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Old 09-20-2018, 08:43 AM
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Daniel Kemper Daniel Kemper is offline
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Default I know, I know

[version two]

I know. I know.

For her, feeling is a form of knowing
and so she patiently selects what's right
for him. "Thinking is a form of knowing,"

he thinks, in silence, while she's glowing
just to touch his arm and ease his plight.
For her feelings, there's a form of knowing

that he can't get. It's better just showing
him what to choose, not meaning to make light
of him: thinking sets him firm in knowing,

but while he thinks, she chooses, not owing
an explanation for her choice. He might
take her feeling as a formal showing

of worth, but feeling is for him like throwing
with your left hand. It never will feel right.
Sometimes thinking just malforms the knowing,

he'd guess, dimly seeing what she's showing
and wants to tell her why without a fight.
For her, feeling is a form of knowing.
For him, thinking is a form of knowing.



###
I know, I know.


For her, feeling is a form of knowing
and so she patiently selects what's right
for him. "Thinking is my form of knowing,"

he thinks, in silence, but why's she going
on and on at him like this tonight?
For her feelings, there's a form of knowing

that he can't get. It's better just showing
him what to choose, not meaning to make light
of him: thinking sets him firm in knowing,

but while he thinks, she chooses, not owing
an explanation for her choice. He might
take her feeling as a formal showing

perforce, but feeling is for him like throwing
with your left hand. It never will seem right.
Sure, some thinking just malforms that knowing,

he'd guess, dimly seeing what she's showing
but still, he has to tell her--wait: don't fight.
For her, feeling is a form of knowing.
For him, thinking is a form of knowing.

Last edited by Daniel Kemper; 09-25-2018 at 08:20 AM.
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Old 09-20-2018, 10:41 AM
Matt Q Matt Q is offline
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Hi Daniel,

I like the plain, simple style here, and the choice of subject-matter: The thinking vs feeling opposition is one that most readers will be familiar with, from one side or another. I particularly liked the perspective shift from S1 to S2: that he experiences her patient selection of what's right as her having a go at him, which nicely illustrates their mismatched styles. I also liked the metaphor of "left-hand throwing" which has a tactile (maybe not the right word) element -- I can feel it (and it has a cleverness too, if, like me, you were thinking left and right brain here).

My first thought reading this was that it was too abstract (appropriately left-brain though that it is), and would benefit from some concrete imagery. There's pretty much none here. However the more I read it the less that seemed to bother me; I think that may be because I did come to construct something of an image around it (I see them sitting a the front room, for example). Still perhaps if there were some way to introduce a touch of imagery, a hint of place maybe, or a body posture, or a gesture or a facial expression -- something to help the reader to see something, I think that this might add something.

The closing two lines don't quite do it for me. It's perhaps too much of a straight repetition of the basic theme of the poem: we're told again what we've been told before. I wonder if there's a way to twist them, even slightly, even if just the wording rather than the meaning. That said, it's possible the close is set up by the preceding line, and I'm missing how that works because I find it a little confusing:

"but still, he has to tell her--wait: don't fight."

The em-dash marks an interjection. Whose? Does he tell her "wait don't fight"? Does he tell himself to wait and not fight. Does she tell him? Or, is this the narrator interjecting to set up the close? The idea being, don't fight, you're just different?

I don't know if I've understood what "a formal showing" means in S4. I'm thinking it means something like "formal demonstration", that he might mistake her feeling-based suggestion for a thinking-based argument. Interpret it as logic rather than feeling. Are you missing a comma at the end of S4L3? 'perforce' strikes me a slightly off for the voice, a little too formal maybe. Might "of course" might in its place?

best,

Matt

Last edited by Matt Q; 09-20-2018 at 10:48 AM.
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Old 09-20-2018, 01:22 PM
James Brancheau James Brancheau is offline
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I agree with Matt, dump the last 2 lines. And formal. And malforms- I don't know what that's doing here. Really. Or who the speaker is at that point. That said, this suits you and I think it's good. Maybe great, but need to spend more time with it. Imo, you're a cerebral poet, and sometimes that gets in the way. There are no images here. Which is fine. Other work you've posted, the ones I've read, I wondered whether you're getting in the way of the image, or if the image is getting in the way of you. This feels right.

JB
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Old 09-20-2018, 03:09 PM
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Daniel Kemper Daniel Kemper is offline
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at work just now sneaking a peak. great feedback, yes tiny but critical tweaks I need to make slammed this together from last two lines which popped in mind and I left for ~6weeks, then in an hour banged out the villanelle.... I think it's a sign of success that its so well disguised. the two lines were SO similar, I had to do something...
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Old 09-20-2018, 03:41 PM
Matt Q Matt Q is offline
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Hi Daniel,

I had seen that this was a villanelle (if that's what "so well hidden" refers to). I do like that the two repetends so similar and have the same end-word. In a good villanelle (IMHO) the repetends dance round each other for five stanzas, and when they finally come together at the end, something, hopefully, is added by this. What I'm trying to say about the ending is that this doesn't quite happen for me here.

I had a thought about "a formal showing". Assuming I'm right about what it's meant to convey, and given also that it's the only deviation from "knowing" an alternative might be something like:

....................................... He might
take her feeling as a thought of knowing,


to say that he mistakes her felt knowledge for the product of thinking. And given the line is headless, there's also the option of:

....................................... He might
mistake her feeling for a thought of knowing,


Also, I had also wondered about "Sure, some thinking just malforms the knowing". I guess you could go for:

Sure, sometimes thinking misinforms the knowing.

The link to "information" seems to fit the left-brain thinker.

best,

-Matt
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Old 09-20-2018, 06:00 PM
Martin Elster Martin Elster is offline
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Daniel - The cleverness of this is fun to read. It is certainly intellectual as apposed to emotional or imagery-filled.

A couple are having an argument. The women appears to be hollering at the guy. He rationalizes her reason as acting out her feelings, while he tries being calm and rational.

I wonder if one or two facial expressions or body postures or some hand gesture injected someplace in the poem might go a long way to ground it and give it a setting. But maybe the reader can imagine it. Are they in their living room? A store where the woman is insisting on buying a certain item of clothing that the man doesn’t care for? Is she trying to persuade him about some business or money matter? That may not be important to the gist of the poem.

One question I have is who are these people? Maybe it should be left open. My first impression is that it’s a married couple or lovers or friends. I don’t imagine it to be a parent and child, though.

I think “formal showing” means she is acting out her emotions, showing them. But why use a new rhyme word? I wonder about “formal” even though it’s a nice alliteration with “feeling.” There might be a better adjective in place of “formal,” which seems to stray a bit from the “informal” diction.

“Malforms” is a strange word to use there, but I think I have an inkling about what it means. For her, thinking is not natural, so it distorts or warps her original and innate feeling.

I like the way you modify the refrains with polyptoton: changing “form” “firm” “formal” “malforms.”

The last couplet doesn’t impart anything new. I think some modification that adds something unexpected or gives the poem a bit of a twist would nicely round out this villanelle.

I see that Matt has some ideas worth “thinking” about.
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Old 09-20-2018, 10:02 PM
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Daniel Kemper Daniel Kemper is offline
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Hoping very much to hear a woman's voice chime in...

For now let me say that I want the poem to end in a semi-tragic standoff where the reader can see that thinking and feeling are both valid forms of knowing, but the protagonists don't quite get there. I want the stark parallelism. Not to say the stark parallelism I want has been achieved, instead it seems there's a kind of stark parallelism in place now that hasn't hit the mark yet.

Situation imagined: I didn't settle on one yet, you're all right to sense my un-ease and non-commitment. Two most prevalent in mind are: Clothing shopping and a party. It came out more like the former thought I wanted the latter more because it's far more generalizable. Two hundred years ago, what clothing shopping was there? What will it be in two hundred years? But past, present, future vast numbers of men and women will know exactly what it's like when she has occasion to act as lead socializer for him. (BTW, I hadn't thought of her haranguing him, but more needing to assert to him that her feelings were valid, maybe even better, as a way of knowing. )

Poem's at the perfect place to post. A few slight changes can total change the entire poem, point of view, outcome, etc.. It seems increasingly likely that there will be several versions with different outcomes that can come out with equal craft and validity.

Before I commit to specifics, let me only thank you all and pause. Hoping very much to hear a woman's voice or two chime in.
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Old 09-20-2018, 11:36 PM
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RCL RCL is offline
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Though not a fan of the form, this one engaged me for the tension of the two modes of knowing. It very much reminds me of the dramatic form of the conflict in Frost's "Home Burial," in a good way!
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Old 09-21-2018, 07:25 AM
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Jan Iwaszkiewicz Jan Iwaszkiewicz is offline
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The eternal 'Mars and Venus' mutual codependancy in a villanelle. The form is apposite.

This is well done Daniel. It may be tweaked but the bones are in place.

Regards,

Jan

Last edited by Jan Iwaszkiewicz; 09-21-2018 at 07:27 AM.
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Old 09-25-2018, 02:45 PM
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Daniel Kemper Daniel Kemper is offline
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[was hoping for some woman's p.o.v., oh well.]

Hi Matt,

[thinking vs feeling]
[he experiences her patient selection of what's right as her having a go at him, which nicely illustrates their mismatched styles.]***THANK YOU MUCH for this. I've adapted this a little as I wasn't sure from the feedback if the misunderstanding is what I was illustrating. You nailed it.

["left-hand throwing"]"left/right brain" was a bonus. Actually, I taught myself to throw left handed to raise my kids so I could remind myself how it was to learn to throw. And how hard it is to learn to show..

[too abstract] {to introduce a touch of imagery...} Agreed. A source of some worry.

[closing two lines... straight repetition] Going for summary, clarification and standoff (see RCL).
[preceding line... confusing] -Yes, tells himself not to fight. Yes, not well-played. New version tries something a little different.

["a formal showing"/demonstration"], she's just trying to assert validity; he takes it as a beat-down by something he can't understand.

"a formal showing"... of force/strength/will/worth/dominance/value/... --very tough to get the right word.
I loved the rest of your suggestions, they were catalyzing. I'm hoping to "pop" out "showing" b/c under the thinking/feeling is also the telling/showing component of communication. Very slippery to manage four voices.

###
Hi James,

Thank you for your summary and holding it in context of my other work. Hopefully the rearrangements bring out what I was going for with the starkness of the last two lines.

###
Martin, hello!
[cleverness fun] Thank you!

[argument] - not exactly an argument [hollering] He perceives her dogging him some. [acting out] using feelings to show, as a
means of communicating, versus thinking and telling.

[one or two facial expressions [etc.] injected] Neat that you intuit clothing shopping. That was one of the two situations I had in mind. The other was just a party or family gathering. Agreed a concrete detail or two.

[who are these people] [left open] Yes. Because universal and in the end about knowing, not people. It's clearly peer-to-peer.

[“formal showing”] not 'showing her emotions' showing that feeling is a valid means of knowing/evaluating the world.
[But why use a new rhyme word?] To show the importance of showing. [formal] - overt, direct, but polite. [Strays a bit] Yes. She pulls back a bit to validate herself to him.

[“Malforms” is a strange word] [what it means--For her, thinking is not natural, so it distorts or warps her original and innate feeling.] As unnatural as a "righty" throwing with his left hand. It can be done. And learned up very well. But really never perfectly natural.

[polyptoton]---THAT'S the word. UG. I couldn't think of it!!!

[last couplet] - I'm somewhat working in reverse here; the whole rest of the villanelle is so varied, I wanted the direct and unvaried version to provide a clear conclusion, which if those lines are not there and you were reading the poem for the first time, I think would leave one wondering about what seems so clear here.

####
RCL! Dude, {two modes of knowing} perfect summation. [Frost's "Home Burial," in a good way!] THANK YOU! Very late in the process that poem DID float into mind. I was first introduced to it via Judson Jerome...

###
The form is apposite. --A very high complement. Thank you! Villanelle-structure has so much unrecognized potential.
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