Thread: #snailpoem
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Unread 03-03-2021, 06:38 PM
Jim Moonan Jim Moonan is offline
Join Date: Aug 2016
Location: Boston, MA
Posts: 2,907


Hi Matt, I've read more than a few of your poems that fall into this genre of absurdist literature/poetry. They always enthrall.

I don't know that "emblazoned" works. I was thinking something like:

rejected for the role, is furious, and circulates internet memes:
an anime of Neverita flashing the words: “I’d neverita”,

Just thinking out loud... The couplets are a curious choice. One could argue that the flow of the conceit is fragmented by use of the couplet. Why not go full prose poem? You can make some interesting breaks, something like this:

In the movie of my life
I am to be played by Neverita Didyma, the bladder moon snail, a predatory marine gastropod found in the Yellow Sea. Though not moon-shaped myself, I am a well-rounded individual, so I am quite untroubled at being played by a female. In interviews, I praise her talents which are unknown to me: she is so obscure that she barely merits her own Wikipedia page. Others are not so gracious.

Golbaengi-muchim, a.k.a. moon-snail salad,
a Korean dish rejected for the role, is furious, and circulates internet memes: photos of Neverita emblazoned with the words: “I’d neverita”, the irony of this, somehow lost on him. I spring chivalrously to her defence—though my attempts to get #idedita trending are perhaps misjudged. A carnivore herself, she squirms nervously in my presence. Twitter spats escalate and soon we are at war with the Korean food industry.

United by shared adversity, Neverita and I begin to bond.
Then inevitably it happens: she bats her eyestalks, and I slide over. She leaks a grainy shell-less sex-tape and becomes briefly famous, whereas the tabloids slate me as a bottom-feeder. The film’s backers, already cracking under the pressure from the Korean Food industry, sense a scandal. The movie is cancelled and I slip back into obscurity, which, appropriately enough, is

the story of my life.

Still, I love couplet poems. The language, on the other hand, is not particularly poetic (though it is poetic) and I generally expect a more lyrical or imagist quality to poems in couplets... (Still thinking out loud).

There is a theatre of the absurd feel to the conceit. If it were a stage play the costumes would be outlandish. The setting exotic. The storyline nonsensical. The whole thing projecting a duality of meaning but ultimately leaning towards pure nonsense. A display of the unadulterated imagination in full bloom: "Neverita".

It also feels illustrated. A Roald Dahl or Richard Gorey kind of story. I remember a while back you had worked some well-known British children's programs into a poem or two. (Bagpuss?)

There are some interesting references that pepper this. It's like being in google heaven. I’ve been googling for nearly an hour, following the snail trails you’ve made. One of them is the Yellow Sea — When will I ever hear the Yellow Sea mentioned in a poem again? Answer: Neverita million years. Ha!

While I was wading in the wikipedia page for the Yellow Sea I found out that it is largely made up of the water flowing from the Yellow River. I was curious about why the Yellow Sea was yellow and further and furtherI went, down the google rabbit hole. Did you know that the Black Sea was originally called the Inhospitable Sea until such time when the Greeks conquered navigating it, at which time the name was changed to Hospitable Sea? That there is a White Sea and a Red Sea but there is no Blue Sea?

Anyway, this is not much of a crit. More a musing. I like the poem for the same reasons I like almost everything you write: the imagery.

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