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  #21  
Unread 11-15-2019, 01:58 PM
James Brancheau James Brancheau is offline
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But would the speaker say it? I'm probably off in some way about my suggestion-- not sure I'd use it. But it needs authenticity there. And who cares if you'd say that or not?
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  #22  
Unread 11-15-2019, 07:14 PM
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Allen Tice Allen Tice is offline
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Susan, to me cobwebs are things I find in dusty, dirty corners, sometimes with small, desiccated insect corpses hanging off of them. Not appetizing. “Fragile,” even “spindly” are more cheering. Otherwise, very nice.

Last edited by Allen Tice; 11-16-2019 at 08:38 AM.
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  #23  
Unread 11-15-2019, 10:20 PM
A. Sterling A. Sterling is offline
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Hi, Susan

You can count me among those who aren’t normally drawn to villanelles. I have tried my hand at them a couple times, but nobody will ever be able to prove it. It’s hard to resist a love letter to the form in the form, though, and this one does indeed pull me in. And I did detect the edge of menace in it, though not, in its present form, an argument against those who find villanelles unappealing. It comes close in the line “don’t struggle vainly to dispel,” etc., but I think the typical response to a disliked form is just to refuse to engage with it in the first place, which tends to be effective enough that it doesn’t come to a struggle.

The last line, as it is, is fine – but I still find myself wanting more out of it. I guess it’s because that menace asserts itself one last time there, but without really crystallizing or dissipating. Even if it’s going in a circle, I’d like to have a sense of progression in some respect – but the same balance of enticement and entrapment is there from the title to the last word.
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  #24  
Unread 11-16-2019, 05:48 AM
Susan McLean Susan McLean is online now
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James, I am the one writing the poem, so I care about which words I use. This is not an issue of what the speaker of the poem would use.

Allen, the reason I am using "cobweb" is that the word is associated with entrapment, but for a person, a cobweb's bonds are easily broken. The thematic resonance of the word goes further than "fragile," though I understand that it has negative associations for you.

Anya, you are right that those who dislike villanelles just tend to avoid reading or writing them, so an argument in a villanelle can't win them over. I take your point, too, about the lack of resolution in the last line. The previous ending sounded much more conclusive. I was hoping, though, that I was subtly making an argument, by means of metaphor, in the current ending that reading or writing a villanelle is a sort of playful surrender to sensual bondage, an argument that in a larger sense is true of all poems in form. No one actually gets hurt by a villanelle, so the restrictions are not sadistic, and surrendering to them is not masochistic. Part of playing a game is having rules that govern it. Of course, not all forms of play are games.

Susan
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  #25  
Unread 11-17-2019, 09:42 AM
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Allen Tice Allen Tice is offline
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Susan, I sense irony throughout the poem. It’s an oldish form. Ergo, cobweb could stay. Alas, no doubt and contrary to its own command, by and large, I do not “love the villanelle.” It’s your poem, natürlich, so I daren’t quibble. Yet, if I wanted to revive the form or induce people to make many new villanelles, there would be a number of differences, starting with cobweb. Second, kiss-and-tell seems very rhyme-driven. Hard to avoid that kind of stuff in a form like the villanelle, which requires jingly rhymes to a fare-thee-well.

Wish y’all well,
Allen
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  #26  
Unread 11-17-2019, 10:06 AM
Susan McLean Susan McLean is online now
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Allen, yes, the irony is intentional. When someone says "you gotta love it" about anything, the tone is usually sarcastic and the meaning is that the speaker does not love the thing in question. I do love the villanelle, but I am playing both sides of the issue here, knowing that the people who hate villanelles will continue to hate them, even as I mention all of the things I actually love about them. Likewise, "kiss-and-tell," though chosen for the rhyme, links to my sense of the seductive power of the villanelle, and it always does "tell" you something, even if it doesn't say a lot. I do not actually expect a single reader who currently dislikes the villanelle to change his or her opinion about it, or to decide to write one. Poems don't do that, or if they do, the reaction is so delayed that cause-and-effect would be hard to prove.

Susan
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  #27  
Unread 11-17-2019, 11:29 AM
Phil Bulman Phil Bulman is offline
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Ah, nice revisions here.
This final line seems to work better; it is still playful and suggesting entanglement.
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  #28  
Unread 11-17-2019, 03:25 PM
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Allen Tice Allen Tice is offline
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Cause and effect? Now, I’ve gone and trapped myself in a horrid challenge to forge a villanelle like a Bessemer iron worker with a red hot glob of pig iron glowing with my criticism and ideas. On the other hand.
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  #29  
Unread 11-19-2019, 09:08 PM
Mark Stone Mark Stone is offline
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Susan, The poem is well crafted, and I like the new final line more than the original one. Mark
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  #30  
Unread 11-20-2019, 02:34 AM
Mary McLean Mary McLean is offline
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I prefer the new last line too. Not sure if it was already mentioned, but I like that the varying repetends are all now sibilant.
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