Thread: Sea-Monster
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Unread 07-22-2019, 12:38 AM
Jake Sheff Jake Sheff is offline
Join Date: Sep 2013
Location: Portland, OR
Posts: 265


I absolutely love how this poem puts what I'll call "valley girl-speak" to use (the ridiculous use of "like" as filler, and all the other things kids -- and some adults, sadly -- say). There are always people arguing for poetry to use the common man's speech, and this takes it ad adsurdum. Not only that, but in rhyming verse. So it's sort of sonic paradox -- the pairing of adolescent vernacular (is the narrator Holden Caulfield?) with meter and rhyme.

It is fascinating how N is not Todd but seems to be reading a transcript of his stream of conscious thoughts?

This seems a novel addition to the "big fish" genre of tall tales. You could even make it a bit taller at the end, I thin.

I think the difficulty of narrative verse is having so little space to develop character -- Todd comes off as very two dimensional. Although he does change in the end. But up to then, he is the typical "eye rolling" teenager.

The ending's pacing seemed to fast, like things got wrapped up with a happy conclusion very quickly. And with an easy rhyme of dad/glad. It makes this feel more comedic - the happy ending, quick resolution. But I also felt maybe the sea monster genre is by nature more tragic?

I don't see any obvious craft issues. I think a touch of tragedy might help the sense of it, although I could be wrong. Maybe it'd be too easy, but what if it mentions dad's medication falling from his pocket when he falls on his ass? His aspirin or nitroglycerin or chemo... Maybe Todd made this whole experience up to keep his father alive forever through a legend.

A touch of tragedy or the unknown, the religious mystical experience. If you could add that, it might enhance the poem's effect? "Dad sat on his ass, burning / like a constellation..."

I hope this helps and I didn't waste your time! I appreciate the poem and really feel like it is Salinger-esque verse ("Skaz" is the word I couldn't think of earlier), which I can honestly say I've not seen done in the 2010's (not with the likes of "like"); so the sound was refreshingly fresh



Addendum: It isn't clear toward the end whether it was the squid that actually broke dad's line and caused his pole to fly behind them. I'm also not one for reaching after fact too irritably, but I'm not sure it's plausible that whatever dad was fishing with somehow resulted in the giant squid dying. So the squid snapped the line, got away but ultimately perished? From an angler's hook and bait on the shore?
"Hugely dead" is funny, but does the squid have to die?

Last edited by Jake Sheff; 07-22-2019 at 08:10 AM. Reason: Cleaned up
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