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  #21  
Old 06-30-2018, 07:23 AM
Jan Iwaszkiewicz's Avatar
Jan Iwaszkiewicz Jan Iwaszkiewicz is offline
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G'day Jim,

I do like this.

If a comma at the end of S1 then no capital at the start of S2 or change the comma to a full stop.

I prefer the comma option.

Regards,

Jan
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  #22  
Old 07-01-2018, 05:00 PM
Jim Moonan Jim Moonan is offline
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Revision posted, now the long response to the responses...
I’ve gone long again. I’ve lengthened it and added a dimension to it that, in my mind counters the abstractness. In the end, I’ve heeded very little advice, though for reasons I’ll explain. It seemed that, unless I was willing to gut the poem and somehow resurrect it in a more focused, detailed way, describing the abstractions as if they were tangible, then the effort would not satisfy anyone.

But that sounds like I’m making light of the carefully considered thought of those who took the time to comment. That’s not the case. The crit to this poem is, as usual, excellent to say the least. To speak bluntly, what it does is (in addition to giving me insight for revision) blow my mind. I’ve been mulling things over ever since. I’ve probablly come up with five new versions in the process... Rather than prolong the thinking any more I decided to cast caution to the wind and reconfigure the poem with my favorite lines of abstraction and then attempt to anchor it by continuing on into reality. I don’t know if I’ve even done that, but that is the intention.
Fliss and Matt, you both have pointed out what I think is the most pressing issue with the poem: the inconsistent image of the well. I haven’t addressed that as yet, but in the next go-round I will.
John I., I liked your suggested word “surge” to describe my exit from the well and put it in, though not as neatly as I had hoped : )
Ann, If I were to fix this I’d go with your suggested fix. It’s simple and smooths things out further so that it can be read as a when/then poem. But the shortened version is way too truncated to have any true punch. The revision I’ve gone with might make up for that...
Mary, your comments, seconded by Cally, are the ones that probably gave me the fortitude to stay the course and go with the strengths of the poem. In hindsight, it was a poem I enjoyed playing with sounds and rhythms. I was happy
Mark, that you heard something mellifluous is at least something --And you sum up well why the poem doesn’t work for most. You are a rule of thumb for me.
Jan, Thank you. Sometimes a simple reading without the preoccupation of finding fault is the best response. You know this is a process that takes more than criticism. It takes unflinching honesty. And emotion.
John R., I’m trying, I am. I hope you do comment whenever you think you have something to say that I might benefit from hearing. I like hard criticism. Stay with me, I’m changing.

When I think back to how I was connecting to the poem at the beginning, I realize that I became more interested in the way the words sounded and with the rhythm (line breaks, etc.) and the content became something of a smokescreen. So now I’ve gone all in. It's still a scruffy little poem about a cliched conceit. But it's mine and I've done my best to dress it up more properly : )

PS: Forgive the ending few lines. It's not nearly done...
x
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  #23  
Old 07-01-2018, 07:31 PM
Perry James Perry James is offline
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I like this poem as much as I am able to. I say it that way because I haven't had an experience like this, but I do like the meandering flow of the language, and I especially like that you are writing in plain English, an art which seems to be disappearing from poetry in general. You are describing an internal dream state, and that may limit the appeal of the poem a little, but you've done it well, in my opinion.

There are a couple spots where the language seems overly wordy, for example:

It is like I am young again
emptying my pockets
of things I thought I caught
when I thought I could catch
anything, like bubbles and stars
and lightning bugs in jars.
Once, I thought I became rich
collecting pennies
from a wishing well.

(I can't figure out how to do a strikeout, so I am putting the words I think should be deleted in red.)

In that first line above, I suggest this instead:

It is like being young again

Last edited by Perry James; 07-01-2018 at 07:49 PM.
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  #24  
Old 07-01-2018, 08:55 PM
Jim Moonan Jim Moonan is offline
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Perry, it's reassuring to know the language comes across as natural. I've been working on that. The slow realization, for me, is that the more I write about things I truly know about, the more natural my voice becomes, the easier the imagination flows.

As for the subject itself, yes I think a poetic recounting of a dream state is a turn off for some. It's understandable. In fact, though, it's not so much a description of a dream state as it is a state of euphoria, or as close to it as I have experienced anyway. (By “euphoric” I mean becoming locked in to my imagination and then having my imagination find the words to describe what my imagination senses -- that's the "flash" connection I'm referring to in the poem), At that moment, I’m sure I have something. I’m positive. There is not a shred of doubt. But too often, in fact the large majority of the time, I realize that what felt so full of insight and poetic expression really ends up being just another pretty-ish bouquet of cut flowers.

I think all of your suggestions for tightening the second stanza are good and I'll gratefully take them. That stanza is the "add-on" to the revision and it came quickly. Thank you for your eye and your thoughtful observations.
x
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  #25  
Old 07-01-2018, 09:15 PM
Perry James Perry James is offline
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Jim, what you said in your first paragraph above is really important, in my opinion. My best poems are invariably the ones written about things I know very well. The ones that peter out are the ones that are written about things I'm not that familiar with. I often get to a point where I don't have enough knowledge to continue.
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  #26  
Old 07-01-2018, 11:19 PM
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Mary Meriam Mary Meriam is offline
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Hi Jim, I suppose it's a learning process, doing so many revisions and all this workshopping, but strictly from a reader's perspective, I must tell you again that you had it perfect in the original, which reads just like a "flash" connection, as you said. This latest, v4, lacks the verve of the original. I must have read the original 20 times already, never tire of it, and always see new things. What more could you want than two poets thinking of Donne when they read your poem?? Whatever you decide to do, I hope you save your originals in a separate file.
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  #27  
Old 07-03-2018, 07:20 PM
Jim Moonan Jim Moonan is offline
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Last go round. Revision posted.

In the end I want to preserve the things that Mary, Cally and a few others found to be the force that drove the poem (hat tip to Dylan Thomas) when I wrote the original. So it’s back to the original with some further tweaks -- but nothing that I see as major or that disrupts the rhythm of the “first” original.

I never liked “resonate” or “reverberate” to describe the sound inside the well. Then I noticed that Cally used the word “echo” three times in her echoing of Mary’s praise and it suddenly jumped out at me that the word “echo” belongs in the well. Thank you Cally for planting that seed : )

I sometimes lose sight of the heart of what I write in an effort to respond to crits by experimenting with revisions. I do care what others think will make a poem better. Mary said it best: “I suppose it's a learning process, doing so many revisions and all this workshopping…” This poem now exists in a few different forms, right alongside the thoughtful crits that spurred them to be… But I now like the last one best because it’s more the original than the original. Me.

One more note: Mark, you mentioned the opening line being annoying for its strong echo of “Let it Be”. You are omniscient. Long story short, I had just watched James Cordon’s Carpool Karaoke with Paul McCartney (very, very good) and in it McCartney talks about the inspiration for writing that song and then they began to sing it. It was an instant of inspiration that gave me the idea of opening this poem with the same line. Hard to explain. The poem is actually the explanation. (The Well is not a place that I know how to get to. Hence the opening line). I gave some thought as to whether or not I had gone too far by using the phrase “When I find myself” but when I googled it I saw many other examples using those same opening words to launch into whatever they wanted to say -- so I thought it was ok for it to stay. Yes? Anyone?
x
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  #28  
Old 07-03-2018, 09:03 PM
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Mary Meriam Mary Meriam is offline
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Hi Jim, I think "echo" is a perfect word - in this version - instead of "resonate."

When I find myself
in the well of my desire
where words pour over me
and thoughts resonate
with a voice rejoicing
sometimes softly
sometimes thunderous,
time condenses to flashes
of reflection and dreaming
that find connection,
sometimes blinding
sometimes blazing
a vortex through the deep
dark pool of belonging
where I swim clear
and do not drown
or burn in the surface light.

I'm afraid v.5 isn't an improvement.
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  #29  
Old 07-04-2018, 07:42 AM
Jim Moonan Jim Moonan is offline
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Mary, How hard it is to get back to where you were. The last remnants of revision have passed through me and I finally see what you mean.

I will take "echo" and put it in its place and be happily done with this one -- and grateful that you stopped by one more time to help me get back.

Thank you for catching me.
x
x
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  #30  
Old 07-06-2018, 12:07 PM
Bill Dyes Bill Dyes is offline
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Jim:

Very provocative.
Provocativeness in poetry is, to me, one of it's most necessary qualities.
I scanned briefly the other versions but quickly found them to be more distractive then helpful.
The poem is mostly one huge metaphor to begin with "...the well of desire..." and another huge metaphor to end with "...the pool of belonging...".
It occurs to me that I may not be using the word 'metaphor' correctly but hopefully you will know what I'm getting at.
Maybe "words and thoughts" pouring over one, do immediately follow desire
which tells me the poem is considering an 'intellectual' specie of desire
rather than the desire that follows immediately when coming upon 'a stunning image'.
I like that the way out of the well is the swim toward 'belonging' and that the light as you escape toward the surface
is really just one more way to drown. Maybe the most life-threatening event of the poem.
Perhaps, through further revision those two huge metaphoric foods for thought could be broken into bite-size morsels.
Actually, you are attempting to do just that but, for me, not quite successfully.

I enjoyed this.

Bill
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