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  #11  
Old 09-25-2018, 11:22 AM
Jim Moonan Jim Moonan is offline
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The crits are music to my ears (cliche I know : ) Here's where I get conflicted as to what will and wonít continue to improve the poem. So itís good to be reminded that I canít lose sight of what I want to say and must find a way to say it in my own voice -- not with cliche or artifice. Thatís a revelation for me. So far it feels like the poem has been brought to life by the wonderfully thoughtful, close readings and crits. It almost doesn't seem fair that I have such an ear as the Eratosphere to bounce things off of.

Mark, now that cliches have been brought under control and the poem has been rejoined by losing the titles, you are right to caution that the changes left to be made need to be made without betraying my voice. Iím posting another revision soon.

Ann, I love the image of the birdcage being covered in the middle of a speaking birdsí talking. I hadnít thought of it like that but, strangely, I like the comparison -- the poem does end abruptly, as if Iím snapping out of a meditation, I suppose (though I have failed miserably at meditating for years) But I don't want the abruptness to sour reader. I donít want the audience to go away feeling cheated! Iíll see what I can doÖ

I did think that maybe these could be better presented as separate vignettes/meditations on my childhood. There could certainly be more, though Iím getting anxious to move on because Iíve been thinking about it for too longÖ For now Iím going to go the way of a loosely connected longer poem.

David, Thanks. I cringe to think of my children reading my (unexpurgated) writing after Iíve exited! On the other hand, nothing would be more gratifying than to give them pleasure from beyond the grave. Itís a thought that occurs to me from time to time, but for now, I always cringe : )

Mary, thanks. I am going to lose the numbers and join the poem together as one. I may experiment with indenting the 2nd and 4th sections and possibly putting the final stanza in italics. But Iíll see what it looks like. I donít want to create any distractions.
I donít know now about ďsung/sangĒ. Matt seems to think it should be ďsingĒ so Iíll have to get it right. For now I think youíre right, at least from this side of the pond POV.

I had hoped the last four lines would hang heavily as you say. It is very much something of a meditation and the last four lines is me returning from that meditation with something of a vision.

Michael, thanks for reading and liking : ) I, too, love the stay/went line. When it came to me it felt like it succinctly drew a line between childhood and adulthood and the small tragedy that it is when we walk away from our childhood instead of bringing it with us. (Personally I like to think I have brought some of it along).
Yes, thereís definitely confliction in the last four lines and I like it that way. Iím quite conflicted most of the time.

Yes, definitely a better title, but I donít know what yet.

Matt, If I had a life-threatening issue and only x rays would reveal the problem and lead to a remedy and it all came down to careful scrutiny of the x ray itself in order to ferret out every flaw, every weak spot, every potential problem, I would want to hire you to do the analysis. Convoluted analogy, I know, but you get what I mean
Iím reworking the first section to be like you (and Mark) have said. Thanks so much for putting new words in my mouth! Also working on rewriting the second and fourth sections to address the issues you identified.

Mark, thanks for the help with revisions, as always. Itís not so much that some of the reminiscences are cliched but that they are expressed in cliched ways and not my own voice. Thatís something youíve told me often and Iím beginning to find that voice.
x
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  #12  
Old 09-25-2018, 12:03 PM
John Riley John Riley is online now
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Jim, I'm late here and just want to say your response to the critiques have greatly improved it. What you have now is touched with some imagined rememberings. I like it.

John
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  #13  
Old 09-26-2018, 10:05 AM
Jim Moonan Jim Moonan is offline
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Revision posted

Title change (thanks Mark. I think it fits. It is expressed in the final line.)
No more Roman numerals
variety of word/phrasing changes based on suggestions.
Stanzas 2 and 4 indented to create some space/separation between the four remembrances.

I had given a thought to italicizing the final four lines but left it as is for now. Though I did change "It" to "They" in the penultimate line.

John, Thanks for giving this a read and vote of confidence. I'm at that point where revision can make or break me : ) Sincerity means a lot coming from you.

Thanks for the help everyone. It's getting there.
x

Last edited by Jim Moonan; 09-26-2018 at 10:07 AM.
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  #14  
Old 09-26-2018, 08:53 PM
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Mary Meriam Mary Meriam is offline
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Hi Jim, your revisions make great improvements in the flow. But I really don't like the indentations. In fact, I don't even like the stanza breaks. Why not just have one long swoop? The new title is ok, but has anything else crossed your mind for a title? My best titles seem to arise out of nowhere, and I'm not sure at first how they fit. I read this great article recently with this quote: "To notice everything and to let whatever significance was there emerge in its own time." (Barry Lopez, The Invitation. Granta 2017) This is what your poems in general are like, and this one especially. I don't know if it's because we grew up in the same place, but your poems are some of the best I'm reading anywhere. Thanks for posting your poems here.
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  #15  
Old 09-26-2018, 09:01 PM
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Aaron Novick Aaron Novick is offline
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I agree with Mary that the current formatting doesn't work. Trying a single block is at least worth a try. Or something more adventurous.

S1L4: ditch "suddenly", and let the passage of time be implicit. The rain races toward you as you watch, and soon after it has stopped and, drenched, you stand in sunlight.

S3L4: maybe only five "snips", one for each finger on that arm?

In the final line, "It is" is filler. "From such narrow spaces we emerge".
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  #16  
Old 09-27-2018, 02:17 PM
Jim Moonan Jim Moonan is offline
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Mary, I know what you mean about the title and the importance of remaining open to something arriving. It's maddening that the best things come in a confluent way and then things seem to coalesce. You just have to be ready : )

About the formatting, joining the stanzas into one long stream is contrary to what I had originally saw it as looking like but Iíve been slowly migrating towards that and now I think youíre right -- It may be that this is best in a one long stretch of memory. Iím going to try that out and see what it looks/reads like.
And thanks for your kind words. Youíve been a great help.

Thanks Aaron. Very keen eye! Interesting that you zeroed in on the "snips". I think I put six in because I liked the sound of six (four more to go...). But now that you have drawn my attention to them it occurs to me I may be able to better evoke the kind of tension that the boy is feeling as he submits to the clipping by making the commas into semicolons. semicolons. Or perhaps ellipses would work after each "snip". I think I will delete "suddenly" in S1 and "It is" from the final line.

Would it work for the final line to include a comma to look like this:

"From such narrow spaces, we emerge."

?
x

Last edited by Jim Moonan; 09-27-2018 at 02:24 PM.
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  #17  
Old 09-27-2018, 03:41 PM
James Brancheau James Brancheau is offline
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Keep the last stanza, throw away everything else. It's indulgent.

Last edited by James Brancheau; 09-28-2018 at 04:35 AM. Reason: Unnecessary, redundant stuff. Those 2 sentences will do it. For that moment.
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  #18  
Old 09-27-2018, 04:31 PM
Matt Q Matt Q is online now
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Hi Jim,

I'd echo Mary (and Aaron echoing Mary) on losing the indentations.

I'd also echo what Aaron on "suddenly" and "it is". I think without "it is" the sentence is more open to being read in more than one way. For example, as a statement of wonder, and as a statement of fact/observation. Currently, it reads more like the latter.

(Echo chambers are good, right?)

I do also wonder if about a bit about "sibling". Possibly because it's not a phrase I've heard before, and I don't know what this detail adds to the poem: the siblings don't feature anywhere else in the poem. But not a biggie.

Matt

Last edited by Matt Q; 09-27-2018 at 04:33 PM.
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  #19  
Old 09-27-2018, 07:45 PM
Jim Moonan Jim Moonan is offline
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Revision posted.

Before I go all the way and eliminate all stanza breaks and indents, I wanted to try indenting just the first line of each scene but eliminate stanzas. I like it, but am not sure...

James, Indulgent of/towards who? I assume you mean me, in which case I do admit guilt in having taken the time to indulge myself in some of my earliest memories. I do it from time to time : )

To put things in context, the four stanzas/scenes are memories that have knocked around inside for years and I wanted to make something out of them. They are nothing special by themselves. I could have recounted other memories but I chose these because, as I said in an earlier post, they represent four things that made up my childhood paradigm: the outdoors/nature (stanza 1), my interior world/imagination (stanza 2), my sense of being held captive by the adult world (stanza 3), and the influence of religion on my childhood psyche (stanza 4). I hoped to synthesize them into something of a transcendent thought (lofty, I know). That is what the last stanza attempts to be. They are, of course, true memories. I didn't make them up.

I don't know how the last stanza would stand alone without the context of what comes before it.


Matt, I've made the changes you/Aaron mention. I was holding up a bit to see if I felt differently but it's a no-brainer. I like your suggestion for dropping "sibling" and have deleted it. The explanation for it is that (here in the states) it's not uncommon for families to bathe all their children at the same time. We didn't call them "sibling" baths, though. We called it "bath time".
Thanks very much for coming back to look. It's very satisfying to watch how one word added/subtracted can make one feel so good.
x
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  #20  
Old 09-27-2018, 10:50 PM
James Brancheau James Brancheau is offline
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Probably, Jim, I'm just being grumpy. I agree with others that you've revised very well. And your growth, if I can be so presumptuous, I suppose, in general, has really been something to see. Just here I don't believe it as much as I want to, if that makes any sense. And please, go back to the previous revision.
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