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  #31  
Unread 09-20-2019, 11:35 PM
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Allen Tice Allen Tice is offline
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Vraiment, things are slow. Is there a reason? Are we exhausted by lumbering verbosity? (Jupiter has just gone prograde. I’m not into astrology qua astrology, but I keep my ears open. Maybe some bustle will arise.) I’ve been holding back because of preparation for a little talk on Catullus in the early middle of October. PM me, anyone, for details.
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  #32  
Unread 09-20-2019, 11:59 PM
Siham Karami Siham Karami is offline
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Nemo, since it’s been bumped, allow me one last gush. The first stanza, which contains a list of what it was to the N’s child’s imagination, to me entirely precludes the other “junk” reading. You’ve described the object so well, and the other two kinks are so clearly there. In any event, I love this, the way you’ve made the magical connection between things and the spirit/ soul of a person. Manufactured or man-made things themselves hold a certain power over the imagination, aside from nature, and exploring that is often ignored except in ekphrasis but that’s Art whereas this is, delightfully and essentially, junk! This is the sort of thing people used to use in magic ages ago, when the connections between people and their things was considered so powerful, like gateways to the vulnerable self. I love that it ends setting out to sea. Exactly.

Siham
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  #33  
Unread 09-21-2019, 06:36 AM
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R. Nemo Hill R. Nemo Hill is offline
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Yeah, Siham, things!! Rilke's writing about them partly inspired the whole series: how they continue on after we, their owners, have passed. How they both accrue and then shed the meanings we adorn and burden them with. How they emerge through time, stripped naked of our dreams—emptied, and yet full of echoes.

Nemo
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  #34  
Unread 09-22-2019, 03:55 PM
Martin Elster Martin Elster is offline
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Hi Nemo,

Perhaps “smaller trinkets” for “smaller pieces” might be less ambiguous. That way, the small things that the child pockets are not confused with parts of a broken model of a sailing vessel.

On the other hand, the breaking of the ship could be the child’s imagination and play, which was actually my first thought. Added in: I also thought that the child, imagining he is out at sea with the ship (or even on the ship) grabs items of the wreck and swims to shore with them. It's clear that he replaces the boat back on the shelf, but whether or not it's actually broken in reality remains ambiguous, which doesn't bother me.

The meter of this line bothers me ever so slightly, because I was expecting another line of 5 beats:

It was a snapshot, in ivory, of travel and of trade.

I love the anaphora of “it was” but then then line becomes a bit long to my ear. If you are interested, there are two possible solutions to make that line pentameter (instead of 6 beats).

a snapshot, in ivory, of travel and of trade (5 beats) (with comma after “riddle” at the end of the previous line)
or (if you wish to keep the anaphora going)
It was a snapshot, in ivory, of travel, of trade (5 beats) (or “and trade”)

Love the poem! My favorite phrase — thanks to the metaphor — is “When my grip became their sea.” The poem is wonderfully vivid. The title is perfect, by the way. I enjoyed it a lot, more with each new reading.

Best,

Martin

Last edited by Martin Elster; 09-22-2019 at 04:07 PM.
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  #35  
Unread 09-22-2019, 06:32 PM
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R. Nemo Hill R. Nemo Hill is offline
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Thanks, Martin. All the various reading about the wreck work for me, so I am loathe to limit them by a less ambiguous construction. It's all, for me, part of "the child's imagination and play"—which I, as an adult writer, have inherited to no small degree.

Here is how I scan the line in question, with five beats...

It was snapshot, in iv'ry, of travel and of trade

It seems to follow natural speech patterns that way, at least my natural speech patterns.

Nemo
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  #36  
Unread 09-22-2019, 07:15 PM
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I just read all the posts above, and cancel the previous one here. I’m not fond of the title, “Junk.”

Last edited by Allen Tice; 09-22-2019 at 11:58 PM.
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  #37  
Unread 09-22-2019, 07:17 PM
Martin Elster Martin Elster is offline
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Nemo - in the line in question, in the poem it goes “it was a snapshot,” which gives it that extra syllable (on was). I mean the indefinite article. Whereas in your post, you left out the “a”

it was ... snapshot, in ivory

Perhaps it was a mistake while you typed it into the reply. If not, then the line in the actual poem is slightly different from how you scan it and still has 6 beats.

By the way, I meant to say the child's imagination at play (not and play), but that's a very minor difference, which doesn't matter, since you got my meaning.

Last edited by Martin Elster; 09-22-2019 at 07:22 PM.
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  #38  
Unread 09-22-2019, 07:50 PM
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R. Nemo Hill R. Nemo Hill is offline
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Yeah, that was just a typo, Martin.
I still scan it the same way.

It was a snapshot, in iv'ry, of travel and of trade

Promoting was seems unnatural, speech-wise. It also comes at the end of a list of lines in which was is not promoted. That momentum seems sufficient direction in how to scan the line. Context plays a big part in any divergent act of scanning. I'd say it first, then scan it.

The other (at/and) was a typo too.
I was writing fast as I was busy and a bit distracted.

Nemo
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  #39  
Unread 09-22-2019, 08:33 PM
Martin Elster Martin Elster is offline
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Don't worry about any typos, Nemo. I just wanted to be sure that the line in the poem is how it's supposed to be in your mind.

I simply can't hear "it was a snap ..." (4 syllables) as a single foot. It's either 2 anapestic feet

it was a / snap

or iambic

it was / a snap

or with a trochaic substitution

it was / a snap

In music, you could have a triplet "pickup," but in poetic lines, I can't hear 4 syllables as a single foot (beat).

The poem is excellent, so I don't wish to belabor this picayune stuff. But it's just how I hear metrical lines. If this was accentual verse, I suppose I could hear it as a single "foot."

PS - You could always, of course, do this:

t’was a snap / shot

Which makes it one foot of anapest or an anpestic substitution in the iambic flow.
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  #40  
Unread 09-22-2019, 09:58 PM
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R. Nemo Hill R. Nemo Hill is offline
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Well, I can't hear it any other way, Martin.
And 'twas is exactly the sort of artifice that I try to get away from in meter: holding so tightly to an abstract pattern that you have to do away with natural language to achieve it.

I mean look at these three lines...

It was pure stillness and pure pilgrimage.
It was part precious heirloom and part riddle.
It was a snapshot, in ivory, of travel and of trade—


You mean to tell me that you would really, after the repetition of it was, suddenly decide to say it was for no reason other than that there is an extra syllable there? For me, the repeated pattern carries much more weight than any rule of standard scansion. If the line seems overstuffed, that's OK also, as it is the build-up to the next even more overstuffed line.

We'll just have to agree to disagree here.

Nemo
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