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  #11  
Unread 08-15-2019, 09:32 AM
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Daniel Kemper Daniel Kemper is offline
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There's a lot to like in this poem, but some places in it contrast those.

The liquid-slate --> I really like this. This really nails the image, but to start it out with "the" (this is really 'nitty') means it's something that's there already and that your are calling my attention to. This is a little 'itchy' for me because we're just starting the poem. I don't already see anything. You have to show me.

undulates just like the earth

I'm on the fence about undulates. It's precise, but draws an awful lot of attention to itself for that precision. It's unclear how the earth undulates.

..........sped up a billion times. -->billion is hard to use in a poem.

The stars stretch out on melting peaks.
..........Shadows salute their primes.

-->I'm thinking that shadows stretch and maybe stars salute; however, I can't really get an image for any of those objects 'saluting'.

In quiet, all is speed—I sense
..........the wheels of some great
Absentee whose imaginary
..........hands draw me on like bait.

-->This reminded me a bit of DH Lawrence's ...City Life* ["hooked and being played/by some malignant angler on an unseen shore who does not choose to land them yet...] I think it is. But our metaphor has changed so rapidly for me. I had been hoping for one consistent metaphor, expanded and expanded like ripples. That might just be me imposing a certain taste though.

*https://www.kenyaplex.com/questions/...at-follow.aspx
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  #12  
Unread 08-15-2019, 07:22 PM
Erik Olson Erik Olson is offline
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Andrew,

After having registered my impressions upon first reading, I have these observations to add. Again, I appreciate the ‘ liquid-slate’ image fine. Only ‘like the earth / sped up a billion times’ rings no bell of recognized similitude in me; this is because the phenomenon compared is not real but a far-flung hypothetical never experienced. The effect of this simile then is to abstract rather than vivify the image.

I still have a reservation about ‘shadows salute their primes.’ It is, I fear, simply not clear enough to what exactly these terms are to correspond. For this reason, it reads more mushy than precise.

‘In quiet, all is speed’ hits a bullseye. I indeed hope you keep that memorable line.

I still appreciate the final image of being drawn by some mysterious power, finding it evocative. However, perhaps ‘bait’ is not the best simile for this. Bait smacks of that which serves as a lure to catch something, yet, unless I am mistaken, here you mean to evoke the motion of bait being dragged through the water without the narrator being analogous to a lure to fool and snag a fish.
Absentee whose imaginary
..........hands draw me on like bait
Yet the part about bait standing for a lure of some kind to catch prey is perhaps not so easily overridden but will inevitably color the import. To be sure, I still enjoy this poem, but I have these reservations to add to the one raised earlier. The other reservation that I did not get to before is the meter, but I will leave that for another post. I hope this helps.

Best,
Erik

P.S. One small suggestion, to take of leave, is to simply singularize ‘hands’. Though I am not completely sure, I wonder if the last sentence might be stronger simplified; if the propinquity of ‘wheels’, ‘hands’, and ‘bait’ does not dilute the impact of all three. A thought anyway.
........................................I sense
..........the imaginary hand
of some great Absentee
..........drawing me on

Last edited by Erik Olson; 08-15-2019 at 08:57 PM.
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  #13  
Unread 08-27-2019, 07:02 AM
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Daniel Kemper Daniel Kemper is offline
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just didn't want to let this fall without returning to an obvious thing for me to have left out - that I love the subject matter. Growing up I LIVED in a canvas and wood kayak made by my grandfather in the saltmarshes of eastern NC. This certainly brought back a great deal of that.
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  #14  
Unread 08-27-2019, 11:02 PM
Andrew Szilvasy Andrew Szilvasy is offline
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Hi all,

Thank you so much for your comments, and sorry for falling off the map here a bit. I've posted a revision.

Some quick thanks and comments:

Erik: thank you for both your initial comment, and then your comments a bit later. I'm glad you like the poem. I tried to clarify and sharpen some of the images which you were less interested in. I hope they work.

Julie: I have the awful habit of saying "wheel" as two syllables. I tried to fix that problem also noted by Nemo in the revision. Thank you.

Jake: Thank you for your feedback. If you throw out atheism in poetry, though, you're throwing out a ton of great poetry (Wallace Stevens immediately springs to mind, but a great deal of others). Regardless, I tried to freshen some of the images.

John: I don't know if the revision clarified this, but thank you nonetheless.

Jim: I'm glad the poem resonates. I tried to clarify and make better the shadows lines (which breaks the meter but I like the sound better so I guess I don't care). I hope it makes it better.

Nemo: Thanks for affirmation on the title. I've given thought to the end, and tried to give it an adaptation of sorts. I'll continue to give it more thought, particularly if it seems to be falling flat still for readers. Jim, in his second post, gets to the feeling I was trying to evoke, and I think that there is still something true about that, our inability to just be can devour us.

Andrew: perhaps the gears better evoke that for a variety of reasons? I revised the shadows, too. I'm thinking of "fate" as a potential final word there still, if I could get the lead-in more congruent with that. Thanks for helping me clarify throughout, particular on the "earth" image, which could clearly be taken a few ways, some of which were confusing.

Daniel: thank you for the Lawrence. I hadn't read it before. Perhaps the revision fixes some of the earlier concerns? Hard to fix "the the" to quote Stevens. You aren't wrong about an inability to rest on a particular metaphor in this poem; frankly, it's a theme (for better or worse) in a lot of my poems. I'm also glad it rings true to you and brings back such fond memories.
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  #15  
Unread 09-13-2019, 06:31 PM
Andrew Szilvasy Andrew Szilvasy is offline
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Sorry to bump this. I've been super swamped with a promotion at work but have been tinkering with this poem a lot. The revision I posted first was trash. I'd appreciate any feedback, though if this is a bit too late and bumping it is a faux pas, I'd be happy to let it sink.
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