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Unread 03-04-2021, 05:14 AM
Mark McDonnell Mark McDonnell is offline
Join Date: May 2016
Location: Staffordshire, England
Posts: 4,043

Intro -------> [ABAB]
Exposition --> [ABBA ABBA]
Development -> [BCA BCA ADB ADB CBDA CBDA]
Recapitulation [ABD ABD ABAB ABBA]
Coda --------> [ABAB]

INTRODUCTION - Elizabethan quatrain
EXPOSITION - Petrarchan octect
*section 1 -intro, inverted, with C stuck in the middle, iow,
intro ABAB dev BABA, but add C, so BCA BCA
etc etc


Looking back at the original poem, yes, I can see what you're doing. Each individual stanza serves as the equivalent of a line, which "rhymes" (in terms of its line lengths and sometimes rhyme scheme) with another stanza to form an overarching 'rhyme scheme'. So in the Intro the 1st and 3rd stanzas and the 2nd and 4th stanzas have the same structure. I had noticed deliberate patterning in the poem but not this overarching structure. It must have taken a lot of work.

I suppose my question is, why are you so insistent on explaining and foregrounding this work at such lengths?

The progress of these two threads (to use an analogy) has felt like watching a stage magician perform a trick. Some people like the trick and others are more underwhelmed. Unsettled by the second group, the magician then spends an inordinate amount of time revealing the mechanics of the trick and explaining to this group how complicated it was, how much time it took to set up, and why, therefore, they must appreciate it. This obsession with revealing the "scaffolding", as Nemo put it, may have its own mechanical pleasures in stage magic but to foreground its importance so insistently in poetry, as you do, seems to me to be prioritising entirely the wrong thing. And, to return to the analogy, knowing the mechanics of a magic trick doesn't necessarily enhance the pleasure of watching it, especially if the trick didn't thrill you in the first place. Penn and Teller have made a career out of revealing how magic tricks work. But they say, "Amazing huh? Let us show you how we did it...". They don't say, "Didn't much care for it? Let us show you how we did it, that'll change your mind..."

In other words, your poem can be as cleverly intricate in its structure as it is possible to be. None of that matters if the reader doesn't respond on a level that goes beyond admiring its structural building blocks.

I think it's a shame because I suspect all this babble is counterproductive to what I assume, or would hope, is your goal — to encourage people to respond honestly and openly to your poem. And there are good things in your poem.

I've posted poems here with what I thought was a particularly clever or tricksy rhyme scheme, say. And people said nice things or non-committal things about the poem — but they didn't mention the rhyme scheme. That's fine. That just tells me they haven't noticed it. I know it's there. It might be mildly vexing not to hear "Hey, nice rhyme scheme!" but I'm more interested in what they have got out of the poem with as little direction from me as possible. That seems to be the purpose of the workshop. It wouldn't occur to me to say "but the rhyme scheme! doesn't that change everything for you!?" (or if I did I would mention it briefly). Not through any saintly restraint on my part but because I already know what I've put into the poem and it's far more intriguing and useful to see what others make of it without initial prompting.

You know the structure and how intricate it is. That should be enough. What happens next is up to the reader.

Be more Zen
like the garbage men

I'll leave it there

Last edited by Mark McDonnell; 03-05-2021 at 03:35 AM.
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Unread 03-05-2021, 06:08 AM
Daniel Kemper's Avatar
Daniel Kemper Daniel Kemper is offline
Join Date: Jul 2009
Location: California
Posts: 1,189


I get that people will spin this according to their predilections. My purpose is to support my claim: It IS unprecedented. And viable. And purposeful, not just ascetic. And not one-off.

It's really important to say also that I feel a genuine sense of warmth toward you for what you are trying to do above and beyond all the work and thoughtfulness you've put in: essentially putting your arm around a friend who's drunk (drunk on verse in this case) and leading them home, saying, "Dude, quit dancing on the tables. Put some clothes on."

Due to factors of time and location in my life, I remember an adjustment period for readers encountering free verse and responding only: "It doesn't rhyme." I hope that sentiment can be borne in mind for various readings of this poem.

For example, misunderstanding is evident in edits that say, "Just cut this." It's not that I reject the quality objections-- there's lots wrong as you can see in some of the detail I post-- it's that they can't be fixed that way. For example, you cannot say of a fugue, just cut that section. Or of a sonnet, just cut the third quatrain. But look, again, I get that the piece might need to be virtually relegated to the trash can, which is the ultimate resting place for proofs-of-concept.

The post(s) are not just about a single poem. It's a new way of generating them. A new way of looking at the development of verse also. A substantial number of posts have shown this understanding needs some buttressing or at least something left out there for a while as a reference point. Since even you are only focused on the poem itself and not the rest, as reflected in the post, your focus seems to beg the elaborations you decry. -?

"*NOW* I get it" means the previous explanations were needed after all -?

I realize people are going to say that this is offensive, ego-centric, naval-gazing, etc. -whether done directly or indirectly or not posted at all. I really believe I've found something and want to show what I've found. It's a proof of concept - the concept has to be communicated. It's been challenged as not new -- fair -- put up or shut up. I put up.

Hi Nemo,

Great to see you around! It's been a bit. I'd actually begun to worry a bit. I sort of agree with your post, but there's a small, but critical trouble with it. Generally, yes, the scaffolding should disappear -- and it did -- as the readings and responses showed. People seemed to be able to sense that something deeper was going on, but it was not in their way. [Not addressing overall quality, just transparency of scaffolding.]

There is no way that a reader could derive the structure and building technique from looking at the final poem.

**This has ZERO to do with whatever my level of skill is.**

It is a structural problem. It's something Braitenberg would call the law of uphill analysis and downhill synthesis. Who would think to play with a technique they can't discern? And there is such a vast, vast untouched field of formal poetry on which to seek adventure.

Look, if someone lays out a paper snowflake, intricate and beautiful, it's extremely unlikely that the observer could reconstruct it or one like it. Technically yes, painstakingly. But once the technique of building that snowflake is shown, it's a whole different matter. Fold the paper, make a few judicious cuts and a granularly beautiful piece of work is produced. It's similar here.

The process is generative, not derivative. I mean, there's not much form at all which is available to "cling to" until late in the creation process. Content produces an idea of form, which spurs on the content, which often spurs on a re-evaluation/re-adjustment of the form, which spurs new content and adjustment of exiting content, and on and on. And out of that iterative, crystal-growing process, new ideas for riffs (both thematically and structurally) occur... So "clung" isn't the right word at all.

There IS a point -- I agree with you here -- at which you know what your story is going to be and you know what your structure is going to be. At that point, the writer is hemmed in somewhat, both in content (to keep the storyline logical, realistic) and in form. But not in any way that is substantially different from a fixed form.

Because the process is iterative and generative, structure is not like a primitive exo-skeleton, laid out in advance, into which the living creature must be squeezed and fit. It is an endo-skeleton which can move, change, have a thousand varieties the exoskeleton approach cannot have.

I am totally open to other methods of addressing/communicating these things. My general nature is bull-in-a-china-shop directness, which clearly could be improved upon.
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Unread 03-22-2021, 09:15 PM
Gena Gruz Gena Gruz is offline
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Nice. Has dynamics and beat. Makes me feel at ease somehow. Wow. Thank you.
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Unread 03-23-2021, 06:17 AM
Jim Moonan Jim Moonan is online now
Join Date: Aug 2016
Location: Boston, MA
Posts: 2,898


Hi Daniel, I finally gave up, lost interest in your self-analysis and went back just to read the poem and drink it down.
It's a beautiful sounding poem. The rhyming is profuse as a hill of wildflowers.

That's enough for me.

If your dissertation serves any purpose to anyone it will come later, I think, when the poem gains an audience. Maybe a summation of what you're doing structurally, etc. would have been enough rather than spilling your notebook here.
If one were in close correspondence with you and you had established a mutual commitment to pry your poetic selves open that would be a different story. But I don't mind it and find it impressive, even if it is more than I can handle. I know you well enough, I think, to know your unabashed love for poetry — especially formal poetry — and your skillful imagination, thick skin and open heart.

That's enough for me.

The poem is enough for me.


Back again to add that if there is a place to dissect and examine every detail of a posted poem then it would be E Deep End.

Last edited by Jim Moonan; 03-23-2021 at 05:59 PM.
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Unread 03-25-2021, 07:43 AM
Daniel Kemper's Avatar
Daniel Kemper Daniel Kemper is offline
Join Date: Jul 2009
Location: California
Posts: 1,189

Hi Jim,

Let me start at the end of your post. Yes, that's exactly why I posted in "The Deep End" where I don't usually post.

"Enough is enough!" Heh heh. I get you. I hope I was clear that all the notes are totally optional. I listened to and loved Bach and Beethoven years before I had any clue what was going on. And only recently encountered Beethoven's "Grosse Fugue" and think I might never know! There are a lot of notes and that might be too buried. Or in the notes on the other post. Or... well... I get it.

I take exception, but not offense, to "self-analysis". I really do believe I've discovered something new on the landscape, but it takes one level of detail to show what it is and another level of detail to show how that is different.

At one point in time, the villanelle was new, and the sestina too. I'm sure they were enjoyable as is, but it's nice to see how the in-folding pattern works in a sestina if more than one is ever to be written. So I want to make notes available. That's also why I decided to separate them from the poem itself.

Describing process is not intended as a self-celebratory gesture, though I am excited by the new concept. The way a meta-formal poem is created is a key property of what defines a meta-formal poem.

The poem and process might otherwise be pigeon-holed as an ascetic, not aesthetic overly, granular prison of arbitrary structure. And discarded.

*If your dissertation serves any purpose to anyone it will come later, I think* I think the timeline is likely. "Start now and you might be done when needed; start when needed, you'll always be late."

Thank you extremely for both your read and feedback on the poem and taking on the notes.
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