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Unread 07-16-2019, 12:24 PM
John Isbell John Isbell is offline
Join Date: Mar 2017
Location: TX
Posts: 4,952

The eyes like dinner-plates are indeed in Hans Christian Andersen.

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Unread 07-16-2019, 02:24 PM
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R. Nemo Hill R. Nemo Hill is offline
Join Date: Jan 2006
Location: Halcott, New York
Posts: 8,991

Ach, I loved the childishly colloquial way, way boring.

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Unread 07-16-2019, 07:52 PM
Jim Moonan Jim Moonan is offline
Join Date: Aug 2016
Location: Boston, MA
Posts: 2,254

So much to linguistically savor, as always.
You hooked me at S1L2,3 with the two-sided use of "like".

It has slight shades of “Big Fish” (a Tim Burton movie).

I don’t know that you need both Todds in S4. You could do away with the second one, I think, and just use pronoun.

Much enjoyed.
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Unread 07-16-2019, 11:29 PM
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Allen Tice Allen Tice is offline
Join Date: Nov 2006
Location: Brooklyn, NY USA
Posts: 4,525

No jokes. I, too, like it.
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Unread 07-19-2019, 05:45 AM
Jim Hayes Jim Hayes is offline
Join Date: Dec 1999
Location: Kilkenny, Kilkenny, Ireland
Posts: 4,919

The spool on which the line is wound revolves in the reel so the usage is correct although spinning is the more natural term.
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Unread 07-20-2019, 03:58 PM
Aaron Poochigian Aaron Poochigian is offline
Join Date: May 2007
Location: New York, NY
Posts: 4,342

Sorry, all, for the delay in responding.

Andrew, I am glad you enjoyed this chapter. Yes, I, too, wish there were some better word than “the richies” but “the wealthy” doesn’t fit the idiom of twelve-year-old Todd. I’m still looking.

I will also look into expanding the ending. Perhaps adding a few exclamations expressing what Todd would tell his friends. Thank you.

Matt, I am also looking for something better than “like dinner plates.” I think the default color of dinner plates is white—and I want to specify that the eyes are both very large and white (they turn that color when the squid dies).

I understand that “a couple bluefish” is not grammatical. It’s very common to drop the “of” in America: “Grab a couple beers on your way back in!”

Matt and Jim H., I do see the “reel” as the whole device near the base of the rod. Since there is a separate “spool” inside it (as Jim points out) there could be “revving in the reel.”

John, thank you. That the simile is in folktales makes me maybe want to keep it. Hmn.

Thank you, Nemo. I had a lot of fun with Todd’s voice in this piece.

Thank you, Jim M. I think I need those “Todds” just to make sure there is no ambiguity with the father (also a “he”).

Allen, thank you for enjoying this.



Last edited by Aaron Poochigian; 07-20-2019 at 04:01 PM.
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Unread 07-22-2019, 12:38 AM
Jake Sheff Jake Sheff is offline
Join Date: Sep 2013
Location: Portland, OR
Posts: 265


I absolutely love how this poem puts what I'll call "valley girl-speak" to use (the ridiculous use of "like" as filler, and all the other things kids -- and some adults, sadly -- say). There are always people arguing for poetry to use the common man's speech, and this takes it ad adsurdum. Not only that, but in rhyming verse. So it's sort of sonic paradox -- the pairing of adolescent vernacular (is the narrator Holden Caulfield?) with meter and rhyme.

It is fascinating how N is not Todd but seems to be reading a transcript of his stream of conscious thoughts?

This seems a novel addition to the "big fish" genre of tall tales. You could even make it a bit taller at the end, I thin.

I think the difficulty of narrative verse is having so little space to develop character -- Todd comes off as very two dimensional. Although he does change in the end. But up to then, he is the typical "eye rolling" teenager.

The ending's pacing seemed to fast, like things got wrapped up with a happy conclusion very quickly. And with an easy rhyme of dad/glad. It makes this feel more comedic - the happy ending, quick resolution. But I also felt maybe the sea monster genre is by nature more tragic?

I don't see any obvious craft issues. I think a touch of tragedy might help the sense of it, although I could be wrong. Maybe it'd be too easy, but what if it mentions dad's medication falling from his pocket when he falls on his ass? His aspirin or nitroglycerin or chemo... Maybe Todd made this whole experience up to keep his father alive forever through a legend.

A touch of tragedy or the unknown, the religious mystical experience. If you could add that, it might enhance the poem's effect? "Dad sat on his ass, burning / like a constellation..."

I hope this helps and I didn't waste your time! I appreciate the poem and really feel like it is Salinger-esque verse ("Skaz" is the word I couldn't think of earlier), which I can honestly say I've not seen done in the 2010's (not with the likes of "like"); so the sound was refreshingly fresh



Addendum: It isn't clear toward the end whether it was the squid that actually broke dad's line and caused his pole to fly behind them. I'm also not one for reaching after fact too irritably, but I'm not sure it's plausible that whatever dad was fishing with somehow resulted in the giant squid dying. So the squid snapped the line, got away but ultimately perished? From an angler's hook and bait on the shore?
"Hugely dead" is funny, but does the squid have to die?

Last edited by Jake Sheff; 07-22-2019 at 08:10 AM. Reason: Cleaned up
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Unread 07-22-2019, 11:18 AM
Aaron Poochigian Aaron Poochigian is offline
Join Date: May 2007
Location: New York, NY
Posts: 4,342

Thank you, Jeff. I agree that I need to add more to the end of this section. Andrew S. suggested the same. I hope I have taken care of the problem in the revision.
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