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  #21  
Old 08-01-2018, 10:54 PM
Phil Wood Phil Wood is offline
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Quote:
and the caveman concept is hokey.
I agree with Mary on that point. The discovery of the 'joy' of fire doesn't need to be burdened by 'caveman concept' or speak (the poem's diction doesn't point that way anyway). The expression and psychology could progress without that burden, the poem become more relevant (we have a problem with teenagers starting fires on parched hills in my part of the world).

best

Phil
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  #22  
Old 08-01-2018, 11:20 PM
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Allen Tice Allen Tice is offline
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John, the point that I apparently failed to convey was expressed in the words “done well”. (PS: See post 19 above) I think that the dry voice of a wonderfully superannuated British don could do this surprisingly well, actually. I’m sorry, I miswrote; I meant “penguin”, not “pidgin”. It’s a neat little idea you have here. I, too, like the cliff reference.

PS: I don't mean to rain on your parade, actually. Fire was tamed many more times than once, I think. But should the N in this poem be one of the actual first risk takers who may have had sketchy judgement, or perhaps a clan member who had more caution and did the actual taming after the risk taker got burnt?

I think an early human who was pretty bright could do more and think than you have given. Let it flow. I repeat that the "cliff" element is the best point. Truly. The remainder is flat and, woe is me, hardly "poetry".

Last edited by Allen Tice; 08-02-2018 at 09:21 PM.
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  #23  
Old 08-01-2018, 11:22 PM
John Isbell John Isbell is offline
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Hi Phil,

And thank you for your visit and your thoughts.
You write, "The discovery of the 'joy' of fire doesn't need to be burdened by 'caveman concept' or speak (the poem's diction doesn't point that way anyway)", and I'm unsure from this line whether you feel the poem's language is hokey or not as it stands. Bottom line: I agree with Mary that the version she read was a bit hokey, but I think Iv'e addressed that problem. No-one wants hokey. The discovery of fire is I think a key moment in human prehistory, and I'm happy for it to have a poem in its honor. Today's vandals are certainly welcome to their own poem, but I don't think mine has to be that one!
I also value my N's psychological development, which I think requires the stanzas I've now got, as Aaron P suggests. That process was my reason for writing.

Cheers,
John
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  #24  
Old 08-03-2018, 01:08 AM
Phil Wood Phil Wood is offline
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Fair enough John. I was trying to find the pulse of the poem, put my finger on what hooked my interest. Perhaps it is the combo of heft/confounded with the more expected vocabulary of a caveman. Interesting one.

best

Phil
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  #25  
Old 08-03-2018, 06:27 AM
John Isbell John Isbell is offline
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Hi Allen, hi Phil,

Allen: sorry, I'd missed that we;'d cross-posted and have been letting this sit thinking everyone was done with it. I like your note that for pidgin you meant penguin! Now that is a good typo. People seem to like the cliff bit, and I enjoyed writing it as well. I've certainly heard my share of superannuated dons, and could quote an instance or twain. Perhaps more importantly, I agree 100% that fire will have been "discovered" more than once; it is after all right there in front of us. I guess you enjoyed the poem less than I'd thought, for which my regrets. I think I've got it about how I'd best imagined it now, but I remain open to suggestions.
Phil: thank you for your thoughts! Your idea of conveying your vision of what the poem could be seems to me the essence of the critic's task. Please do feel free to share more of how you might see this poem develop; as I say to Allen, I like where it's got to now, but am not wedded to this particular point in the road.

Cheers,
John

Update: let me just add that the sudden emergence of confounded works for me, though I can't really say why. It's a bit psalmy.
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  #26  
Old 08-04-2018, 01:53 AM
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Allen Tice Allen Tice is offline
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Perhaps a final thought. I’m bothered by the “fire like cliff” motif. It sticks out like a picture of a tiny VW Beetle on a spinach leaf in a dossier of British garden pests. A gift of the poetry gods, almost. It just doesn’t seem like the rest. Troubling, in a way. Interesting, but I don’t quite trust it yet. What if you took it out?

Allen
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  #27  
Old 08-04-2018, 08:00 AM
John Isbell John Isbell is offline
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Good morning Allen,

I am all for final thoughts. Thanks for stopping back in and commenting on the cliff bit. Writing this poem gave me a limited range of reference points that I felt I could trust my N with, but cliffs certainly fit the bill; I remember those images of hunters chasing game over a cliff as a hunting technique, and I remember how vertigo is not fear of heights, they say, but being drawn to the edge. That goes for fire too, for my N, hence the simile. I also like your tiny VW beetle.
Now as to whether the simile works in context, or jars or is in some way disproportionate, I think that's a matter of personal taste. For myself as author, it works, and folks seem to have enjoyed it. These factors make me reluctant to yank it out; and I certainly need something there to capture the N's exact fire-directed state of mind.
Anyway, it's probably time for this to slide on down to relegation like Stoke City or whoever it might be. Bring on the Second Division!

Cheers,
John
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  #28  
Old 08-04-2018, 10:26 AM
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Allen Tice Allen Tice is offline
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Yank it, and so much the worse. What's left? Let this sink.
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