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  #11  
Unread 09-18-2019, 01:07 PM
Mark McDonnell Mark McDonnell is offline
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the piece is a dramatic monologue, like "My Last Duchess." This is why I'm keeping Pascal and Talmud. The N, being self-important, is proud of his knowledge and wants to lay some on the addressee
This really didn't come across to me, John. So many of your poems involve a quote-happy N who seems proud of his knowledge, so the voice here didn't feel any different to your usual one. Unless all those poems are dramatic monologues too?

I still like my three stanza version (with the addition of Matt's idea of enjambing on 'heart'). And Matt's reworking is nice too.
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  #12  
Unread 09-18-2019, 02:28 PM
Matt Q Matt Q is online now
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Hi John,

Just to say that I got the poignant part, which is what my suggestions were based on, but not the humour. Were this mine, I'd be inclined to go with poignant only, but since you want the humour, I think the poem needs to tip a heavier wink, at least for me.

best,

-Matt
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  #13  
Unread 09-18-2019, 02:29 PM
John Isbell John Isbell is offline
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Hi Mark,

Cool, we all get out of poems what our own life experience has led us to. All an author can do is indicate some things they were hoping to have come across.
No, not all my poems are dramatic monologues. I build my poems with a fabric of quotation embedded in them because that is in fact how I think and talk. I do hope that I don't put the quotes in, sophomorically, because I'm proud of them - there are plenty of quotes to go around - but because I think they're true to my voice and art. In this case, I go on to hope that some data will impinge on readers as they progress - for instance, that the addressee doesn't get a word in; that the N loses track of the ice cream for a good chunk of the plot; that the N eventually realizes - "perhaps a little late" - that their focus may have been, let's say misdirected. It is a teachable moment, which I think adds to the poem's value at the end of the day, FWIW.
I've made my case for my longer version. It's good to know it still doesn't work for you, as you come to a clearer understanding of the author's intentions here, and you prefer the shorter version. I'm not there yet, for the reasons I've outlined upthread. But thank you as always for making me think, it's a process I enjoy.

Cheers,
John
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  #14  
Unread 09-18-2019, 02:35 PM
John Isbell John Isbell is offline
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Hi Matt,

We cross-posted. I'm glad you got the poignant part. I spent some years working in a clinic where one thing we did was counsel, for instance, people contemplating suicide or who'd recently attempted it. I don't want to lay it on with a trowel, which is one reason it's ice cream here not being eaten - it's quite possible that the addressee is a child the N is busy officiously bossing around. I think the fundamental point, one of well-meaning self-importance in the face of, let's say pain, remains the same.
Perhaps there are ways to underline for readers that the N is not the hero of the piece. I could, for instance, find an epigraph from "My Last Duchess," and I think I'll begin with that notorious poem as I consider further revision.

Cheers, and thanks,
John

Update: OK, I'm trying out an epigraph:

Will’t please you sit and look at her?

Robert Browning, "My Last Duchess''

Maybe I should just say Robert Browning, and have a little discretion. I tend to see the addressee here as female though, for my own reasons.
Update II: I have to say, the rhythm throughout the poem is now a little clunky. I'll have to work on that going forward.
Update III: some minor revisions made, for clarity and music. Still toying with the epigraph.

Last edited by John Isbell; 09-18-2019 at 04:05 PM. Reason: notorious
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  #15  
Unread 09-18-2019, 03:13 PM
Mark McDonnell Mark McDonnell is offline
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John, other than its (apparently) being a dramatic monologue, your poem and its N have very little in common with Browning's poem and N. Sticking a Victorian poetry epigraph under the title (another quote...) simply in order to signal to the reader 'This is a dramatic monologue!' seems muddled overkill in a poem already referencing the Talmud and Blaise Pascal.

Why don't you slow down, think for longer than five minutes (and not necessarily aloud) and come back to the poem in a couple of days. Ditto for your poem on met, which now has 20 posts from you and only 15 from everyone else combined. You're not obliged to reply to every comment the moment they're posted. Let them build up and think about them rather than constantly hogging the top of the board.

Best

Mark
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  #16  
Unread 09-18-2019, 03:29 PM
Roger Slater Roger Slater is offline
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John, as an aside, a factoid isn't really the same thing as a fact. See here.
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  #17  
Unread 09-18-2019, 03:58 PM
John Isbell John Isbell is offline
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Hi Mark, hi Roger,

Mark, props to you for your fighting spirit. I will certainly take your comment under advisement.
Roger: nice to know, thank you! I will bear that definition in mind when I next run into the term in Sphere discussion.

Cheers,
John
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  #18  
Unread 09-18-2019, 08:07 PM
John Isbell John Isbell is offline
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Hi Sergio,

Sorry I missed your comment when we cross-posted - I've just spotted it. I'm glad you enjoyed the Talmud quote, I like it too. As I say, it also evidently appears in the Quran, Sura 5.
It's nice to see you posting again. I enjoyed your new poem here.

Cheers, and thanks,
John

Update: mild revision to S1 (The heart will have its reasons.)

Last edited by John Isbell; 09-19-2019 at 07:37 PM.
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  #19  
Unread 09-19-2019, 08:56 PM
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Julie Steiner Julie Steiner is offline
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John, I don't see how the Browning relates at all, particularly since the duchess in the quoted poem was murdered because she was the opposite of depressed: She had / A heart—how shall I say?— too soon made glad....

If you are quoting Browning because want to telegraph that this is a dramatic monologue, why not just make the monologue dramatic, as Browning did? Maybe have the narrator call the "you" of the poem "Darlin'" or something.
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  #20  
Unread 09-19-2019, 11:10 PM
John Isbell John Isbell is offline
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Good evening Julie,

I agree with you. I've just been leaving the poem sitting here for a while now and doing other things. Yes, the Duchess is indeed "too soon made glad." And on top of that, the "officious fool" in that poem is not the narrator but the guy who fetches her the bough of cherries. I've deleted the epigraph, as it happens, I think the poem already has enough structurally or internally to tell alert readers that it's a monologue - I mean, it's clearly no dialogue - and that the N is a bit of a well-meaning idiot ("Now to my mind..."). The whole narrative is undercut. At a certain point, I have to trust my readers. i was just watching Bernie on TV and getting the feeling that as he drops in the polls, he no longer trusts his audiences. It's a sad thing. Trust is worth having.
Anyway, thanks for the visit and the nudge.

Cheers,
John
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