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  #11  
Unread 07-04-2019, 05:10 PM
Aaron Poochigian Aaron Poochigian is offline
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Ann, I still love this poem.

Perhaps I am being too American in suggesting

I don't have time to look for you

for

I haven’t time to look for you

and

what with the shit I'm going through

for

in all the shit I’m going through.

Best,

Aaron
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  #12  
Unread 07-05-2019, 02:23 AM
Ann Drysdale's Avatar
Ann Drysdale Ann Drysdale is online now
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Aaron, I don't quite know how to put this without sounding arrogant, but I can't adopt your suggestions and remain true to myself, my own diction, my own way of saying.

You are telling me how Aaron would put it, but Annie cannot.

The first one in particular. You would like to hear me say "come and do what you promised to". I couldn't do that. To end a poem - one I've worked on to the point where I felt I could present it on TDE - with a preposition, would be against everything I hold dear (exaggeration, for effect).

In order to incorporate the word "promised" in the line, I would have to say either "come and do what you promised", which is too short and doesn't rhyme, or "come and do what you promised to do", which is too long. And somehow it isn't quite what I mean.

Your other two suggestions: the first I will consider, though I can't quite see how it would improve the flow of the thinking, but the last one rather misses the point I was hoping to make. "What with" implies that the shit is something other, something else, something alongside, whereas I was hoping to convey that the lost god is part of the overall shit. D'you see?


And I'll add on this thread, so that I won't add unhelpfully to yours, that I find it hard to comment on your own take on this subject because the diction is so far from my own. Forgive me, I am a sad old pedant who weeps in a world where the sense of the verb "to say" has now been ceded to its challengers - to be, to go, to be like.

But this is how it is, and it's your way of saying - the new world's way of saying. But if I were to use it, other than in parody, it would be a real case of cultural appropriation, would it not?


Perhaps we need a thread on "voice"?
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  #13  
Unread 07-05-2019, 12:30 PM
Aaron Poochigian Aaron Poochigian is offline
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Since this is the Deep End, I will be candid in my response: Ann, I often suspect that all that talk of "being true to one's voice" is just an excuse to stop growing. It assumes that one has found a monolithic voice and can't go outside of its limitations. I just worry that all that "voice" talk isn't healthy.

. . . . .
One does what is best for the poem, every poem, every time. One's own conception of one's "voice" be damned.

Last edited by Aaron Poochigian; 07-05-2019 at 01:00 PM.
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  #14  
Unread 07-05-2019, 01:25 PM
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Ann Drysdale Ann Drysdale is online now
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That's a valid point, Aaron.

I think, though, that there may be a difference between the voice as embodied in the experiences and opinions that the poet expresses over a lifetime and the voice that is built on the lifelong development of vocabulary and construction to express what the other voice needs to say.

I am thinking about this and will come back.

Since I wrote that, you've added to your previous post. I hasten to say that I agree in principle about the poem's needs being paramount, but the clue to this is somewhere in the perception of those needs.
.

Last edited by Ann Drysdale; 07-05-2019 at 01:28 PM.
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  #15  
Unread 07-05-2019, 01:30 PM
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Jayne Osborn Jayne Osborn is offline
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Quote:
Aaron, I don't quite know how to put this without sounding arrogant, but I can't adopt your suggestions and remain true to myself, my own diction, my own way of saying.
Annie,
I have to say that I'm surprised at you. Aaron said: "Since this is The Deep End I will be candid in my response" and that applies to me too; Aaron's last two sentences are spot on as well. You must be prepared to listen to suggestions for improving the poem, and it's by no means "too American" to say (I'm referring to the bits in red):

Horse-trader god – are you still there?
What I just did was hard but good,
so please do what you said you would
if I allowed myself to care.
Are you around, and if so, where?
I don't have time to look for you,
what with the shit I'm going through.

The moral high ground hurts like hell
so don’t you bugger off as well,
come and do what you said you’d do.

I also thought that I haven’t time to look for you didn't sound quite right; I'd be more inclined to say, in normal speech, "I haven’t [the] time to look for you", or even "I haven't [got] time to look for you." Likewise, in all the shit I’m going through, doesn't sound right. "With'' sounds far better than "in'', IMO.

Sorry, but I totally agree with Aaron that it's not a question of ''voice'' at all. It's a question of which words and phrases are the better ones. Please think about adopting those suggestions - the poem certainly reads better to me with them.

Jayne

We cross-posted, Annie, so I see you are thinking about what Aaron said. That's good.
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  #16  
Unread 07-06-2019, 01:24 AM
Ann Drysdale's Avatar
Ann Drysdale Ann Drysdale is online now
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jayne Osborn View Post
Annie,
I have to say that I'm surprised at you. Aaron said: "Since this is The Deep End I will be candid in my response" and that applies to me too; Aaron's last two sentences are spot on as well. You must be prepared to listen to suggestions for improving the poem, and it's by no means "too American" to say (I'm referring to the bits in red):

Horse-trader god – are you still there?
What I just did was hard but good,
so please do what you said you would
if I allowed myself to care.
Are you around, and if so, where?
I don't have time to look for you,
what with the shit I'm going through.

The moral high ground hurts like hell
so don’t you bugger off as well,
come and do what you said you’d do.

I also thought that I haven’t time to look for you didn't sound quite right; I'd be more inclined to say, in normal speech, "I haven’t [the] time to look for you", or even "I haven't [got] time to look for you." Likewise, in all the shit I’m going through, doesn't sound right. "With'' sounds far better than "in'', IMO.

Sorry, but I totally agree with Aaron that it's not a question of ''voice'' at all. It's a question of which words and phrases are the better ones. Please think about adopting those suggestions - the poem certainly reads better to me with them.

Jayne

We cross-posted, Annie, so I see you are thinking about what Aaron said. That's good.
Oh, dear.

I thought I'd explained about the Almighty and the Shit in post #12.

Also the point of grammar in Aaron's suggested amendment to the last line.

I am still wondering about "don't have" versus "haven't". That, indeed, is a matter of how I speak and deserves proper ponderment when I've stopped feeling weird.

Please note that the phrase "too American" was Aaron's, not mine.

I had actually spent a deal of time since last night head-writing a more detailed response to the "voice" question that I had attempted in Post #14. It's one of those teachery words that has probably been superseded in the poetical theory phrasebook by something else. From the world of music, perhaps? I opened up the computer this morning to try to get it written, but I am feeling a little bewildered at the moment so will withdraw for now.

Meanwhile, I promise to be good and carry on thinking.
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  #17  
Unread 07-06-2019, 04:18 AM
Mark McDonnell Mark McDonnell is offline
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I like it, Annie. I wouldn't change anything.

Quote:
Annie,
I have to say that I'm surprised at you.
Jayne, I'm confused about what's surprising to you. That Annie won't immediately take Aaron's suggestions? I haven't seen anything here to suggest that Annie is not prepared to listen to suggestions, even before your cross-posting.
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  #18  
Unread 07-06-2019, 05:39 AM
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Jayne Osborn Jayne Osborn is offline
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Quote:
I thought I'd explained about the Almighty and the Shit in post #12.

Also the point of grammar in Aaron's suggested amendment to the last line.

I am still wondering about "don't have" versus "haven't". That, indeed, is a matter of how I speak and deserves proper ponderment when I've stopped feeling weird.

Please note that the phrase "too American" was Aaron's, not mine.
OK, actually, I do see the point now, that you made about "the Almighty and the Shit in post #12", ...but I made no mention whatsoever of "Aaron's suggested amendment to the last line"... neither did I say it was you who used the phrase "too American"; of course I knew it was Aaron - I simply said his suggestions weren't too American!

Mark,
I was surprised to read: "Aaron, I don't quite know how to put this without sounding arrogant, but I can't adopt your suggestions and remain true to myself, my own diction, my own way of saying."

I just happened to agree with Aaron that his suggestions (particularly the change to this line: I haven’t time to look for you were an improvement. No one's saying Annie must adopt that, or any other suggestion.

You're confused at me... well, I'm confused at why Annie should feel "weird" about any of this.

Jayne
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  #19  
Unread 07-06-2019, 06:24 AM
Max Goodman Max Goodman is offline
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Hi, Annie,

FWIW, I'm not finding enough detail to make much sense of the situation. "What I just did," "what you said you would," "allowed myself to care [about...?]," "the shit I’m going through." That strategy seems to work for other readers (who maybe find clues I miss), but I can't figure out what's going on.
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  #20  
Unread 07-06-2019, 06:42 AM
John Isbell John Isbell is offline
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Hi Annie,

Like Aaron, I still love this poem. I find it abstract, sure, but that anchors it for me in universal experience. We've all been there. About revision, I'm agnostic. It sounds like something to be weighed and then decided on (by you).

Cheers,
John
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