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khashan

Is there a poetry in architecture?

17 posts in this topic

I was deeply impressed by this subject written by Jonathan Glancey because it has a lot to do with numerical prosody.

 

There is no architecture without mathematical ratios. There is no mathematics without numbers.

Rhythm is the most common factor between both. Audio rhythm in poetry and visual rhythm in architecture. Only numerical metering can be common between them and enable comparison in this regard.

 

I felt the writer has the right sensation but he lacks the proper tools. This lack of mathematical tools in reprepresenting verse rhythm is common everywhere. Needless to say that there are other aspects of similarity besides rhythm. The writer mentioned : structure and balance as well. I add rhyme sometimes.

 

I will elaborate on this topic from time to time hoping it will attract some attention .

 

I hope Iam not violating any publishing rights. If there is any violation, I request to keep the link and to omit the rest.

 

http://www.theguardian.com/global/2008/oct/21/poetry-architecture-hardy-larkin-betjeman

 

 

I s there a connection between poetry and architecture? I remember talking on this subject some while back at an Arts Council-sponsored evening at Somerset House. In preparation, I'd spent the best part of a fortnight walking through parts of London I'm particularly fond of and photographing buildings and places that seemed, to me at least, somehow poetic. I learned, by heart, a number of poems that seemed relevant to what I wanted to say. To me there was, and is, something in the structure, rhythm, balance, and the very language of architecture corresponding in certain ways with those of sonnets, odes and epics.

I didn't have an academically approved theory to back up my sentiments, yet I felt that what I had to say was in the spirit of architects, of all eras, with poetry in their souls and with the spirits, too, of poets like Hardy, Betjeman and Larkin, among many others, who have truly seen poetry in architecture.

Yet, when I had said my piece, I was torn apart by the poet Denise Riley and the author Iain Sinclair. This unyielding twosome demolished not just the decorative superstructure, but the very foundations of my argument. Piffle! Nonsense! Poppycock! This was the most stupid, most utterly inane talk they had ever heard in their lives. There has never, ever been a connection between the two, they thundered. I crept out of Somerset House like a church mouse that had been spat out by cats. My pet theory was far more ruinous than Tintern Abbey.

In foolhardy fashion, but without making a speech, I raised the point afresh last night at an event held by the literary charity, Poet in the City, in the concert hall of Kings Place, the Guardian's soon-to-be home in King's Cross close to where the young Thomas Hardy once worked as an architect, for Arthur Blomfield, before turning full-time to poetry and novels. Close, too, of course to St Pancras station and the Midland Grand hotel, an intrinsically linked pair of haunting Victorian buildings saved thanks to John Betjeman, a much loved popular poet and architectural writer greatly influenced by Hardy.

The poets who spoke last night weren't necessarily ready to agree that there is a connection between their art and architecture. Simon Barraclough, who had written poems inspired by King's Place for the occasion (the one below is a particular celebration of the concert hall we spoke in), made it clear there isn't a connection, yet did say that there is an affinity between the two.

Jacob Sam-La Rose agreed, making the point with a poem he read about a building in Lewisham he and his childhood friends took to be haunted; the building was nothing to write home about from a strictly architectural point of view, but it became the stuff of poetry when infused with the fantasies of young Londoners.

Paul Farley who was brought up in a brutalist council estate in Liverpool, yet steadfastly refuses to blame Le Corbusier (who wrote A Poem to the Right Angle, as only a truly Modern architect could) for any influence he might unwittingly have had on such terrifying forms of post-war English housing, has been inspired by architecture, but again made the point that the two arts might inform one another while being different beasts.

I'm left, slightly unsatisfied, sensing that there has been and can be a more than associative connection between the two arts, but I'd need to make a proper study of this. I'd welcome your views. There is, though, no doubt that architecture, and a keen sense of place, has been good to poetry. Think of Coleridge's Kubla Khan, Wordsworth's Lines Composed upon Westminster Bridge, whole poems by Larkin, snatches of TS Eliot, lots from Hardy, masses by Betjeman. Equally, there have been several architects or architectural enthusiasts who have been fine poets, from Michelangelo to Hardy. And, there have been, too, architects whose work surely deserves the name poetry – in stone – whether Hawksmoor, Borromini, Palladio and, yes, Le Corbusier.

The subject is potentially as long as something by Tennyson, as complex as the Four Quartets (which feature quite a bit of architecture; Eliot was good on the subject), and as rich as The Divine Comedy. Neither Sinclair or Riley will forgive me for raising the subject again, yet I can't help wondering if there's something new we could be learning here; a way, at the very least least, of imbuing contemporary architecture with a poetic vision.

Bounded in a Nutshell by Simon Barraclough

Five centuries ago, a German acorn sweetened on the branch
until it reached its crucial mass
and blew the bolts to give itself to gravity.
Then all it had to do was dodge the jay's keen beak,
the hedgehog's truffling snout, shrug off the weevil's drill.
This lucky nut was squirreled away,
a hedge fund for a hungrier day
that never came and, planted in the soil, the work began:
the cylinder of shell unscrewed, a taproot dropped,
a pale shoot periscoped towards the light,
extended leaves and rippled out its rings,
trunk thickening as history hurtled by.
Six thousand moons the shadow of the branches flew
around its base through midnight, noon, until the day
that brought the saw that bit into the bark
and turned the tree into an acre of veneer
to line this room, this snug nutshell, replanted in the earth
in which we sit and feel the taproot of the bass notes shift,
hear sonic tendrils lift.

To be continued.

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In Arabic, most of a poem's lines have the same rhyme and are composed of two parts.

The eye can not miss the relation between the succession of this mosque arches and the added poem lines

 

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tgv+satolas3-+calatrava-+lyon-+b+reitter

Calatrava, Lyon Spain.

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%D8%AA%D9%86%D8%A7%D8%B8%D8%B1.gif

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So far I have used 1 to represent the unaccented syllable and 2 to represent the accented syllable. Any two other figures would show a mathematical, graphic and architectural self-consistent representation.

 

Is there anything special about 1 and 2? The origin of western meters including English which is a stress-timed language go back to the classic quantitative Greek and Latin.

 

In quantitative meters which includes Indian and Arabic as well, a short syllable Cv has one consonant; a long syllable CvC has two consonants. Thus, if we don’t count the short syllable the counted letters in a syllable is its numerical symbol. Since an open syllable CV is composed of a consonant and a long vowel, 2 as a symbol is equal to its letter numbers. So using these two numerical symbols 1 and 2 to respectively represent the short and long syllables in quantitative meters is factual and not just a matter of convenience. Consequently, it would – at least - be convenient to use them in English meters 1 to represent the unaccented and 2 to represent the accented. Jeremy Scott used them in the opposie order ( page 191) of his book " Creative Writing ……."

 

metrical%20patterns.gif

 

No harm is done by using any two figures or symbols just as a denoting means. Using numerical symbols to compare both audio and video rhythms will be meaningless if there is no real – or at least logical - relation between the numbers used and the rhythmic or metric measured items.

 

The success of introducing this numerical representation was so limited in Arabic and was refused by one English forum.

 

I believe this approach deserves the right to be checked at least . It is convenient to remention :

 

http://samples.sainsburysebooks.co.uk/9781118894125_sample_948142.pdf

 

Charles O. Harman in his book : Verse an introduction to prosody - page 87 :

 

Meter%20numerical%20prosody.gif

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Example on the principle of rotation according to meter clock.

 

 

its%20four.gif

Theoretically speaking, this part " in the morning, the end of December " may belong to any of the three meters. i.e. if we tell three people that they will listen to a part of a line without necessarily starting with the first foot then ask them about the meter of that portion, and we received three different answers. All of the three are right, that means the same rhythm may belong to three different meters.

 

We know every meter has its own rhythm. Both different statements are true. Are both statements objective on the same level?

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Li-Young Lee and the Architecture of Poetry

"This month, the bookclub read Book of My Nights, by Li-Young Lee. The most interesting part of the discussion, for me, was about Lee’s articulate and enlightening interviews regarding craft. His most stunning metaphor was comparing poetry to architecture. Just like in architecture, he said, poetry is not so much about the materials you use (bricks/mortar, or language), but about space. You can use the same physical materials to create a number of different

structures, but it’s the use of space and silence that make the creations unique. In many ways, space and silence are what distinguish poetry from prose. "

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UNSPACING: THE ARCHITECTURE OF POETRY IN SHELLEY'S 'ALASTOR' AND KEATS' 'THE FALL OF HYPERION'

"Focusing on Alastor and The Fall of Hyperion, this seminar explores how catastrophic changes like world-urbanization are imprinted on poetry as a hidden figure, altering the very “space of literature” in the Romantic period. In contrast to Wordsworth’s Prelude, which keeps city and country separate, in Alastor nature is traversed by ruined cities, disorienting the poem’s internal architecture, and making it difficult to bring the poem into focus generically or emotionally. To adapt Freud, some radical event has bypassed the outer surface of consciousness and gone inside, rendering consciousness superficial and the unconscious inaccessible. Keats’s poem more consciously thematizes its own architecture so as to unground the existing conceptuality of poetry, initiating a radically modern concept of poetry as a displaced wandering through the waste land of psyche and culture that points forward to Nerval, Rimbaud and Baudelaire."

---


By simply looking at a building, are you familiar with or able to distinguish its features to determine what influenced its design? Are you able to decipher where the Sydney Opera House, the Taj Mahal, the Eiffel Tower, the Guggenheim Museum or the Pyramids are located based on their design, structure and cultural origins? Architects employ the process of planning, designing and constructing buildings, other structures or environments based on a blueprint, suggested materials to be used and technical specifications for executing production. When composing different types of poetic expressions, the same type of process is used to design and develop poetry variations.


ArchiPoetry, a term coined and defined as the architecture or art and science of building a poem, is based on structural elements of creation. There are over fifty different types of poetry and each expression has its own blueprint for creation, construction and completion. By combining the use of language, imagery, metaphors and specific patterns of structure, the design elements of ArchiPoetry have different disciplines and poetic variations. Types of poetry such as a Haiku, Ode, Limerick, Quatrain, Tanka or Sestina, for example, are composed based on their usage of stanzas, syllables, rhyme schemes, repetition of formats and strategic styles.

---




"By simply looking at a building, are you familiar with or able to distinguish its features to determine what influenced its design? Are you able to decipher where the Sydney Opera House, the Taj Mahal, the Eiffel Tower, the Guggenheim Museum or the Pyramids are located based on their design, structure and cultural origins? Architects employ the process of planning, designing and constructing buildings, other structures or environments based on a blueprint, suggested materials to be used and technical specifications for executing production. When composing different types of poetic expressions, the same type of process is used to design and develop poetry variations.


ArchiPoetry, a term coined and defined as the architecture or art and science of building a poem, is based on structural elements of creation. There are over fifty different types of poetry and each expression has its own blueprint for creation, construction and completion. By combining the use of language, imagery, metaphors and specific patterns of structure, the design elements of ArchiPoetry have different disciplines and poetic variations. Types of poetry such as a Haiku, Ode, Limerick, Quatrain, Tanka or Sestina, for example, are composed based on their usage of stanzas, syllables, rhyme schemes, repetition of formats and strategic styles."

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Architecture, poetry meter , music , biological rhythm , economy and all types of visual ,oral and unexpected rhythms have one common denominator which is mathematics. Mathematics is the abstract common language that enables us to represent almost all types in the same way. This makes comparison feasible between seemingly two faraway fields of rhythm.


Photo references :







comparative%20rhythm.gif

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I was impressed by this you tube because of the general context that calls to think of mathematics as an abstract language that deals with different scientific physical fields, and shows the role it played in their progress.




Most impressing is statements are those between 11:44 and 12:34.

Quote : " Mathematics is all that it is . There is nothing else but mathematics.


Many of my colleagues will say that it describes our physical reality. It is our physical reality.


Our physical world does not have some mathematical properties; but has only mathematical properties."


The implication of ( physical reality ) may sound to limit the application of math to physical science thus excluding Arts.

That may explain the clear relations or analogies between magnetism , Electricity and gravity. Unlike the ambiguity of the relation or analogy between Architecture and poetry.


He who believes the physical is fully controlled by mathematical relation should extend his belief to cover the unphysical products and activities of Man. Thus in - principle- Mathematics should fully describe poetry, sociology a, psychology and architecture .


Arts benefitted from math but less than sciences did.. Had arts been considered as the "science of arts" and dealt with accordingly, there might have been a difference. At least, Jonathan Glancey would not have " crept out of Somerset House like a church mouse that had been spat out by cats" for saying that there is poetry in architecture.


Coming to our topic of meters, I have a feeling that a lot of feasible progress though the study of mathematical properties of meters was lost.

This might have been a result of the contrast impact on the English poets by their discovery that "they were doing something that was very different from that they thought they were doing"


History of Ancient Greek by A.-F. Christidis


short-long-greek.gif


The terms of English prosody were borrowed from Ancient Greek and Latin.

The contrast between accentual English prosody and Ancient Greek and Latin quantitative prosodies may have left the impression that unlike the quantitative prosody, the English prosody has no mathematical features.




"English is a stress-timed language, French is syllable-timed. Poets in both languages made efforts to import the quantitative metres from classical Greek and Latin. In French these attempts failed in a very short time, and became mere historical curiosities. French poetry remained with the syllabic versification system, which is congenial to a syllable-timed language. English Renaissance poets thought they succeeded in the adaptation of the quantitative metre. But they were doing something that was very different from what they thought they were doing: working in a stress timed language, they based their metre on the more or less regular alternation of stressed and unstressed syllables, and not as they thought, on the regular alternation of longer and shorter syllables. They used the same names and graphic notation for the various metres, but the system was utterly different, and well- suited to the nature of a stress-timed language"


I hope this thread will help the growth of a mathematical sense that deals with meters and may be other poetic features.


unfortunately nobody commented.


I will appreciate it if you leave your general impression about this topic.

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This is an excel graphic representation of two Arabic lines of Kamil meter.


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Meaning translation :



A language that Allah granted iternity

It's perfume is filling space

It is shining with the glory of dhad letter

And its honey is filing the mouth of time.


**


There seems to be architecture in poetry.

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