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  #11  
Unread 04-12-2019, 08:13 PM
Julie Steiner's Avatar
Julie Steiner Julie Steiner is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Martin Elster View Post
The kind of rhyme I'm using here is what’s known as pararhyme (or frame rhyme). It’s what Wilfred Owen used in “Strange Meeting.” Do you know that poem? It’s a nightmare in hell.

https://www.poetryfoundation.org/poe...trange-meeting

In fact, that’s the poem that inspired me to try it, not just in this poem, but also in a couple of others.
This sort of rhyme is a standard feature of Welsh poetry, e.g. in the cynghanedd form. I imagine that when your language has that many consonants, you need to find creative things to do with them.
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  #12  
Unread 04-12-2019, 08:53 PM
Martin Elster Martin Elster is offline
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Thanks for letting us know, Julie. I didn't know about cynghanedd. Now I do! Thanks! Nothing's ever truly original, is it? Except for the first time it's done, of course.
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  #13  
Unread 04-15-2019, 11:06 AM
Martin Elster Martin Elster is offline
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Hi Erik,

Thanks for coming back with more about “in fact.” I supposed I could go with “in truth.” I like the assonance of “slap/fact.” (“Slap” is the end-word of the previous line.) But I’ll think about it more, since it seems to be a sticking point for you—though you said you’re not all that disturbed by it. I like it, as I said, for the assonance, but that doesn’t mean that some other phrase may not work better.

That last sentence from the OED made me laugh, because it reminded me of a woman I once dated who would mock me whenever I said, “Let’s cuddle.” She couldn't stand that word for some reason.
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  #14  
Unread 04-15-2019, 04:12 PM
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Daniel Recktenwald Daniel Recktenwald is offline
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Hey, Martin.

This post returns to an earlier line of discussion. I loved this book by Susan Wise Bauer. A little guided tour of primary sources in the history of science. Though Bauer has a style of her own, her writing reminds me of the work of the late, much-missed Stephen Jay Gould.

Bauer confidently manages the task of making complexities accessible to non-scientists while not dumbing them down in the least.

https://www.amazon.com/Story-Western.../dp/1511321091

Best regards,
D
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  #15  
Unread 04-15-2019, 05:40 PM
Martin Elster Martin Elster is offline
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Thank you, Daniel! I'm going to look into Bauer's book.

Best,
Martin
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  #16  
Unread 04-16-2019, 09:02 AM
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Aaron Novick Aaron Novick is offline
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This is a good one, Martin.

A few spots that flag for me:

– In L7, "screaming round the demon" doesn't really work for me. Plus, while I appreciate the off-rhymes here, demon/domain isn't just an offrhyme, it's an offrhyme on an unstressed syllable (for "demon"). You don't do that anywhere else in the poem, and it feels like a mistake here.

– the two "from"s in L8 are a bit awkward.

– L12-L14 are a bit didactic and explain-y. Can you find a way to go straight from "It wouldn't be there any longer" to "Even a quasar dies", letting the general principle ("nothing in the universe...") emerge implicitly without having to be stated explicitly?

– Overall, I think you've got a nice balance of seriousness and humor here, but for whatever reason "to furnish chlorophyll" is falling too far on the silly side of things for me.

– Also, the "Yet" in that line (L19) feels like metrical filler. In general the transition here feels a bit rushed.
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  #17  
Unread 04-16-2019, 11:58 AM
Martin Elster Martin Elster is offline
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Hi Aaron,

Thanks for reading and commenting. I’m glad you enjoyed this overall. I appreciate your pinpointing the spots that seemed iffy for you. You are correct about demon/domain being a non-rhyme. So I have replaced it with something that also fixes the repetition of “from” in L8. (Yes, I killed two bad planets with one asteroid.)

I cut straight from L11 (“In fact, it wouldn’t be there any longer”) to “even a well-built quasar cannot linger.” I’m hoping “well-built” has just the right amount of drollery in keeping with the yin and yang of the serious and comical.

The “yet” in L19 is meant to suggest a contrasting viewpoint, so I’m not sure why you think it’s filler.

How come you think “to furnish chlorophyll” (L19) sounds funny? It’s what green plants do to nourish themselves. I suppose that the mention of chlorophyll is a bit out of the blue. Maybe that’s why it sounds too comical. OK, I’ve come up with an alternative, which is perhaps more visual (and keeps the D alliteration going from 2 lines before):

after their crowns of blazing foliage fail
to draw the daylight in ...

Regarding the phrase “screaming round the demon” — are you referring to the screaming or the demon? I’m using “screaming” in the sense of “move very rapidly with or as if with a loud, high-pitched sound (“The shell screamed overhead”). Of course, in space, there is no sound! But I was going for a bit of synesthesia. I could replace it with “streak” or “whip.” In any case, “demon” (as I said above) has been replaced. So the revised line is

and view the inferno screaming round the colossus

Maybe I could have

and view the inferno flying round the colossus
or
and view the inferno whipping round the colossus

I’m alluding to the gas and dust falling into the black hole, which whips around it at tremendous speeds, so the stuff heats up to mind-boggling temperatures. This is from Wikipedia:

Quote:
The black hole is surrounded by a gaseous accretion disk. As gas falls toward the black hole, energy is released in the form of electromagnetic radiation, which can be observed across the electromagnetic spectrum. The power radiated by quasars is enormous: the most powerful quasars have luminosities thousands of times greater than a galaxy such as the Milky Way.
The transition to “yet do not wander” (L19) might be a bit rushed, as you said. I’ll think about how to make it more gradual.

I posted a revision. Thanks again, Aaron. Your comments got me thinking and I think the poem has improved.

Best,
Martin

Last edited by Martin Elster; 04-16-2019 at 12:02 PM.
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  #18  
Unread 04-16-2019, 01:08 PM
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Aaron Novick Aaron Novick is offline
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Nice revisions, Martin.

I find it hard to put my issue with "furnish chlorophyll" into words exactly... it just rubbed my ear the wrong way. It's weirdly formal, maybe? An effect accentuated by the alliteration (fail to furnish) and the consonance (fail/phyll). In a vacuum that should've had a nice poetic effect, but it was just sticking out in strange ways for me. I like what you have now, but see my comments below.

In L8, "from just enough away" is a bit awkward, with its suppressed "far". Since the line before has a feminine ending, why not change L8 to: "from just far enough away (be cautious!)". And I think "so" in L9 should be "that" grammatically—a bit smoother, even if "so" isn't exactly wrong.

In L17, the more I think about it, the more I think the "yet" is doing all the mischief. It just doesn't make sense to me as a transition. If you reconfigured the start of the line a bit and just went straight into "Do not wander", I think it would work. Or something like this:
to draw in daylight. Careful! Do not wander
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  #19  
Unread 04-16-2019, 01:44 PM
Martin Elster Martin Elster is offline
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Thanks, Aaron, for letting me know that it’s working better.

I hear what you’re saying about “from just far enough away” vs. “from just enough away” (L8). I have to say, though, that I like the internal rhyme (though it’s subtle) of “just” and “must”:

from just enough away (you must be cautious!)

Also, I’m not sure I want to put so much stress on “from” if I go with

from just far enough away (be cautious!)

Though I agree that the feminine ending before it justifies the promotion of “from.” I’ll have to think more on it.

Regarding “yet” in L17. The thing I’m trying to imply is that, even though the quasar will have long since been quiescent (not gobbling up the nearby stars anymore by the time we get there in our spaceship), it’s still not wise to get too close to it, because we could still be swallowed. That’s the purpose of that “yet.” The beast has quieted down (gone dormant like the dogwood trees), but is still capable of swallowing things if they come to near!

So I’m wondering what your objection to the “yet” is. Can you be more specific about why you feel it’s putting a wrench in the works?

But I'm not ruling out your suggested edits. On the contrary, I think they're good and I'm grateful. I just need to ponder these details a bit more.
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  #20  
Unread 04-16-2019, 01:56 PM
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Aaron Novick Aaron Novick is offline
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My suggestions are just suggestions—I won't be offended if you reject them on reflection!

I see what you're saying about "yet"—I was getting distracted by the dogwoods and missing it. So I'm sold on having some transition along those lines, but I'll still push for jettisoning "yet", which is kind of limp. Could you do something like: "daylight in. Still! Do not wander..."? That's livelier, and fits the tone, I think.
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