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  #21  
Unread 06-12-2019, 02:29 AM
Matt Q Matt Q is offline
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Hi Julie,

I preferred R3 to R5. The rhymes in the new S1 are slant to me: "scant" and "rant" are perfect rhymes with each other, as are "Can't" and "chant", but there's a short-to-long vowel sound shift between the two pairs. That could just be a southern English thing (but we are the centre of the universe here in Southern England). Plus, I like S1 as the opening and I think the rhetorical structure is right in R3. I almost wondered if you could drop it to two stanzas.

She populates his rallies, multituded,
repeating all the slogans he’s exuded:
“Us FIRST!” “We’re NUMBER ONE!” But she’s deluded
to think his royal “we” means she’s included.

When he decays, she’ll fade to just a song
of glory—We were SPECIAL! We were STRONG!—
and grievance—TRAITORS made our reign go wrong!—
until the next Narcissus comes along.

Since, being Narcissus we know he loves himself. But maybe then close of S1 needs some elaboration. And without it the last stanza reads like it explains her delusion, which it doesn't. I think you might just look to rework S2 of R3.

EDIT: Ah, I've just seen your latest two-stanza revision ...

best,

Matt

Last edited by Matt Q; 06-12-2019 at 02:31 AM.
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  #22  
Unread 06-12-2019, 04:38 AM
Max Goodman Max Goodman is offline
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This keeps getting better. Not bringing up Echo and Narcissus until the end (bar the title) works well. The grammar around "multituded" is solid now.

FWIW, I'm still not there for "extruded." The suggestion of defecation is too vague for that to overcome the abstraction.

The enjambment of "song/of glory" worked better for me when the lines were shorter.

What a damned nitpicker, eh?
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  #23  
Unread 06-12-2019, 11:15 AM
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Julie Steiner Julie Steiner is offline
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Thanks for your continued patience with this, Max, Ashley, A. Sterling (hello!), and Matt. Tweaks to Draft 6 posted above. I had connection woes immediately after posting the original Draft 6 last night, so I couldn't mention it in the thread itself until now. Apologies.

Max's and A. Sterling's comments about the the four rhymes (and assorted earlier comments from various critics about the grammatical awkwardness and enjambment in some of the now-cut stanzas) made me conclude that I should stick a bit closer to the Spanish cuaderna vía format, which uses a longer line: i.e., alexandrines (named for the earliest known example of cuaderna vía, which is an epic about the death of Alexander the Great). But for years I've been hearing Eratosphereans complain about how much they dislike alexandrines, and my failed attempts to duplicate them in English. In my translations of cuaderna vía I now usually resort to either iambic pentameter or dipodics (the meter of "I am the very model of a modern major general") instead of iambic hexameter. And I thought that the lilt of dipodics might lighten the step this somewhat ponderous piece.

Max, I'm actually okay with the whiff of defecation attached to "extruded." I originally had an industrial plastics connotation in mind, but maybe I should embrace the other with "message-hole." I've tried that. It might bring the tone a bit too low, though. On the other hand, the change to the meter is already lightening the piece a bit, I hope, so perhaps that lower register will seem fitting.

Ashley, I'm puzzled by your suggestion. "Colluded"? Whatever do you mean? What collusion? Are you saying I shouldn't take Trump and Putin at their word?

Sorry to have been editing while you were commenting, Matt. But clearly there was some telepathy at work, because I felt (and shared) your uncertainty about the lack of a transition from S1 to S2. I'm still thinking about that.

(L2 still isn't quite right, so I'll have to keep tinkering with that. But later.)

Last edited by Julie Steiner; 06-12-2019 at 11:39 AM.
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  #24  
Unread 06-12-2019, 11:53 AM
Max Goodman Max Goodman is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Julie Steiner View Post
Max, I'm actually okay with the whiff of defecation attached to "extruded.
Of course! It was the vagueness that I objected to; "extruded" wasn't doing anything but rhyming. You've cleverly found a way to stengthen the smell.
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  #25  
Unread 06-12-2019, 06:51 PM
Jim Moonan Jim Moonan is offline
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x
I like the controlled meter, the strong rhymes and the longer lines... I like it technically… I like how you’ve carefully pared it down… But I still balk at how you're portraying both the woman and him.

My problem is that both are portrayed less ominously than what they actually are. She comes off as being an empty vessel that is being exploited by the powerful shyster, the snake oil salesman, unable to think independently. IMO she is, at best, an enabler and he an amoral predator seeking fame and fortune through self aggrandisement. The growing consensus is that both are much more dangerous than that. They are both a gangrene to our country’s constitutional integrity.

As Maureen Dowd alluded to a few days ago in the NYT, he’s a scoundrel.
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  #26  
Unread 06-13-2019, 08:52 PM
A. Sterling A. Sterling is offline
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Hi again, Julie,

I like your latest revision – this one is indeed more open. I do miss the peek into her motivation in the previous one, though—just what she’s getting out of the deal. Not having it there swings the balance a little further from tragedy to satire. That and the newly incorporated ‘message-hole’, which I can find no fault with – well, other than wishing he would shut it.

I feel like there ought to be a better word than ‘edition’ in the last line. ‘Assembly line’ doesn’t seem quite right, either, but I can’t think of anything at the moment.
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  #27  
Unread 06-14-2019, 03:01 AM
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Julie Steiner Julie Steiner is offline
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Thanks for your further thoughts, Max, Jim, and A. (May I call you A.?)

Draft 7 posted. I've re-introduced a revised "Without him...voiceless" bit. Matt will probably still object to the vowel of "can't." To my Californian ear, it's a perfect rhyme, though.
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  #28  
Unread 06-14-2019, 07:39 AM
Jim Moonan Jim Moonan is offline
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I'm not sure why I've taken such a personal interest in this one -- perhaps because you are taking a swing at something important that I haven't found the words to express; perhaps because you possess the poetic skill set to do it (Michael Cantor does, too).

The reintroduction of a third (second) stanza is a good move, I think. And you have definitely ratcheted up the language to be more commensurate with the target. (Why understate it?)

Not sure about the double "he'll" to start S3. Also not sure about "flower and fade"... Would it be leaving something out if you said something like: "He will blister and burst; her shouts will shrivel to a song"?

The "can't" rhyme is an exact rhyme to my ear as well (Boston Brahmin accent aside).

"EVILDOERS" feels off. How about "SNOWFLAKES"?

"nativist Narcissus" is a perfect two-word description. It leads me to ask: if he's a native Narcissus then who is she? What a deadly combination.
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  #29  
Unread 06-14-2019, 09:27 AM
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Julie Steiner Julie Steiner is offline
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Thanks, Jim. I've tweaked things a bit above, in response to your comments.

I want to keep the flower reference because...well, because a narcissus is a poisonous flower, and flowers, like demagogues, don't last forever. I think the xenophobic EVILDOERS is more ominous--and more characteristic of the dormant phase of nativism--than the petulant SNOWFLAKES, which limits this to the 21st Century.

(I'm not sure about my "Nazi-winker," which limits this to the last 80 years or so. I really do think that this is a political co-dependency that has been with us throughout human history, as long as we've had tribes and language.)

Edited a few hours later to say:

Some further tweaks added above. Thanks for your patience and thoughts, everyone. I really wanted to get this right, and I'm a lot closer to that with your help.

Last edited by Julie Steiner; 06-14-2019 at 03:20 PM.
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  #30  
Unread 06-17-2019, 05:16 AM
Jim Moonan Jim Moonan is offline
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"I want to keep the flower reference because...well, because a narcissus is a poisonous flower, and flowers, like demagogues, don't last forever. I think the xenophobic EVILDOERS is more ominous--and more characteristic of the dormant phase of nativism--than the petulant SNOWFLAKES, which limits this to the 21st Century."

Your prescience always trumps my off-handed suggestions : )
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