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  #1  
Unread 08-06-2019, 03:00 PM
Andrew Szilvasy Andrew Szilvasy is offline
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Default Rip-Rap

Champagne on Lake Champlain

..........On days like today, cloudy, say, and on a lake,
when spiders crawl midair on twine tauter than seems right,
..........the water isnít beating poetry on the rip-rap
even though you grasp after absent alphabets.
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Unread 08-06-2019, 05:03 PM
Matt Q Matt Q is offline
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Hi Andrew,

I thinking you're referencing Snyder here with rip-rap, and his "each rock a word / a creek-washed stone". So, we're on the lake, but it's not making poetry as it beats (laps) against the rip-rap, no matter how much the N tries to hear it. Which suggests a flat N, not engaging with the natural beauty around him, and maybe feeling over-taut like the spider's webs, an image that gives a sense tension to the day.

I like that there are two ways of reading 'beating' here. The first, as above, is that the water isn't making the sound of poetry as it laps against the loose stones. The other is that the water isn't surpassing poetry: the world's not living up to the poetry that's written about it.

'champagne' in the title does tends to make me imagine him lakeside -- on the rip-rap -- with a glass of champagne and a poetry book: a copy of "Rip-Rap and Cold Mountain Poems", say. Then the line suggest that his surroundings don't beat reading poetry on the rip-rap. That might suggest he's enjoying the book, and I prefer to imagine him tense and miserable -- I have a fondness for miserable N's, I guess -- so I see him without a book, not especially enjoying his champagne, and the comparison to poetry implying a let-down more than anything else.

I don't know that I have nits really. I enjoyed reading and thinking about it.

best,

Matt
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  #3  
Unread 08-06-2019, 07:50 PM
John Isbell John Isbell is offline
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Hi Andrew,

I enjoyed this short poem and Matt's analysis of it, which pretty much verbalizes my own reaction, only better. I'll just add that I like the champagne - Champlain parallelism. Nice poem.
Champagne feels a bit fancy for a quiet lakeside drink. But why not, after all?

Cheers,
John
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Unread 08-07-2019, 03:15 PM
Andrew Szilvasy Andrew Szilvasy is offline
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Hi Matt and John,

Thanks for your feedback. I'm glad you're both liking it.

It works without the Snyder, I hope?
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Unread 08-07-2019, 03:46 PM
Matt Q Matt Q is offline
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Yes, I'd say it does. I can't see that I'd have read it any differently if I hadn't got the reference. It's the word 'rip-rap' that makes me think Snyder, obviously. I think Snyder's poem and book is the is the only time I've ever previously come across this word.

-Matt

Last edited by Matt Q; 08-07-2019 at 04:06 PM.
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  #6  
Unread 08-07-2019, 03:53 PM
John Isbell John Isbell is offline
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I didnít know the Snyder.

Cheers,
John
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  #7  
Unread 08-07-2019, 04:16 PM
Andrew Szilvasy Andrew Szilvasy is offline
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Thanks, both of you!
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