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  #1  
Unread 10-22-2020, 06:50 PM
Yves S L Yves S L is offline
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Default Sonnet III

Representation

I claim Van Gogh painted his Starry Night
To ease his swirling starry soul—but I
Am walking here alone through darkened streets
Where scintillas of truth are hard to find,
Though lies can dazzle like his swirling stars
Spinning luminescence over the Rhone;
Perhaps even the falsest light can show
A brushstroke one has never seen before:
Notice the far away cathedral spire,
Notice the cypress near your eye and how
They both puncture the dazzling violet madness;
But who keeps looking at a church or tree
When clouds are spinning stars above the village
And devils lick the lobe of the left ear?

[1] L6: Spinning luminescence over Rhone --> Spinning luminescence over the Rhone
[2] Added Title: Representation
[3] L1: I say Van Gogh painted his Starry Night --> I claim Van Gogh painted his Starry Night

Last edited by Yves S L; 10-25-2020 at 02:39 AM.
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  #2  
Unread 10-22-2020, 07:23 PM
Max Goodman Max Goodman is offline
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Hi, Yves. This intrigues me, but stays too abstract to fulfill its promise. I want to know something about the lies and what they have helped (or can help) the speaker see.

It strikes me as awkward to refer to Rhone, rather than the Rhone.
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  #3  
Unread 10-24-2020, 09:14 PM
Yves S L Yves S L is offline
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Hello Max,

I have changed the construction to "over the Rhone" (the loose pentameter can handle it) as per your suggestion.

As for your question about lies and what they have helped (or can help) the speaker/reader see, well, that is one of the central themes of the sonnet. At this stage, it is not useful for me to say too much, because I need to see how and what the poem communicates in its original state.

Thank you for your comments.
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  #4  
Unread 10-24-2020, 11:34 PM
Max Goodman Max Goodman is offline
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Hi, Yves,

Just to be clear, I wasn't asking for you to tell me anything that isn't the poem, but commenting on what the poem leaves out.
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  #5  
Unread 10-24-2020, 11:55 PM
Yves S L Yves S L is offline
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Removed clue.

Last edited by Yves S L; 10-25-2020 at 02:52 AM.
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  #6  
Unread 10-25-2020, 02:22 AM
Max Goodman Max Goodman is offline
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Hi, Yves,

I've responded by PM.
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  #7  
Unread 10-26-2020, 06:06 AM
W T Clark W T Clark is offline
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Yo.


Consider rewording "spinning luminescence" for me its too vague and too in love with its own sound with not enough of a pay off for the reader.
"violet madness" nah, again too vague.
I don't think "lick the lobe of the left ear" fits the mood. The image is sophisticated but the tone is too artificial when combined with "I claim". "claim" has an academicness but also a passion. I think the line would benefit from an introduction of "my".
This is a lovely sonnet Yves, I really enjoyed reading it. You might consider changing the title though.

Conope this helps.
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  #8  
Unread 10-26-2020, 07:14 AM
Matt Q Matt Q is offline
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Hi Yves,

So, the N states his thesis (Van Gogh painted Starry Night to ease his soul), but then calls it into question: He's alone at night in empty streets, which makes the truth is hard to find, and falsehoods can be attractive. But then again, maybe being wrong doesn't prevent his idea from illuminating the painting -- seeing something new in it.

I like the closing three lines, and how they can be read two complementary ways. Firstly, with "who" referring to Van Gogh and seeming to counter the N's original hypothesis. If Van Gogh were overwhelmed by madness, he wouldn't have painted the tree and Cathedral. Secondly, it can refer to the N (and others looking at the painting too). The viewer focusses on the violet swirls, and so ignores the spire and tree; the viewer focusses on the madness -- and hence the N's opening hypothesis is understandable.

I do like where the poem goes, but in terms of how it gets there, I had a similar response to Max. The abstraction count is just too high here. The ideas are too often directly stated -- and spelled out -- rather than shown. I'd say find a way to use more imagery (the poem is about a painting, after all, but even if it weren't ...) allusion and metaphor and less abstraction. The ideas here don't need to be so clearly spelled out, I think, and the fact that they are detracts from my enjoyment of the poem. Give me a little more to do as a reader.

L1-2 are very "telly" stating the thesis in very direct terms. L4 basically says, "the truth is hard to find", which also wanders into cliche: and "scintillas of truth" gives us an abstraction modifying and abstraction, and zero image. I reckon it would be possible to find an image-based metaphors that suggest truth, lies and falsity with naming them. "Madness" clunked for me. Again, it should be possible to find a way of suggesting madness or mental distress without just naming it. (For example: "spirals" -- which suggests mental distress and also a descent into it; and there are spirals in the painting). I'd also wonder if (L11) is close to redundant; it seems to me that question posed by the last three lines pretty much gives the reader all they need to know about the role of the spire and church contra the madness theory.


best,

Matt

Last edited by Matt Q; 10-26-2020 at 07:35 AM.
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  #9  
Unread 10-26-2020, 01:02 PM
Yves S L Yves S L is offline
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Hello Cameron and Matt,

Thank you for your comments.
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  #10  
Unread 10-26-2020, 04:35 PM
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RCL RCL is offline
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Yves, like this for emphasizing what seem the “intrusive” church and tree. It’s easy enough to see the church as meddling with the brain or vision, but I’m wondering about the tree--suggesting all earthly nature? At the moment, tentative myself, how about “It seems” at take off?
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