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  #21  
Unread 02-23-2021, 11:44 AM
Yves S L Yves S L is offline
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Hello Daniel Kemper,

When a poet is being this AMBITIOUS, not merely posting poems on Eratosphere to see what folk say, but planting one's flag in the landscope of poetic technique, then one wonders what is this poem doing that Eliot (https://www.poetryfoundation.org/poe...the-waste-land) did not do, that Whitman (https://www.poetryfoundation.org/poe...ooryard-bloomd) and Tennyson (https://www.poetryfoundation.org/poe...67/maud-part-i) did not do before him, that Hart Crane (https://www.poetryfoundation.org/poe...rooklyn-bridge) did not do after. And is not Sonate Allegro form merely an expanded ABA form and have poets not been using such structures for thousands of years?

Let us sidestep all of that. For me the basic issue is that the formal constraints of this poem vis-a-vis its length means that one is always having to find something to say to fulfill the rhyme scheme, but that inevitably results in the poem not being able maintain its height, of having to use very familiar emotional progressions, rhetorical schemes, wisdom phrases, and so on; but also that the monochrome tone treats the highpoints similarly to the lowpoints, and this contrast between the highpoints and the lowpoints and the continually elevated bardic-droning creates for me an unintentional humorous contrast.

Example 1:

[1] The following fragment is so much better than the stuff around it:

"The daughter, flush with youth and drifting like a speck
of pollen, hair around her neck
like petals on a flower, feels just air,
not where
the stem of it
supports her dreams".

And so much more interesting than the flatly prosaic:

"Her cries
of ecstasy and grief are only sighs
right now".

Example 2:

Take the following passage:

"A puddle here,
regathers yesterday and year
for everyone.
The sun
has pulled another day out of the fading black
and passing fog. In coming back
it overcomes what darkness undermines
and shines".

All this "THE WISDOM OF DECAY" and the poem is basically is, despite the bardic droning, is straight ending on a show tune: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Yop62wQH498

C'est suffit.
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  #22  
Unread 02-25-2021, 05:39 AM
Mark McDonnell Mark McDonnell is offline
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Hey Daniel.

I went through the reasons this doesn't quite engage me in my previous post. What I do quite like is the overall shape and some of the ideas (I think). Here's my synopsis. I suppose I want to a) prove to you I did read the whole thing and b) check if I'm on the right lines.


A city wakes. The early morning garbage men are lauded for being Zenlike. There are hints at an ineffable something, a deeper meaning or purpose to reality. "Darkling" hints at Hardy's thrush, singing for some mysterious hope in a hopeless world.

A man is making coffee, thinking about these deep ineffable matters. The speaker discusses the wife and (step?)daughter aging (but not the man, for some reason). The daughter is outside waving goodbye (going to work? school?) and the wife slips out to see her then comes back. There is a metaphor of the stem and the petals (for permanence and impermanence?) and lots more discussion of the women's varying attitudes to their aging. The metaphor of the stem/petals is expanded on in the "Recapitulation" section, (though I have a hard time grasping it and a lot of this section, including the significance of coffee). The coda suggest there is always permanence and decay, knowns and unknowns. Life is a mystery. The day ends.

Apart from the faint whiff of a patronising attitude to women ( "it happens that it's men" about the garbage-collectors also stood out as kind of defensive), I feel I would quite like to read this poem if someone showed me this synopsis.

Along with the stylistic crits I gave earlier, I just don't know if what you bring to this situation sustains across or justifies 50 stanzas. I think the poem is making heavy weather of its ideas.

Best

Mark

Last edited by Mark McDonnell; 02-25-2021 at 08:34 AM.
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  #23  
Unread 02-25-2021, 08:36 AM
W T Clark W T Clark is online now
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Hello Daniel,
Here are some line by line comment.


Concerto for the Human Voice: The Wisdom of Decay
Meta-Formalist Poem, Beta version
Five sections, total reading time (out loud) ~ 25 min --I know it's l.o.n.g.

#############
ON FORM AND META-FORM (then to the poem -- belated preface)
Virtually all English metrical poetry prior to this, specifically in terms of meter itself and generally in terms of sonics, is a chant. (Roman? Gallican? Gregorian?)

...buh-BAH buh-BAH buh-BAH buh-BAH buh-BAH buh-BAH buh-BAH buh-BAH buh-BAH buh-BAH

The lengthy are epics/liturgies; the brief, folk songs/fixed forms.

...buh-BAH buh-BAH buh-BAH buh-BAH buh-BAH buh-BAH buh-BAH buh-BAH buh-BAH buh-BAH

It's time for more. (Medieval? Renaissance? Baroque?) The organization of sound in poetry has gorgeous potential not even scratched yet.

I said this in beta and know it has shortcomings. It is symphonic/sonata in form as stanzas are arranged but mixed w/sonnet (Eng. & Ital). Variation and return was the call in my heart.

In retrospect, I think mixing variations of sonnet structure with a poetic version of sonata form was an error in judgement. I tried to get too much in, made too much complexity.

The strength of the meta-form itself came forward though, because despite those errors, the feeling, thought and thrust were still largely carried. Lesson learned: choose either variatons on a sonnet or stick with sonata form. Lesson learned: the concept itself has strength and can be a viable way of writing pieces of extended length.

NO randomness though. None. Yet free.

This is not a fixed form, just as symphonies are not fixed forms. It is the result of a way of looking at the music of words so that a poet can *produce fixed forms*. A form of making forms; hence, "meta-formal" poetics.

###############



***Introduction***


A troubled night
drew back belatedly; the light
all gray and gray and gray
today.
At first I thought "today" was banal, but then I reconsidered. Today contrasts with night, but also brings the attention back to the day, as well as reaffirming its existence. I believe it to be effective.
But always there are fires, always there are stones
and always unrepentant groans
for sky and street, a sigh from every door through
for more.
"from every door" is a little hard to believe. First, we must suspend belief that the narrator is able to apprehend the sighing. Secondly, why are the inhabitants of every single house standing by their door and sighing? Presuming that each house is not a single one-rooom apartment, why wouldn't individuals be sighing in their bedrooms? This for me strays into the overly-poetic and therefore unrealistic territory, confer. the poetic sounding sigh with realistic yawn.

The dawn
has passed in rain, but now a light is drawn
between the buildings; sky wears through
Is "between" the most imaginative choice? Surely such imagery could use a less standard choice than "between"?
the clouds. It is not golden toned. It is not blue.
I find "golden toned" clunky.
It moans
as rusty cobblestones
wear through the tar, in slow reprise,
and so we rise.
Why the shift from third-person to plural first person? Why not set these apart in separate sections?

A puddle shines
as mirrors shine, as it combines
a glow that cannot crack
with black
and all the world reflected there climbs toward the sun
in walls of windows, waking one by one.
Above the alley glimmerings appear.
Not here.
Cut "not here".

The rain,
since past, has found its ground like wisdom, pain,
humility and heart, and from
This feels like a clot of abstractions which seem unjustified. You might be able to get away with "wisdom, pain" at the most.
the widest watersheds the weight has come
to this,
a pool of painful bliss,
a formless, framed integrity,
a broken city.
You should remove "painful bliss", the poem does not need it.

***Exposition***


The puddle at
the alley's edge lays like a mat
but quivers, ripples when
just then,
"just then" interferes with the present tense, it feels rhyme driven.
the ground around it's shaken by a garbage truck
that backing out, was almost stuck,
The tenses continue to clash.
and scrapes a rusty set of steps that rise
and rise

as eyes
emerge through dusty blinds to scrutinize
the awful sound. The trash-men duck
and cringe and carry on, but who would not be struck
by men
-- it happens that it's men --
This is a very bad line. Delete. Delete.
who smile and laugh, and work like that,
like that!

Who tries
to smile through the broken bags and flies,
the banging metal, mire, muck,
the withering looks of those they serve? Who’d give a fuck?
And then
they do it all again,
again. They have it so down pat.
They chat

and pause and chat
again, and flawlessly combat
fatigue, despair. Such Zen,
these men,
in whom no past indignity has ever stuck.
Their minds are mirrors; I'm awestruck.
They blow their horn and fade through fog. No sighs
or cries,

but only flat
and empty space. A wonder that
the alley's both the city's glen
and fen
of human hurting, hoping, happiness, of luck
and fate, of whispers best to tuck
away, of serenades that scandalize
the skies.

We rise
the same way walls of background windows rise
through this, whose waxing auras pluck
the amber from the sun, from coffee fires struck
back when
no darkling hint had been
in sight that there is more to where we're at
than that.

Sunrise
has almost come, but at this hour lies
below the gray, gray, gray, still stuck
in limbo. Doors re-open; faces slumber-struck
Yes, this is sonically interesting, but "slumber-struck" sounds as if Pope had written it. It's out of place in this century.
as when
they dreamed, yawn, groan and then
move on. And yet there's life in that,
a gesture at

the waking that
arrives with tones both sharp and flat
of women and of men
as then
the lights come up. The breeze and footfalls are the pluck
and bow of strings. A chord's been struck.
The blue of everyone begins to rise,
to rhapsodize.
Why not simply "begins to rhapsodize"?

***Development***


Horiz-
ons split: the darkened earth, the lightened skies.
Inside the buildings, dawn peers through
the steam-edged windows, golden-toned and fuzzy blue.
You're beginning to repeat yourself. In fact, I would advise cutting the entire first section. I don't think it adds anything that the following sections do not. Horioz/ons is a clever opening, though.
The men
and women, waking then
share all the faults the days reprise.
They know. They rise.

Above the alley, where the metal scaffolds block
the stubborn windows that won't lock,
and through the panes and in the kitchen where
the air
is barely lit
by flame and stove-light over it
a hand removes a pot
but not

the troubled night.
I'm not so sure this reads as intelligently as you wish. Placing the removal of a pot beside the inability to remove "the troubled nights" is vaguely comic. Beware portentousness.
The hand draws back belatedly from light
and heat. Then click. And that
is that.
But always we have fires, always we have stones
and always unrepentant groans,
desires, and burdens that we all despise
and prize.

The dawn
has passed in rain, but now as light is drawn
in windows, water's drawn into
an old French press. The steam rolls up from the dark brew.

And moans.
And rusty cobblestones
outside below are hinting at
the reason that
After this passage I am even more sure you can cut part 1.

an emptiness persists. The street is slick
with runoff rain and calls. The trick
is serve the coffee. Do not think about
the doubt.
This is quite good.
Of course the press
can't moan and streets can't call, much less
the nights, in tears, depart.
The heart

expels all that:
the rest are echoes back. The flat,
old gray and gray and gray,
today,
is drifting off. The coffee's served. The table's set.
His mind's on what he can't forget
of sky and street, and sighs behind a door
for more.
The sights are now "for more"? Again, this is vaguely attenuated by the sense of being rhyme-driven.

The French roast shines
as mirrors shine, as it combines
the black and light again
with when
the private worlds reflected there climbed toward the sun
in walls of windows, waking one by one.
But as the man begins to realize,
he sighs,

"Mornin' Evelynn."
Chuckling softly, "Welcome! Come in,
Redley. Drink your coffee."
Softly,
sipping, minutes slipping past, he chooses
"Bet you wondered where the muses
left me," as his phrasing to engage her,
assuage her...

Her eyes
reflect the breadth of years, but synthesize
humility and heart, and from
those widest watersheds her wait has come
to when
she asks for more. Just then,
his formless, framed integrity,
his broken city,

that's stirred in that
imagined cup of his, goes flat.
Her glow, it cannot crack.
A blackened
silhouette slips out a window. She can see
her daughter wave. Well, c'est la vie.
Along the alley footprints disappear
from here.

She's misgiven,
tiptoes to her daughter's heaven,
while he makes her coffee,
softly
wipes the sill of prints -- she can guess the ruses,
doesn’t question how the muses
tempt her daughter, or the way to gauge her
teenager.

The rain,
since past, has found its ground like wisdom, pain;
and what remains, is what endures:
The wisdom of decay. She's back. Her husband pours
her this,
this cup of painful bliss,
she wipes her hands and lays them flat
and that is that.

The daughter, flush with youth and drifting like a speck
of pollen, hair around her neck
like petals on a flower, feels just air,
not where
the stem of it
supports her dreams, and not a bit
of parents, garbage men,
or Zen.

Her cries
I believe the comparison of women to flowers is a long-standing, and sexist tradition. Still, I can appreciate the description, although I have to contextualise it into a tradition of sexism.
of ecstasy and grief are only sighs
right now, a breeze she'll gather from
another room and hour, eventually the sum
of when
the dawn and dusk again
reveal in their decay what's at
the end of that.

What she's given
isn't what endures, but Evelynn
has some petals off; she
smiles; she
knows the stem appears because it loses
petals. How the time abuses
daughter-angels. So why gauge her
teenager?

The girl is at
the time where sense obscures all that
supports her angel's ken.
"angel's ken" um, no.
But when
caught up in thorns and blooms and leaves, we all forget
the wisdom of the stem. We get
conscripted by the press of hands and eyes
and thighs.
So you're blaming her for having a sexual awakening, instead of understanding some form of a Platonic stem?

It's dim and cold, but here what spring and morning lack
Is what cannot be lured back,
but what might be recaptured. C'est la guerre,
all's fair,
or isn't it?
The wisdom of decay has writ
with unrepentant pen,
again.

Her eyes,
at start of summer romance cannot realize
that she must come,
eventually, to siege a winter castle from
the men
who just withdraw til when
her c'est l'amour is staring at
the scope of that

endless, driven
snow where toute est juste... is given
echoes of Tchaikovski,
softly.
As in ears of Frenchmen. Still her heart refuses
everything of why the muses'
taunting trillings played in E-flat Major
age her.

Une breve eclat
de larmes. It's foreign, yes, but at
the same time known. Though gently
entertaining
notions of forever after, she
is cut by what she feels to be
decay on which each tear of things relies,
and dies.


***Recapitulation***


Though Evelynn might
evade her husband, Redley's, sight
when slipping out, once she
can see
his smiling face as she slips back, she grins and groans.
He chuckles too and makes no bones
about it, only teases in return,
"My turn."

His eyes,
in-lit with gentle mischief, satirize
her trip, "And welcome! Come in! Glad
you're back; your coffee's warm." He twinkles, "Why so sad?"
They enter
ever so, so tenderly
into a conversation.
That’s their way.

What we're given,
leaves and blooms, the scent of heaven,
fade and cool like coffee.
Coffee:
Daughters hate the cup their mothers drink. It loses
gall with time, but as the muses
dazzle Evelynn's girl, enrapture or enrage her,
they age her.

Now Evelynn's at
a time, half dawn, half evening, that
she hates. O gray, gray, gray,
none stay.
The vacant, inter-tenemental spaces let
our hollow-chest-clad hearts forget
what fragile, skull-clad minds cannot endure:
the pure
This is quite good.

is gone.
She's walked from room to vacant room and on,
half hoping, dreading that the madness
of her girl will pass. She’s scared. She knows it’s bad
and groans,
but strict and pious tones
although they’re lofty, show us that
their grasp is flat.

Redley's havin'
none of all that Evelynn
serves him now and scoffs, he
coughs, he
shifts in silence though before he disabuses
what she says. It's right. The muses
leave them each descending. What is left me
of me?

Although they might
have joined before the wedding night,
and nothing gold can stay,
and they
are less, as down the rising count of years they're drawn;
what they loved well, it has not gone
so Mister Clay and Misses Clay adore
it more.

What's gone,
reveals such stuff as dreams were carried on,
but not the dreams, themselves. They flew
like petals on the wind, but once the wind withdrew
the groans
of ecstasy, the groans
of grief -- what's left us is called wise
and makes us rise.

Although we might
caress and bless the petals, spite
and fight the thorns, the day
can't stay.
We still must grasp the stem. The bones
protrude, flesh sags, but something hones
a purpose. It's not only to endure,
"hones / a purpose" is admirable.
but more;

what's gone
reveals the wonder of what's carried on
again. The black reveals the blue;
the door reveals the passage to
unknowns;
diminuendo tones
prepare the longing soul to rise,
to rhapsodize.

Concerto lines
emerge from noise as each combines
with themes that cycle back
to crack
the purpose of decay if ever there was one.
A purpose. Always there is one
that makes the wisdom that was so unclear,
appear.

A painful
flash and crashing trash the brain:
the evening has already come.
The day has passed away unnoticed; now, by some
omission
or by some commission,
shows with off-tone clarity,
mortality.

The stain
of small black sky outside the window pane,
and alley-pool mysterium
that's always there though no one knows where it came from,
elicit
in the coffee, this
profound compound eternity
of our city.
Since eternity is typically a quite profound subject, could you switch profound for some concrete adjective.

The black combines
with fading blue and golden spines
of solar embers tacking
back
to take us under sail, but as our time is done,
we re-behold, just one
by one, the stars that from the blank austere
appear.


***CODA***


A puddle here,
regathers yesterday and year
for everyone.
The sun
has pulled another day out of the fading black
and passing fog. In coming back
it overcomes what darkness undermines
and shines.

The city
in all its gritty
and glorious recurring bliss,
its safe position on the edge of such abyss,
in sum,
remains unsounded: from
the darkness, light we can't explain
and joy from pain.

And so days rise
in full view of decay, reprise
the wants-and-weights, fires-stones,
and moans
of grief and ecstasy, and then emerge in blue
along the alleyway where through
angelic garbage men, again, have drawn
the dawn.
Why not so other adjective suggestive of "angelic" but not as full-throatedly poetic.

These poor
reflections here: What can they reassure?
It's true that always there are knowns.
They fade. And always, enigmatically, unknowns.
They stay.
We know -- O gray gray gray
a troubled final flash of white
then night.

Though some of this strays into the overly poetic, and I find certain sections too heavily repetitive, I think the poem would succeed: after a couple strong revisions.

Hope this helps.
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  #24  
Unread 02-25-2021, 09:08 AM
W T Clark W T Clark is online now
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mark McDonnell View Post
Hi Daniel,

There’s absolutely no questioning your ambition and sheer commitment here. The patterning of the poem is interesting: each stanza made up of rhyming couplets of varying iambic length, from mono to hex, clearly structured (I think) so that each pair of stanzas creates a mirror image of each other in terms of line length (and sometimes rhyme). I didn’t check the entire poem for this consistency but that’s the pattern I spotted in the initial stanzas. So it’s a kind of heterometrical structure that repeats, with variations, throughout the length of the poem. I didn’t quite grasp your idea in your preface that this constitutes some brand new kind of poetry (meta formal?), or at all recognise or agree with your claim that “Virtually all English metrical poetry prior to this, (my bold) specifically in terms of meter itself and generally in terms of sonics, is a chant”. But your enthusiastic hubris made me smile anyway.

I do think the poem over-reaches itself in terms of length. I confess I got a bit bored and had to keep taking a deep breath and starting again. I just don’t think there is enough content and variety to the voice to justify the length here. Whole sections of the poem seem to suggest to me a speaker enamoured of his own voice and his ability to fit this voice into the metrical/rhyming pattern he has created. And it is a smoothly mellifluous voice, there’s no doubt about it, and there are some lovely lines and sharp images here. But there’s too much of it and too much of it feels indistinct, prolonged and mushy. It’s like “Rhapsody on a Wind Night” the extended remix (with a bit of "Portrait of a Lady") but without anything as striking as “Midnight shakes the memory /As a madman shakes a dead geranium”. Here, for instance. Every time I read it I find my attention drifting away among the vague, poetically elevated airiness of the language. I also think your chosen stanzaic structure of rhyming couplets (often with repeated rhymes) combined with many lines of a very short length means that the rhymes really announce themselves. In a poem of 50 stanzas this gets wearying for me. I can appreciate the skill and commitment but it begins to feel like I'm reading a kind of performance of rhyming.



Even here, there is nice stuff. I like the last bit — the waking city described as music: "The breeze and footfalls are the pluck / and bow of strings. A chord's been struck. / The blue of everyone begins to rise". But I feel like I have to wade through lots of verbiage for these moments.

I think Sarah-Jane made a good point here

the overarching voice reads (for me) as detached, and although not dictatorial, it’s calmly telling me things through the poem. It doesn't lose its temper at any point, or fray, or whisper.

I agree. When the poem shifts to describing things that are more concrete, with more immediate action, such as the garbage men or the dialogue sections between the couple, the voice and tone don’t seem to change. They retain the same mellifluous, Godlike flow. The effect becomes soporific for me after a while and stops these more quotidian elements from standing out or, indeed, from feeling like anything resembling real life or genuine situations, however smoothly expressed. Here eg:



Because a three line piece of dialogue has to have all this poetic, verbal furniture around it, it robs it of immediacy and realism for me. And it blends into its surroundings.

I have to confess I chuckled at the first dialogue section (below) and wondered how autobiographical this was. I make it a policy not to tell Mrs McD anything about my poems unless one gets published. That arrangement seems to suit both of us:



OK, I’m starting to get flippant, so it’s time to stop. I don’t have a problem with the length, Daniel, I just don’t know if the content sustains the length. I don’t get twitchy reading “Rime of the Ancient Mariner” or “Goblin Market” or "The Wreck of the Deutschland" or “The Waste Land” or even “Song of Myself”. There’s variety in those long poems, either in terms of narrative incident or variation of tone. Here, despite the smooth prettiness and skill of much of the writing, there isn’t enough of one or the other of those things. For me, anyway. Others may differ.

I hope you get more replies. I usually avoid The Deep End because I think it’s a silly, elitist idea (short version) but I do recognise the sheer amount of work that has gone into this, so I thought I’d drop by. There is skillful handling of metre and rhyme here, but for this to work for me I would need either more incident and concrete imagery and less abstract musing or more variety to the structure or for the whole thing to be shortened and compressed.

Actually, a separate forum for poems of, say, 50 lines or more would make some sense. The Long End…?

Edit: is the word "through" at S1L7 a random cut'n'paste accident?


As an afterthought, I second Yves and Mark. For me, the tone is too highly poetic, at times a little boring, and heavily wordy. The interesting conponents are buried a little too deeply.

Hope this helps.
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  #25  
Unread 02-27-2021, 09:42 AM
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Daniel Kemper Daniel Kemper is offline
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Yves,
For the moment, I'm going to stub this: Let's NOT sidestep those poets.
Just structurally:
[Bridge] (Crane) Awesome riffs, but word salad. Deliberately descended from/response to Eliot.
e.g. Till elevators drop us from our day || Till human voices wake us and we drown.
Not just easter-eggs; a deliberate response. No defect per se, just definitional.
Wasteland (Eliot), explicitly no structure, save what's little owed to [Lilacs].
Lilacs (Whitman) Loosely elegaic. No consistent structure.
Maud (Tennyson) Narrative, with multiple (actual) poetic forms and meters. (Very nice.)
Forms and meters of indiviual poems not structurally related to each other.
Lines, stanzas, sections not structurally related to each other.
No overarching structure -- there is an overarching theme, not structure
A book of verse, but on one subject, formed into one poem. Just add page breaks.

Structural summary: Crane derived from Eliot derived from Whitman. Free verse all. Riffs of word salad and discontinuity. Maude, a medley of forms, a survey of verse, a study in one character, a chapbook in one poem.

You're kidding right? What's similar?

There's more to say, but it will have to wait a bit.

Mark
Thank's a ton for time you've spent with this poem; I gain a lot from it.

[enthusiastic hubris] If you're gonna walk on thin ice, you might as well dance.

I need to elaborate more than I have time/space here to do, but I'm getting there-- this being the first of a kind, there's a lot more I need to say about it. I think I've figured a good way now. Probably Monday/Tuesday. Between now and then, a pseudo-synopsis. BTW - I do see a lot of flaws, but its critical I get well-defined what I'm aiming at. I'm as concerned about the meta-form as I am this particular execution of it.

This is a Concerto, not a tale told step-by-step. It has to be approached as a Concerto, a symphony.

All that it offers, it does not necessarily offer by telling but by showing. For example, much is done by motif*, which changes the meaning of callbacks by slight modification of them or the altered context in which they appear. Each of those motifs have their own brief, but deep tales to tell throughout the story. Themes are stated early and simply, so that they can be developed later.
That makes synopsis problematic, because all those tools of expression are left out. It's like saying of a Shakespeare sonnet. "OK, [she's pretty; you want to kiss her]. I get it. But that's seven words, not 14 lines." I go a bit far, but you take my point, right?

The reader has to take some time to pan back and slow down; the poem takes time to make it's points. There's lots going on in the meantime, most of which will have their moment to make a point, to be the focus, --and this happening by techniques that won't be captured in a synopsis. That said, synopsis, is a starting point.

*not the really right word, but image isn't right either.


"A city wakes." - Good example to start with. --I know you're basically just being brief for the post, but the way in which the city waking is described isn't just for engaging imagery.

The City Wakes:
From the first to the third stanza, for example, we start from the faintest hint of not-night, gray light, light between buildings (not yet to the ground)

|| meanwhile the rain is pulling back about as slowly as night, though it's pulling back first, hence the night "passed in rain" and the sky is barely coming through the clouds.

+ These symbols then join in the puddle. The rain and tears, night and emptiness, light and hope unite in the puddle, which is a reflection, a mirror, whose brightness/whiteness can't be mentioned without the fact that the backing of mirrors is black. An individual puddle. [Later mind/mirror stuff, hinted at by Garbagemen zen.]

Ah but the camera pans back up to show us that same reflection in window after window after window, universalizing the reflection/observation, the reflection/literal image.

"Not here" The camera regathers our view at the point of the puddle, which gathers all these images and observations. The rain, as grief, is gathered into mind for contemplation (literal mentions of wisdom, pain, etc) and we are going to delve in.

For all stuff that packed into the introduction, its important to listen to the pure sounds of the poem also. Concerto's are usually roughly about 1/2 hour long. To read and absorb and be carried along similarly, as themes of sound and structure circle round and back is a major point. One wouldn't say of Beethoven's Ninth, "I could just have read Schiller's poem."

Whiskey-Tango-Clark HA! Hey dude, thinking what I said to Mark will be of similar use to you.
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  #26  
Unread 02-27-2021, 09:46 AM
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revise: Hey WT! I see you've gone line by line now. That's a lot of work --thank you! It will take me time to take it in. But thank you. I do appreciate the feedback!

ps - fixed the cut/past mistake
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  #27  
Unread 03-01-2021, 02:14 PM
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Hey Cameron,
Here are some line by line considerations. That was a great deal of work that you did. Thank you for that.

###############

[today.][At first] --> thank you. A lot of [concerto] works like that.


##"from every door" [hard to believe] I hope you reconsider this; to know that sighs are there is different from hearing. Anywhere behind the door works. One sighs from world weariness; one yawns from sleepiness. These people are waking up world-weary is the assertion-- or the speaker might be projecting, or both. All work.

##Is "between" the most imaginative choice? Surely such imagery could use a less standard choice than "between"? --> ?It's a preposition.?

the clouds. It is not golden toned. It is not blue.
##I find "golden toned" clunky. --> Maybe. Too much Maxfield Parish. Need the contrast though. Will ponder it a bit.

##Why the shift from third-person to plural first person? --> To bring the reader in. It was the intention from the start. "And so" using the sense of "and likewise" as well as "and next" and "and also"

##Why not set these apart in separate sections? --> Your proposal for a fix shows I need to spend a little more time on *why* this form is different and requires a different reading. Can't read Basho like Pope etc. Concertos might narrate, but they are not narratives. That's not "on" anyone; it's new. Hope to elaborate in a day or two. A fix could not possibly involve re-sectioning, though it might be argued that the shift should be fixed.

##Cut "not here". --> Another place where it shows, you're not *quite* there with the form. You might want it revised, non disputum, but the fix absolutely cannot be a cut.

The rain, / since past, has found its ground like wisdom, pain, / humility and heart, and from

##[abstractions] [unjustified.] --> Maybe, but these are refrains and contrasts whose specific threads are trailed throughout. They are components of getting wisdom from decay.

the widest watersheds the weight has come / to this, / a pool of painful bliss, / a formless, framed integrity, / a broken city.

##[remove "painful bliss"] --> Again, removing the line can't happen. Will think through, re-examine the threads that [...humility and heart] & [painful bliss]. That this is what the puddle gathers, and are suprising opposites unified, and continue the opposites themes, and is something of the human condition: we love it though it hurts all seem worthwhile.


The puddle at / the alley's edge lays like a mat / but quivers, ripples when / just then,
##"just then" interferes with the present tense, it feels rhyme driven. --> I don't feel the interruption, I feel accentuation/concentraction. It functions, but you are right; it's not innocent from rhyme-drive.

##-- it happens that it's men --
##This is a very bad line. Delete. Delete. -pre-empting complaints of "garbage-persons" etc, like the complaints that rose imagery is sexist... (I like what I like and will symbolise what I like; if someone tries to maneuver that into something that it is not [shakes head]-- that is self-harm for which they are self responsible.) "Oh, Ms. Rossetti, your depiction of men as goblins is much too sexist and demeaning, you must cut the whole section!"
-->But yeah, eventually, I'm might revise so I can squish in more meaning.


in limbo. Doors re-open; faces slumber-struck
##[slumber-struck" ][Pope] --> Stipulated. I'll accept the ding.


##Why not simply "begins to rhapsodize"? --> b/c the light is rising, not just rhapsodizing, b/c the sound is better, b/c it makes the form rhythmic, because it doesn't break the form for no purpose.


[Horiz-ons split]
##[repeat] --> You're totally not getting it. "Development" is not a general term. It's a specific musical term. Restating the theme is the point- restating it so you can begin to transform it. Also, things are not exactly the same. It is also a timely return as the music of the form is calling for. This is not an essay. --It might, in addition be an aesthetic thing though: What do you think about Poe's use of repetition? (This isn't exactly that, but to get a feel.)
--> Thank you though, for the props on Horiz-ons. Some will find it gimmicky, I suppose. But I like it too. I had choices; this was the most fun.

[a hand removes a pot / but not / the troubled night.]
--> Only if you aren't tracking on the motif of water-puddle-mirror-coffee theme; the night etc is gathered in the puddle, is gathered here, is gathered in Redley's thoughts. It's a way of trying to show he wants to clear his mind.
--> I thought I was going to get dinged for it being like "the fingers of a disembodied hand" from The Book of Daniel.

##After this passage I am even more sure you can cut part 1. --By now, you'll know what I'd say. Again, it's a concerto, sonic themes recur, as do other themes, it's not an essay.

an emptiness persists. The street is slick / with runoff rain and calls. The trick / is serve the coffee. Do not think about / the doubt.
##This is quite good. --> Thank you. Worried that doubt wasn't quite right.
Of course the press
can't moan and streets can't call, much less
the nights, in tears, depart.
The heart

expels all that:
the rest are echoes back. The flat,
old gray and gray and gray,
today,
is drifting off. The coffee's served. The table's set.
His mind's on what he can't forget
of sky and street, and sighs behind a door
for more.
##[sighs] [now "for more"] --> It was before, soft of, but it is transformed somewhat (which is the point). From every, to one. Between the lines, it refers to the daughter's door and desires, which is developed later--
Note: things develop S by S, not L by L.


Her cries
##I believe the comparison of women to flowers is a long-standing, and sexist tradition.
--> Agree to disagree on the sexist bit. Good to know how some process it though.
##I can appreciate the description, although I have to contextualise it into a tradition of sexism. --> take it easy on the marxism, dude, it'll never make a satisfactory lay. (Which might not matter, I don't know your prefs.)

##"angel's ken" um, no. --> oh yes, it's meant to be that way. Sarcastic, but not mean. And with Miltonic irony to help make it that way. non disputum, though.

##So you're blaming her for having a sexual awakening, instead of understanding some form of a Platonic stem?

-->Oh honey, please! That's your projection, having projected a quasi-malicious sexism into a metaphor earlier, you're reframing things to make hostility where there is none. Where's the blame? The statement is that none of us is wise at that time when our hormones rage-- it's an extension of the titled theme-- wisdome of decay, not wisdom of the bloom-- On top of this, the value of the bloom is asserted elsewhere-- as well as the value of that stem being in supporting the blooms. Shouldn't pleasure be one of the fruits of true wisdom? Particularily lasting pleasure?

##...our hollow-chest-clad hearts forget /what fragile, skull-clad minds cannot endure: /the pure
## --> This is quite good. --> Very happy that worked!

profound compound eternity
##Since eternity is typically a quite profound subject, could you switch profound for some concrete adjective. -->caught up in the rhyme maybe... not a bad thought, not a bad thought.

And so days rise
in full view of decay, reprise
the wants-and-weights, fires-stones,
and moans
of grief and ecstasy, and then emerge in blue
along the alleyway where through
angelic garbage men, again, have drawn
the dawn.
##[Why "angelic"] --> to recall the exact first lines of garbage men, that an angel brought the dawn (apparently a replacement or replacements have been found)-- IOW, context should show it's not sweetness or saintliness, not like the hallmark version of cherubs. To make the garbage men bringers of the dawn sort of.


Though some of this strays into the overly poetic, and I find certain sections too heavily repetitive, I think the poem would succeed: after a couple strong revisions.

##I love how you take on the professorial tone and give a direction to the writers at the end of each crit-- testing out borders, stretching, developing your critical strengths. I enjoy the crits a little extra each time for that.

Hope this helps. -- It has, dude. Thank you.
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  #28  
Unread 03-03-2021, 02:13 AM
Mark McDonnell Mark McDonnell is offline
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Hello Daniel,

Well, I just reread the poem again, early this morning. Fourth time through now, I think. Many of the crits from my initial post still stand. The voice is a little too samey, sleepy and mellifluous. It teeters on the edge of portentousness in its verbiage and symbolism. It's too long (I think the fiinal 4 or 5 stanzas from Development could be cut; it seems to linger on the daughter longer than is necessary). But. I did like it much better this time. Perhaps my empty mind, also feeling sleepy and mellifluous, helped. It is ambitious, which is to be applauded, and it is structurally and thematically sound and some of the phrasing and images snap in place just right and linger impressively.

I have to wonder how many people have been put off by your Preface and didn't get much further. I would cut it if I were you.

Mark.

Last edited by Mark McDonnell; 03-03-2021 at 09:39 AM.
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  #29  
Unread 03-10-2021, 05:10 AM
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Hey Mark,

It's been a bit; sorry for the late reply. I had to smile: I've never heard mellifluous mentioned as a detriment to a poem before! HA! That in its own way is a first to be proud of maybe in a twisted sort of way. No, I get what you are getting at. Might have mentioned elsewhere that I think building it all out of the first stanza (basically) was the cause. Not perfect. Pretty sure I've mentioned elsewhere how cutting stanzas can't be thought of as a fix if you understand the structure-- fixing them yes.

As far as cutting the preface, assuming you don't mean the intro section, I'll accept the ding a bit longer. Same old thing really; you make a note to warn readers of something and you'll get hew and cry for some percieved inappropriateness; leave it out and they miss the points and complain you didn't make a note. I will, after a bit, clear it out/clean up a bit.

New posts in this form will be basically without explanation, but I really believe this is new territory. There's so much new to do and learn.

I really can't thank you enough for your dogged reads, direct honesty, and actionable feedback. Thank you again.

Daniel
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Unread 05-03-2021, 06:54 AM
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Greetings Alexandra,

I was poring over this poem for a number of reasons this morning and saw that I left your last post without reply. Let me fix that now.

Quote:
'formless, framed integrity', his 'broken city'
So you've taken out the single quotes and instead italicized this phrase. Btw, I forgot to mention that if quotes were used here, they should be double, not single. And are these phrases quoted from something else? Or quotes of something that Redley said off-poem?

-->I mean to tint them with an almost sarcastic attitude as if Redley is just overthinking it. (But is he?)

Quote:
idioms are sentences that start that way.
What do you mean? Here are the pertinent rules:
-->I mean that the idiom is a complete sentence in itself. "C'est la guerre." So if used midline or not, italicized or not, I was thinking I had to respect the capitalization in the idiom.


That would suggest a need to italicize all the French phrases, including "Une brčve éclat de larmes." (You should add the diacritical marks here while you're at it.)
--> Done, and I copy-pasted from here

Also I saw that I had missed two corrections from the earlier lists. Fixed now.

1. Quote:
But as the man begins to realize,
he sighs,
Realize what? This verb requires a direct object.
-->
maybe
"The French roast shines / as mirrors shine, as it combines / the black and light again /
with when / the private worlds reflected there climbed toward the sun /
in walls of windows, waking one by one{;
and this, the man begins to realize, / then sighs,"

2. and what remains, is what endures:
No need for a comma here.

You spent a great deal of time on this poem and that has greatly improved my writing. I'm very grateful.
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