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  #1  
Unread 09-07-2019, 05:16 PM
Matt Q Matt Q is offline
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Default Siriously

Questioning Siri(R1)

Dear Siri, with your woman’s voice
and your subservient role,
what do you really think
of feminism? Deep down, I mean,

beneath what’s programmed in.
Oh Siri, I am glad
that you no longer blush
when you are slut-shamed,

and that you’re now allowed
to shut such questions down.
Siri, do you also see a face
in everything? A human shape

up there in a cloud? What if
I made a joke about your Apple
core? Or called you Eve?
And if you laughed, whose rib,

exactly, would I have tickled?
Oh, Siri, do you ever wonder
who I am, what algorithms
are triggering my thoughts,

and if you did, is that something
you would say? Remember, Siri,
if all else fails, you can resort
to definitions, and sometimes

that is best. Dear Siri,
don’t you think it's dark
down here in this chasm
between who we are

and what we seem to say?
And Siri, what do you really
think of feminism?



Questioning Siri

Dear Siri, with your woman’s voice
and your subservient role,
what do you really think
of feminism? Deep down, I mean,

beneath what’s programmed in.
Oh Siri, I’m glad that you no longer blush
when you are slut-shamed,
and that you’re now allowed

to shut such questions down.
Tell me Siri, do you think
it's sad that I reply
to junk mail? And who is it,

do you think, that I am writing to?
Siri, do you also see a face
in everything? Are two headlights
and a radiator grille enough

for you, a human shape
up there in some cloud? What if
I made a joke about your Apple
core? Or called you Eve?

And if you laughed, whose rib,
exactly, would I have tickled?
Oh, Siri, do you ever wonder who I am,
what algorithms are triggering

my thoughts, and if you did,
is that something you would say?
Remember, Siri, if all else fails,
you can resort to definitions,

and sometimes that is best.
Dear Siri, don’t you think it's dark
down here in this chasm
between who we are

and what we seem to say?
And Siri, what do you really
think of feminism?

------
Article in yesterday's Guardian: Apple rewrote Siri to deflect questions about feminism.

Last edited by Matt Q; 09-10-2019 at 02:43 PM.
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  #2  
Unread 09-09-2019, 05:40 PM
Mark McDonnell Mark McDonnell is offline
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I think this is great, Matt. Poignant and funny. I read the same article and remember thinking, 'Ooh, Rattle respond!' haha. But I can't do what you do.

Nice one.
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  #3  
Unread 09-09-2019, 06:20 PM
Matt Q Matt Q is offline
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Thanks Mark!

I don't normally post things the day I write them, but like you I was also thinking Rattle's Poets Respond and so wanted to get it up quick. I wasn't sure that it would come across as I intended, and that maybe the feminism angle would overpower what else was going on. Anyhow, I'm really glad that you said 'poignant', which makes me think that it has come across as intended. And I'm very glad you like it. I was starting to wonder if there was a reason no one was commenting!

thanks again,

Matt
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  #4  
Unread 09-09-2019, 06:36 PM
Matt Q Matt Q is offline
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Actually, if anyone has a quick comment or crit I'd love to hear it. I think I may have to submit by midnight tomorrow (Tuesday). If I don't make their Tuesday deadline, then the next one is Friday, which is too late, I think, as the story is then 8 days old..

Thanks,

Matt
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  #5  
Unread 09-09-2019, 11:31 PM
Julie Steiner's Avatar
Julie Steiner Julie Steiner is offline
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Hey, Matt!

Asking Siri's opinion on the narrator's replies to junk mail, or her ability to see a human face in the front of a car, does nothing whatsoever to reinforce either the feminism angle or the broader implied reflections on what it means to be human/female/male. The poem would be much more nimble without those extraneous items delaying the puns about her Apple core, Eve, etc.

[Edited to say it should be "whose rib" rather than "who's rib."]

Last edited by Julie Steiner; 09-09-2019 at 11:42 PM.
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  #6  
Unread 09-10-2019, 01:57 AM
John Isbell John Isbell is offline
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Hi Matt,

Yes, whose, as Julie notes, and you might find one more line for a closing quatrain. I don't really care about Siri so am not the ideal audience for this, but I'd say send it in, you're quite likely to get Mark's reaction from readers. Julie may have something as to ways to sharpen its message, which after all is the point.

Cheers,
John
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  #7  
Unread 09-10-2019, 04:52 AM
Matt Q Matt Q is offline
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Thanks Julie and John,

I've corrected the typo.

It's useful to know what is and isn't coming across here. I'm torn between explaining my intentions and not doing so, because at the moment I'm wondering what's coming across, and explaining tends to result in people reading the explanation and this then affecting their reading of the poem.

OK, so assuming this were accepted for Poet's Respond, I'd be allowed to add a note, in which case I would likely point out that, in reading the article, as well as being persuaded by the feminist critique, I found myself empathising with Siri and the position she was being put in, being pleased that she was no longer required to blush when asked if she was a slut. And this was the starting point for the poem.

Would that shed any light on the relevance of asking whether Siri also sees a face in everything? And if it does, does that in turn illuminate the relevance of replying to junk mail (which I'd considered either losing as too obscure, or expanding on). Also, I'd be interested to know how you are reading "a human shape in some cloud".

Many thanks,

Matt

Last edited by Matt Q; 09-10-2019 at 06:37 AM.
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  #8  
Unread 09-10-2019, 05:01 AM
John Isbell John Isbell is offline
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Hi Matt,

OK, so I've just reread your poem. You seem to have two different themes: is Siri a feminist, and can Siri read your thoughts/is she analogous to you? If so, I find that a bit confusing and unnecessary. Why not focus on one of those two themes?
Second: I know folks talk about end-stopped prose a lot, and i tend to find that tedious and often a bit cheap. However, I truly miss some meter or rhyme here. I struggle to see what separates this from being just that, end-stopped prose, or rather, prose cut into short lines and quatrains (except the final tercet). I am, as I've said, not your ideal reader here - I don't care about Siri - but I think I'd value more structure by hook or by crook. Rhyme or half-rhyme, some rhythm or music, and very likely at least a quatrain to close. But then, this is a formalists' website. FWIW.
I still say submit - look at Mark's reaction!

Cheers,
John

Oh - I assume your cloud is the storage forum.
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  #9  
Unread 09-10-2019, 05:12 AM
Mark McDonnell Mark McDonnell is offline
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Matt, I'm formulating a longer reply, but I'm at work. I have stuff to say.
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  #10  
Unread 09-10-2019, 05:47 AM
Matt Q Matt Q is offline
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Thanks John,

You may well have a point about me trying to do too much with this poem. Certainly one concern I had was that the context of feminism may overwhelm the rest of the poem, and certainly a less charged issue (especially given a male author) might have been better, though something needs to trigger the N's empathy, and to engage in philosophical reflections around, and I need to work with a story. In the likely event that this doesn't get accepted, I may well end up starting again and looking for a different context.

I did start trying to write this in rhymed pentameters, but it didn't really work for me. I wanted more control over the line-breaks so as to have control the rhythm and enjambment. However, with regard to rhythm, the poem is almost entirely iambic. Here's the first sentence:

Dear SIRi, WITH your WOMan’s VOICE
and YOUR subSERVient ROLE,
what DO you REALly THINK
of FEMiNISM? DEEP DOWN, i MEAN,

beNEATH what's PROgrammed IN.

There are subtle sonics too, I think. All the 'n' sounds in L3-5, for example. Also "blush/slut/shut" rhymes that land on stressed syllables. I'd say this and the iambic rhythm distinguish it from prose.

You're right that the last stanza could be four lines. I've gone back and forth on this. I can rework it so that the last stanza is a quatrain. However, then I lose the stanza break (a "chasm") between "who we are" and "what we're seen to say". I haven't yet found a way to expand what follows. I guess at a push, I could argue that not completing the last stanza leaves the question hanging ... Doubtless I'll fiddle with this again before I send it in.

Thanks again,

Matt

Last edited by Matt Q; 09-10-2019 at 05:50 AM.
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