankers' or other explicit words, and lawyers just demand profanity - a poem about politicians could be just one pile of profanity - and it could still be art and a good poem.
The FCC is currently debating changing the status of the F word. As a sexual connotation they say it is profane, but when used as an expression of anger, they say it is acceptable. We learn the story or history of a generation or era by looking at the art which it created. What will they say in the future about who we are today?
Poetry is meant to be an expressive art and tool. Poetry is therapeutic. While it is not completely my style, I don't condemn those who express themselves in their unique way. Controversy is good because it makes you think. Poetry is destructive in its interpretation. I think it is important to look past what is on paper and to look ahead in to the abstraction of the lyrics. Does profanity make poetry good? No. Does a lack of it make poetry good? No. The abstraction and the ability to provoke thought does.
In all seriousness, the only clever way I can think of to use profanity is if you comprehend the etymology and actual meaning of the word you are using and use it as a word instead as a place holder for feelings and emotions that have other forms of expression which communicate better and get a more reasoned response. In the long run, a man who curses is a dime a dozen and if I want my dozen I have only to go to the nearest out house at a construction site and at least they are trying to be clever. Their apparent lack of talent even makes it seem charming.
Using profanities only proves the limited imagination of a writer; there are much better and creative ways to convey the message
I find the idea that every single use of profanity it due to stupidity to be profoundly condescending.
A recent poetry reading I went included a performance poem about the way women can be degraded and abused. She used the 'c' word and its use was central and vital to her message. *Not* using it would have been ridiculous in that context.
I'm not particularly a fan of resorting to being vulgar in any form of writing; but having said that, I can see how profanity may have a "place" in poetry at times.
My personal thinking goes back to what a high-school English teacher of mine used to say, "Profanity is the crutch of the verbally crippled." I think the best writers can say what needs to be said without resorting to that "crutch". Since not all writers are all that skilled, though, and I do think the use of profanity pretty much says that about the writer. Still - does it have a place? Sure. Why not. The world of writing, or writing poetry, is open to everyone - not just people who can paint an ugly picture without using profanity.
I agree Lisa, sometimes when I am writing poems it is too easy to slip into profanity. If a poem is heading down south I find it a challenge to try and get a similar meaning across without the use of profanity. But sometimes if I think the poem is great with its vulgar descriptions I keep it and I don't publish it here on hubpages. Some poems are better kept to yourself.
Profanity for me is the use of swear words and descriptions of adult content.
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