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  #21  
Unread 07-20-2019, 01:00 AM
John Isbell John Isbell is online now
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You raise an interesting point, James, and I appreciate it.
So, Jake, often when I don't much like a poem, I just skip it. Or write a line or two, noting small bits I enjoy or suggesting local emendations. Your poem had been sitting in that pile, for me, for some time, and this time around, I decided to verbalize my thoughts there, partly in hope of doing it once to make a more global personal statement. I hope you don't mind; you'll note that my long opening comment is anchored in a line by line analysis of what I liked and didn't like here as I read.
I should perhaps add, James, that as ex cathedra pronouncements of what is and what isn't good poetry - or anything else for that matter - tend immediately to get my back up, so I try not to make them myself. That is perhaps why I try to speak in the first person, and in the singular not in the plural. Nobody died and made me Emperor of Taste. This I think partly addresses your concerns. Though as I say, I can only speak for myself.

Cheers,
John

Last edited by John Isbell; 07-20-2019 at 01:04 AM. Reason: last sentence added
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  #22  
Unread 07-20-2019, 01:48 AM
James Brancheau James Brancheau is offline
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No no, John, I think it's fine. Taste matters. There was a guy who used to post here a while ago~ good poet (I thought he was pretty good anyway), but his critiques absolutely drove me up the wall. He insisted on making everyone else's poem his, not taking into account what their intentions might have been, what the poem was trying to do. Who the poet was, the voice there. In one of his critiques of a poem of mine, he suggested that I should throw a sailor in there somewhere. You know, I was like, what the f#@k are you talking about, throw a sailor in there... Anyway, again, this wasn't so much directed at you. Really. It just came to mind. Sorry for the aside Jake.
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  #23  
Unread 07-20-2019, 02:06 AM
John Isbell John Isbell is online now
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Throw a sailor in there. Now that makes for an excellent meme. :-)

Cheers,
John

Update: rather along these lines maybe: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cVsQLlk-T0s

Last edited by John Isbell; 07-20-2019 at 03:39 AM. Reason: maybe
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  #24  
Unread 07-20-2019, 04:07 AM
James Brancheau James Brancheau is offline
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Hahaha, yes.
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  #25  
Unread 07-20-2019, 05:13 AM
Matt Q Matt Q is offline
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Hi Jake,

I find a fair bit to like here in the cleverness and the wordplay and the fresh imagery. I'm not sure that all that you intend here is coming across to me. Here's my reading of what's going on, so you can see how much of what you want to come across I've caught.

So, I see a woman in McDonald's with a smartphone. I think maybe it's literally dawn, so it's a 24-hour place. Her being the "Queen of Bohemia" seems to suggest a cultural high vs low contrast with the McDonald's, milkshake, smart-phone scenario. She may be a literal Queen of Bohemia, in which case she's time-travelling, which would be neat. She's remembering Châteauroux, I can't find a historical link between this place and a historical Bohemian queen (I'd wondered if one of them was French, but it seems not), or anything that the place is obviously famous for that might link to the poem. It does lead me to expect her 'drink' will be a french wine or liqueur, so it works nicely as a set-up in that respect. I wondered if maybe instead she's a 'Bohemian' in the modern sense, arty, unconventional, free-spirited (or even in the original French coinage of Bohemian, meaning something like gypsy/Romany). I guess I'm wondering does it need to be Bohemia, specifically, that she's queen of, or would any medieval kingdom do? Anyway, I get the sense I'm missing relevant references in 'Bohemia' and 'Châteauroux'.

'Ash Avenue' is nicely suggestive, something has been lost, burned down. Maybe the world she came from. 'Autumn reveals it all / gone' seems to play off that too. If it's dawn, it seems to be a red dawn, which is an ominous omen, and there's an association with blood and pain -- or at least smarting (a red shave). A bulb flickering out then on again seems to add to that atmosphere.

I can see music guarding the queen. Maybe she has headphones on, and that's a good way to guard against unwanted conversation and to block out the world. Why music is the greatest barfly? Because there's often music at bars? But she's at McDonalds. But maybe she's there after hitting the bars till late and that's the connection ...? Couldn't quite work this bit out.

She may taste (in the milkshake?) a prince to "grab and small". I assumed at first this was for sexual/romantic purposes. I did wonder why a prince: if she's the queen of Bohemia she already has a king. Maybe she'd seek a commoner instead? However 'small' seems to working as both adjective and verb. The prince is small and too far (away) to grab. The prince is too far (away) to grab and to make small. The former reading might suggest a child, an heir she might produce. Also I guess, the milkshake might be link to a child via breast-feeding as a part of child-rearing. The latter reading suggesting she might seek to belittle such a prince (as lover or as a child). Or 'to small' could be mean to treat as a child.

The broilers, I'm not sure of the significance of. Chicken bred for meat. I guess maybe if the prince is a future child (of hers), maybe that ties in with broilers and breeding? Or maybe broilers as the working classes (playing off her royal 'breeding'). And on a literal level, I am wondering if she's now in a KFC. But maybe McDonald's sell chicken burgers. I don't frequent the place.

EDIT: Aha, 'broiler' is a American word meaning grill, where they cook the burgers, it doesn't have that meaning in the UK. But the chicken meanings may still be in play.

'pressure-sensitive' has a nice double read -- a literal one and an anthropomorphic one; 'dismal' might be part of a high vs low culture theme (a dig at smart phones) or suggestive of her mood. What might it mean for the screen to be dawn's last dance or dawn's dismissal? I guess that is either the final celebration of dawn or it marks dawn being banished, dawn passing. But what that might means, in context, I'm not that clear. Maybe this woman has been out all night partying, and the question is: is this the last gasp of the party or is it over?But then again 'dawn' may play off the sense of something lost or burned down given by Ash Avenue (end of an era?).

But either way, dawn is coming to a close, and day is breaking. 'Someday' is arriving. 'Someday' has a nice implication a grey 'anyday', but also of the future: the time we look forward to. And in this context 'someday my prince will come' springs to mind. But the implication I get in context of the poem is that 'someday' has arrived, but the hoped for dream hasn't.

It 'spills over my quiet traitor, weakness'. Now this might imply that what's been depicted -- this woman and her smartphone and her thoughts of a prince -- are a depiction of weakness. And this sort of weakness also is the N's quiet traitor -- weakness is something that (quietly) betrays the N. As if the N's saying, look at this weakness, and that's a problem for me too. I guess this means he's in the McDonald's too, observing? But then he seems to know perhaps a little too much about this woman who he's casually observing. I guess the weakness maybe the N's problem only, and not a judgement of the woman -- but then the last line would seems rather too disconnected from what's come before. I guess there's a possibility that she's a traitor to him; that they know each other. In fact, it's almost like the last sentence wants to raise that reading, and then, with the final word, take it away again.

So there you go.

In terms of specifics, yes, that semicolon needs to be a comma if you're using standard punctuation. A semicolon joins two closely linked proper sentences, or, in the case of a complicated list, it can replace a listing comma. If you're intending not to use standard punctuation, it's always going to be hard for the reader to know what want it mean.

As Nemo say, this:
Autumn reveals it all
goes. According to plan,

is clever, but distracting, and I can't see what it adds.

I did wonder about the enjambment in the opening stanza, which seems a bit jerky to my ear. I
did wonder why you didn't go for:

remembering Châteauroux, drinks
a milkshake at McDonald’s
on Ash Avenue. Red shadows

I guess there's nice sonics to "McDonald's on" -- the repeated 'on' sound, that's lost with a line-break. Enjambing L1 as above adds a slight double read, I think, 'drinks' in the sense of 'drinks alcohol' and implying multiple drinks.

best,

Matt

Last edited by Matt Q; 07-20-2019 at 04:13 PM.
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  #26  
Unread 07-20-2019, 09:02 AM
Jim Moonan Jim Moonan is offline
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x
Hi Jake,
Your poems are akin to immersing oneself in the North Atlantic on a pleasantly warm day. It shocks the system and my first response is to get out -- Quick -- And I do.
But I go back and, by degree, the water feels warmer somehow, and I slip in under a swell and feel the exhilaration and refreshment of playful language and free thought. But it took some coaxing (thanks Nemo, James, Matt, et.al.).

I think your best poetry will come from a distillation of that technique you employ in the few poems I’ve read here of yours and a more measured, flowing arrangement of the words (as Nemo pointed out with the period after "goes." and Matt alluded to in terms of line breaks / enjambments.)

But beautifully imagined, Jake.
x
x
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  #27  
Unread 07-20-2019, 11:49 AM
Jake Sheff Jake Sheff is offline
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All,

I'm happy to see the discussion this generated!

I apologize I haven't found time to re-engage, but I appreciate the honest sharing of feelings. I'm learning a lot. But some of the responses have been substantial (i.e. Matt Q) since I last participated... I think I'll need a day to catch up and give back what's due.

But for every constructive comment - or even just acknowledgement time was spent with (and considering) the poem - I'm eternally grateful.

I wish you all a pleasurable weekend,
Jake
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  #28  
Unread 07-20-2019, 12:26 PM
John Isbell John Isbell is online now
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Thanks Jake, nicely put!

Cheers,
John
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  #29  
Unread 07-21-2019, 08:38 AM
Jake Sheff Jake Sheff is offline
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John,

Thank you for such an in-depth commentary and deep dive into the work. I can’t express my appreciation.

You raise a lot of good points. I think I can distill them down to a fundamental disagreement with the strength of negative capability? Maybe I misunderstand the idea, but your post, in general, seems to enact an irritable reaching after fact and reason. I hope I’m not wrong or completely ignorant in suggesting this? I might be – it’s early and I had a bit to drink last night.

But you really articulate your point of view well, and I think a lot of what you’ve offered will help me with future poems. Thank you!

Matt,

The unusual line breaks you noticed early on was decided by the form. All the lines are set at four words.

I kind of thought the opening teased a rhyme with Bohemia (“…drinks a /…”). But I thought this only half-seriously.

Jim,

Thank you for the feedback. I think the effect a poem has on individual readers is various, but the key to a poem’s ability to last. I always think a poem is kind of like a joke, where the end is the laugh (the means is the joke); it’s much harder to say what the end is (though you’ve done well!) and much more difficult to achieve the means.

So I’m grateful for your evocative description of the effect/end this poem had on you.

Best, Jake
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  #30  
Unread 07-22-2019, 09:24 AM
Mark McDonnell Mark McDonnell is offline
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Hey Jake,

Very quickly.

I finished my last crit of your previous poem saying I'd like to see what happens when you try something quieter and less flashy. I'm not claiming inspiration (ha) but this is it. My favourite of yours so far. Which isn't to say you shouldn't keep doing the other things you do.

Nice one.
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