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  #11  
Unread 10-24-2020, 07:22 PM
Cally Conan-Davies Cally Conan-Davies is offline
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John and Jim -- thank you for your readings!

This actually happened. In Greece. Osman is a young boy, as you surmise, Jim, but not a migrant (maybe the poem needs a place and date stamp to help with context. I'll consider that). And young boys do chatter like this!! I know what you mean about adult chatterers, John -- but in a child of about eight, most of them tend to chatter like birds in the manner Jim describes. It's really uncomplicated, and I love being around eight year olds because of this chatter, and the patterns and connections they seem to be practising, their delight in their own place in things.

I'm so happy you enjoyed the compactness of language and image, Jim. I wanted them to reflect the reality of Osman.

John, that's what I hoped for with "inconclusively"! I was hoping that the repeated "I am" would come across as joyfully emphatic, as a little explosion of energetic delight in simply being rather than as a lack of confidence. But I certainly see that it can be read that way.

Thank you, James! You see just what I intended with the title! I'm with you -- I usually like titles as first lines. But Osman. I am. Yes! Thanks! You made me laugh, too.

Coleman, thank you so much! Your reading of the context is spot on, and of what I hoped the poem would express. A mountain village in Greece. The narrator, who has some Greek, being shown around by young Osman, and being taken up in Osman's world, which is essentially his joie de vivre. Some moments in this life hold so much everything, it simply is perfectly beautiful!

Cally
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  #12  
Unread 10-24-2020, 09:12 PM
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Andrew Mandelbaum Andrew Mandelbaum is offline
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What a change this just went through for me. Each reading before tonight was clouded with some tension. I couldn't find it in the language so I just couldn't figure out what was going on that kept me farther from this than the other readers. Then I went back after your seemingly simple comments and the tension was gone and the poem could come all the way in.

I think the problem for me was that the gravity given to the name Osman by the sheer weight of person and life was apparent but being misinterpreted as something historical or literary in that name Osman. Once I was set free from that business (which may be some weird problem all ny own) the poem's electrical circuit was no longer shorted. All that to say some small aside in the title might be found to do what your comments did for me. Or maybe it is a minority delusion.
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  #13  
Unread 10-25-2020, 08:44 PM
Cally Conan-Davies Cally Conan-Davies is offline
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My Wandering One, that is fascinating. Travelling in Greece or Turkey is hyper-real at first because you're often talking to a Constantine, or an Elektra, or an Aphrodite, or an Osman. These are common, living names in the culture. As an outsider, you have to look past their cultural monumentalism, and see the person you're face to face with, and hear their name as a sound.

The poem itself is actually simple reportage of a traveller's encounter with a young local boy. Each time I try to expand this poem, it loses power. I could tell you more about the place, about what brought me there, but I have learned that what made the event poetry was Osman and his language, which to my ear was at once strange and utterly familiar. I've met eight your old boys all over the world who talk like this. Osman is universal, and special. As are all the eight year old boys. So for me, ultimately, it is a poem about coming alive through language, speech. Or rather, being alive first in the world of experience --- of family, of pets, of icecream -- and then the exuberance of being able to talk about all one's eperience in words! Articulation. And it all begins with the most astonishing verb of all, the verb to be. My most treasured experiences of travelling in other places, places where a language other than English prevails, have been those when a territory between two languages opens up; when both people attempting to communicate in the other's language stumble on a way of articulating a complex feeling. It's as if a third language exists in the border area of learning another language, where the significance of the most ordinary words seems to gain an added aura! I think poetry, at its best, lives in the space between languages, where things are always new and always learning.

This is all to say I am so very glad you found your way into the poem!! Thank you for staying with it. That's a big thing.

Cally
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  #14  
Unread 10-26-2020, 09:43 AM
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Andrew Mandelbaum Andrew Mandelbaum is offline
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All of that comes through. Do you think the idea of the place/date stamp would mess with the universal?
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  #15  
Unread 10-26-2020, 06:11 PM
Rob Wright Rob Wright is offline
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Cally,

I think Andrew's question is a valid one. I have inserted a place/date stamp in a subtitle and and found no problem with seeing it there – but of course it is not my poem. I got the idea of a boy walking and turning a new word around in his mouth like it was a smooth pebble on the first reading. And I remember doing this myself when I was young, playing the skipping game with words until they became sounds again (Sadly, I've lost this ability.) And I agree with others that "from" seemed a weak end word, but know that the rule of strong ending words is so drilled into me that I react reflexively. On second and third readings is was not a problem and a shorter line would be. Nice work, OZ-girl. (Sorry.)
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