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  #1  
Unread 01-23-2019, 08:15 AM
Aaron Novick's Avatar
Aaron Novick Aaron Novick is offline
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Default accentual tetrameter

Wheat text

Afterwards, I read Wang Wei

The full weight of error rests
on the earth, mingles with the remnants

of yesterday's snowfall, its black slush.
Asphalt duly salted and clear,

takeoff goes smoothly: words full of stillness
lie corpselike in my hands. The full

weight of error rests in the aisle,
threads through the whiteblue carpet. Something

tugs on the string that raises hand
to forehead, what I don't know, I'm tired.

The plane lands. The light brown earth
shows through the lollygagging snow.


EDITS:

Title: (untitled) --> On the plane, I read Wang Wei --> Afterwards, I read Wang Wei

S3L2: on the page --> in my hands

Last edited by Aaron Novick; 01-23-2019 at 07:25 PM.
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  #2  
Unread 01-23-2019, 08:55 AM
John Isbell John Isbell is online now
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Hi Aaron,

My favorite line - "what I don't know, I'm tired." But I like this in general.
Are you spending a lot of time flying these days?

Cheers,
John
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  #3  
Unread 01-23-2019, 01:13 PM
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Allen Tice Allen Tice is offline
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Hi Aaron, the only thing I am uneasy with is "corpselike". It may render your feeling or worry, but is it a good omen? Something like "static" or even "hopeless"? "Torpid"? Otherwise, a good vignette with "real feel".

Best, ...
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Unread 01-23-2019, 05:38 PM
Mark McDonnell Mark McDonnell is offline
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Hi Aaron,

I don't know which 'words' this refers to:

words full of stillness
lie corpselike on the page.


A poem the N is trying to write on the plane? Something he's reading? The preceding lines of this poem with their seeming deliberate blandness? ('Asphalt duly salted and clear,/takeoff goes smoothly') I don't need to know everything when I read a poem, but this feels like something I should. As an counter-example, I don't really know what you mean by 'The full weight of error' resting on the earth and in the aisle of the plane, but there, somehow, I don't mind not knowing. Whatever it is the 'words full of stillness' lines seem a bit, dare I say it, adolescent in their bleakness.

I really like these lines:

Something

tugs on the string that raises hand
to forehead


which make me think of the strange gap between making a decision to do something as simple as raising your arm and the action actually happening. It often feels like there's a mysterious missing piece in the equation. You have a nice feeling, I think, for making the commonplace seem alien.

And thank you for the word 'lollygagging'.
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Unread 01-23-2019, 06:43 PM
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Aaron Novick Aaron Novick is offline
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John, Allen, Mark, thanks.

John, my last two poems were written on two flights in close proximity, one to, one from. Other than that I'm not flying an inordinate amount. I'm glad you like this.

Allen, thanks. Glad you enjoy it. I'll think about 'corpselike'—I have my reasons for it, but I might be able to do better. Thanks for pointing it out as a problem spot.

Mark, thanks for your detailed comments. I'm glad you seem to enjoy it overall, and also that you've pushed on a troublesome spot. I've made a quick change in S3 which I hope helps with your issue, though it may not resolve it fully. I will note that I want the reader to think about the difference between "words full of stillness" and the fact that these same words "lie corpselike". The words that open this poem, agitated as they are by "the full weight of error", certainly are not "full of stillness"! (They might "lie corpselike", though I hope not.) I think there's enough in there to ward of charges that it's adolescent, though maybe "corpselike" is a step too far. Both you and Allen are pressing on it, so I'll need to think more about it.
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Unread 01-23-2019, 06:59 PM
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R. Nemo Hill R. Nemo Hill is offline
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I think What, I Don't Know would make a great title, Aaron.

I like it, though it skirts with bathos. The phrase full weight of error kind of elevates it, keeps it from sinking too low into personal depression. The words full of stillness remain the most arcane moment in the poem. I take that section to mean an abandonment of speech as useless to express the feeling the poem is limning.

Nemo
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Unread 01-23-2019, 07:10 PM
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Aaron Novick Aaron Novick is offline
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Thanks, Nemo. I'll keep that in my back pocket for a title—I see the appeal (and I rarely see the appeal of using phrases from a poem for its title). Right now I'm trying to deal with the esoteric moment, and am experimenting with the title as a way to clarify things. It identifies the words, at least, and perhaps what it means to say they're "full of stillness" (and thus also what it means for them to "lie corpselike"). We'll see what folk think.
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Unread 01-23-2019, 07:16 PM
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R. Nemo Hill R. Nemo Hill is offline
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You don't need on the plane. It was cool coming to that realization while reading your poem. Perhaps just Reading Wang Wei. The title does change the poem substantially.

Your poems seem such abstract esoteric objects, they just hang there in space, almost without referent. Sometimes they seem just peculiar to me. Sometimes exquisite. This tips toward the latter.

Nemo
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  #9  
Unread 01-23-2019, 07:28 PM
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Aaron Novick Aaron Novick is offline
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Thanks Nemo. I think the title needs something to place the action of reading Wang Wei, but you're right about "On the plane." Trying a very different tack now.

And thanks as well for the general comment on my poems—you always seem to get right to the pith with these. I like the description of my work as "just hang[ing] there in space, almost without referent," even if it's not always for the better.
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Unread 01-23-2019, 07:37 PM
Jim Moonan Jim Moonan is offline
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Perhaps it's plain as the nose on my face but...
Why do you include a comma in the title? Do you want a pause? It feels like it should be read without pause.
And to risk a further "duh" moment, is "read" past or present tense in the title?

I like the phrasing more than I like the thinking in this. It feels to be overreaching in spots and ponderous in other spots, though it could be my inability to get on the poem's wavelength.
x
x


Back to say...
Oops just noticed we crossposted Aaron. Your title change makes the "nose on my face" mute Though still unsure about "read" or "read".

And one more question: should I know Wei to know this poem?
c
c

x

Last edited by Jim Moonan; 01-23-2019 at 07:45 PM.
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