Arts Hierarchies

You may notice I often use a capital letter for the word ‘Arts’. It is not done for pomp or pretentiousness, but to be inclusive of all genres (branches) of the arts.

When I say ‘art’ people usually only think of visual arts and many wouldn’t include photography in that definition; they wouldn’t even think of it for consideration. Some art shows have no category for photography, despite artists lobbying for it for years.

When considering arts, writing (in all its forms) is most often forgotten or omitted, in my experience.

And within ‘writing’ poetry seems to be considered a poor relation, perhaps mistakenly thought to require less skill than writing prose. This is reflected in the many writing competitions that award a smaller prize in the poetry categories. (Often as much as $100 smaller!)

Then within the poetry genre and also in children’s picture books, rhyming poetry seems to be held in the least regard. Writers are often discouraged to submit it to publishers.

The reason is not one of fashion (though in other centuries non-rhyming poetry was an exception rather than the norm). The reason publishers may cringe when presented with rhyming stanzas, is because it requires a skill so few have acquired, let alone mastered.

It is an unpleasant experience for both reader and audience if the tongue trips over poorly constructed lines. We read with a rhythm that we expect to continue. It should deliver clear pictures and story without the jolt of a misplaced word or words that require rereading.

Our job as writers is to convey story – clearly. As soon as a reader’s attention is drawn out of the story and onto the page, we have failed them to some extent. This is another reason for the workshopping, editing, redrafting and final proof reading that hones a well crafted piece of writing.

It does take skill. All art forms take skill. And practice. And they all need to contain an idea to be developed and communicated.

In my mind there is no hierarchy in art forms. There may, however; be hierarchy in skill development thus affecting the delivery of high quality Arts.

And that may impair understanding, leading to a hierarchy of appreciation.

Of course this is all subjective. What do you think? What is your experience with Arts hierarchy?


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