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Unread 08-26-2019, 11:07 AM
Julie Steiner's Avatar
Julie Steiner Julie Steiner is offline
Join Date: Feb 2003
Location: San Diego, CA, USA
Posts: 6,053

LOL, we all seem to be thinking of something else. I thought of three other things.

First, I can't get the fabulous alliterative opposites of L3 of this Carly Pearce earworm out of my head:

Every little thing
I remember every little thing
The high, the hurt, the shine, the sting
Of every little thing

Oh, how I love that third line! So simple, yet it packs such an emotional wallop in the context of a relationship that has ended.

Your sonnet lacks any magical lines like that third line. That's my main objection to it, really. The basic idea of presenting both sides of a miscommunication in a relationship is intriguing, but I don't think rhyme and meter are enough to transform a piece of writing into a poem.

The second thing I think of is John Crowe Ransom's double-perspective sonnet, "Piazza Piece." I've never really liked that sonnet, because I just can't be persuaded to give a damn about either of its cardboard characters; its old-fashioned diction makes it clear that this is not a real scenario with living, breathing people in it. For example, is the man in love with this particular young, beautiful woman, or would any young, beautiful woman meet his requirements? And he has a bit of a pot/kettle problem if he bemoans the fact that she prefers a lover who is young, when so does he. Again, the "he said/she said" concept is interesting in theory, but in practice, Ransom has delivered a pretty mediocre and bloodless poem. (In fact, I find the lines of his poem so unmemorable that all I remembered of it was the title, the anaphora on "I am a...", and the word "dustcoat." Meh.)

[Edited to say: Yes, I know it's supposed to be a send-up of literary clichés. And I think there's great comedic potential. I just don't find what Ransom's done with it to be very funny.]

[Edited again to say: And yeah, I know that Ransom is probably playing off the "Death and the Maiden" theme, too. I still find his poem underwhelming.]

I think you have the same problem here, Daniel. The double-perspective idea is promising, and could be taken in various directions--comedic, serious--but there's nothing really poetic about your sonnet other than rhyme and meter, and no lines that lodge in my memory. I'm not as picky as I usually am about sonnets needing a turn, since sonnets in series often don't have them, and the fact that this one is paired with another poem puts it in that "series" category for me. But it needs something to hold my interest. I want more memorable turns of phrase--more magic.

The third thing I think of is Gary Chapman's rather unscientific but still conceptually useful theory that people who speak different love languages (receiving gifts, quality time, words of affirmation, acts of service/thoughtfulness/devotion, and physical touch) have trouble understanding each others' expressions of love. (E.g., the infamous "You think you can buy my affection by giving me stuff, but you never tell me that you love me" vs. "All these empty words about how much you love me, but you're not willing to spend any money on me.") So yes, you're onto something, and the situation will resonate with many people, including me. But a promising idea is not the same as a captivating poetic experience. And your sonnet definitely isn't there yet, for me.

Last edited by Julie Steiner; 08-26-2019 at 12:07 PM. Reason: can't shut up
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Unread 08-27-2019, 06:54 AM
Daniel Kemper's Avatar
Daniel Kemper Daniel Kemper is offline
Join Date: Jul 2009
Location: California
Posts: 781


Didn't mean to drop off without addressing your post about the second half falling back to a different person, but think you see I've edited in accordance. Thank you a ton for pointing out a few quick things that really cleaned this up a lot and fast.

Not that I've really forethought it all here, but I've often thought that a technique with a lot of potential for a book of poetry would be scattering rhymes or poems around a theme but with a certain progression. To tell a story as an impressionist paints. Not just collected, unconnected works. Not just a linear narrative. Not a hot mess like Ulysses.

Hey Mark- very happy to have your input. My first reaction to posting a rondeau for her is no way. Because the necessary contrast of ways of thinking. As far as the turn, I might return to tighten that up a little, but not too much. I thought, but apparently missed my target with the audience, that the turn was there because all questions stop and the self-conversation moves into solutions. Well, in the final line there's a final exasperation, but I figured that to be callback.

Having said that about the rondeau not being able to fit her voice... there's always a way. And I'm not altogether happy with that pronouncement. I think I'll have to pack it as a task for it's own poem.

Matt -again- Dude! So much of what you write is exactly what I'm aiming for. Very gratifying to read. Note on shrew is only that it's intended as something so negative she couldn't possibly be that.

John. Yup.

Julie, I'm going to take a while with your post. I think it's off the mark, but only because it's wanting to make a different poem than this is. It might be just that I have a different, larger scale use for this to fit into-- as you glean. And I don't mean 'take a while' as indirect speak for saying thanksnothanks, sorrynotsorry. I never had in heart or mind the goal of hitting the perfect image, but only the perfectly representative internal dialogue. Not that the two need to be mutually exclusive at all. As you've seen, though I'll start with tightening (a little) the turn. Also as you glean, the mildness or weakness in it because of a larger string of poems in mind. Now whether I'll get all the way through it or let it dissipate into work and kids and all remains to be seen. Thank you for all the effort you put into my posts. I don't always like what I read, but I always like the engagement.

I don't know if I have done or can do justice to how much I value this site and all of it's input.
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Unread 09-04-2019, 11:14 PM
Daniel Kemper's Avatar
Daniel Kemper Daniel Kemper is offline
Join Date: Jul 2009
Location: California
Posts: 781

Rondeau version up
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