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Unread 03-27-2021, 05:08 AM
Ann Drysdale's Avatar
Ann Drysdale Ann Drysdale is offline
Join Date: Feb 2009
Location: Old South Wales (UK)
Posts: 5,505

That takes me back to an interview for a rather prestigious post - a Fellowship at the University of East Anglia in its fine new Creative Writing department. The interviewers sat in a semicircle with many a beard and sandal. One of them held a copy of my first poetry collection and asked me - "most of your present output appears to be comedic in intent. Do you ever see yourself writing tragedy?"

My reply, "I write tragedy all the time, Sir; it's you who choose to laugh at it" probably accounts for their appointment of Peter Reading to the position.

My point, though, in relation to Wiley's poem, is that one must allow a little latitude for the reader's attitude. I was sure Wiley wanted me to laugh. So I did.
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Unread 03-27-2021, 08:10 AM
Mark McDonnell Mark McDonnell is offline
Join Date: May 2016
Location: Staffordshire, England
Posts: 4,042

Hello Wiley,

Nice to meet you, though it's clear that you've been around these parts a lot longer than me. I think the poem's a fun piece of light verse and I assume not to be taken too seriously as a poetic philosophy. It made me smile and the smile broadened at the last line's snappy punchline that I read as a cheeky suggestion that tragedy gets an audience in the way that contentment doesn't.

I have one metrical suggestion. In S3L1, I kept wanting to read "But in recent poems I've tried" as trimeter starting with an anapaest (But in recent poems I've tried). So I wondered about something like "And yet in recent poems I've tried".

In S1 I'm not sure if I can grasp a significant difference between poets who "boast their misery" and ones who "prize their pain" for there to be a former/latter distinction made of them. I wondered if you might rewrite S1 to be just talking about one kind of poet. Eg

"Some poets boast their misery
and prize their inner pain.
For misery loves company
something something something"


Edit: I also wonder if "Nothing bothers me" might become "and not much bothers me". It would make the poem more metrically unified and, to me, the slight qualification makes it a bit funnier. You may disagree. As you may disagree with all of this!


Last edited by Mark McDonnell; 03-27-2021 at 08:45 AM.
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Unread 03-27-2021, 09:55 AM
Andrew Mandelbaum's Avatar
Andrew Mandelbaum Andrew Mandelbaum is offline
Join Date: Jul 2011
Location: Portland Maine
Posts: 3,627

Originally Posted by Golias View Post

Since this poem is being read but not commented upon I will carry the weeping theme on for a few weeks and see if anyone has anything to contribute to a discussion of pessimistic versus optimistic . In my reading experience the former seems to prevail. Why? Are a majority of poets sad people? Is is misery more poetic than happiness? ------Golias
No birds. No blossoms on the dried flowers.
The manes of night’s horses are translucent.
An empty boat drifts on the naked river.
Lost among grasshoppers the word is raving mad.

O. Mandelstam

According to Mandelstam poetry is, among other things, recollection and the establishment of a "continuity of the present and the past".(Freidin) What has been, what is, what can be all make their claims on the poet. The question is strange if you believe that the poetic itself is thicker in the night of these claims than in the day of conscious crafting . Some recollections are sad. Some spells are dark. Others are the counterweight to keep us from tipping over into the abyss. But tipping over into the Polyannic is more delusion than recollection. Butterfly barns establish their domes upon the cruelty and misery of pig farms or they never rise at all and remain only a brief mumble from a blindfolded serenity.
I don't like doom-erbatng anymore than ostrich odes. I think the poem written should be the one that demands to be born. Passion selective abortion as ars poetica? Meh....

And I was alive in the blizzard of the blossoming pear,
Myself I stood in the storm of the bird–cherry tree.
It was all leaflife and starshower, unerring, self–shattering
And it was all aimed at me. O.M. (trs. Wiman)
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Unread 03-29-2021, 10:51 AM
Golias Golias is offline
Join Date: Sep 2000
Location: Lewisburg, PA, USA
Posts: 1,510

Hello Ann, Mark and Andre,

Thanks much for dropping by,' reading and commenting. I pretty much agree with each of you. I try suggested improvements even though I have no plans for magazine or book publishing of any poems I write these days. They are written as therapy for the mental effects of Parkinsonism. I polish them with Deep End help in case my daughter wants to do something more with them some day.

I have a light one to post this evening and a somewhat more serious one for next week. Today's MINIMUM PAY RATE is just for fun, Ann. I hope it brings a smile. The rate of $15 per hour is actually being proposed by
some influential US congress members.

Multan dankon

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