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Unread 01-20-2021, 10:37 AM
Julie Steiner Julie Steiner is offline
Join Date: Feb 2003
Location: San Diego, CA, USA
Posts: 6,942

The new title is perfect.

I would like the asterisks better if they weren't indented so far that I stop reading the poem and turn all my attention to wondering what the rule was for determining their asymmetric placement. (Centered in relation to the longest line puts them WAY too far right of center. But perhaps that has some political symbolism, and maybe my itching to pull the asterisk to the left is intentional.)

I hadn't noticed the "The" repetition that Jane mentioned until you changed it. The result is far more dramatic and forceful. Good call!

I wonder if the unsurprising "heavy, gray" is the best way to describe the clouds in S1.

Politically, is the two-ness of "pairs of every species" important to the ark image here, or is the main intent of that metaphor to underscore the diversity of the menagerie? Are there two representatives elected from each district or something? [BTW, in Genesis 7:1-3, Noah wasn't instructed to save two of every species--it was pairs of the unclean animals and seven pairs of the clean ones. The image of two of every species comes from artists and toymakers who didn't want to represent fourteen of the most boringly domestic animals.]

Last edited by Julie Steiner; 01-20-2021 at 10:53 AM.
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Unread 01-20-2021, 12:21 PM
Martin Elster Martin Elster is offline
Join Date: Nov 2007
Location: Connecticut, USA
Posts: 6,850

I like the new title. S3L2 sounds perfect now. The omission of “the” from the beginning of Stanzas 2 and 3 was a good move.

Regarding Julie’s point about the asterisks, it looks like they are centered in relation to the longest line. It doesn’t bother me. They are neither “right” nor “left,” but neutral.

Julie knows much more about the bible than I do, so I wouldn’t know what to say about “pairs of every species.” I agree that it may be worth trying out other adjectives in place of “heavy, gray” for the clouds. Maybe mention specific kinds of clouds? Though that might be too meteorologically jargonic.
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Unread 01-20-2021, 01:25 PM
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Daniel Kemper Daniel Kemper is offline
Join Date: Jul 2009
Location: California
Posts: 1,125

aw. I liked "Beleaguered in Upper Lazio" for its alliterations.

Beleaguered in Upper Lazio
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Unread 01-23-2021, 02:16 AM
Andrew Frisardi Andrew Frisardi is offline
Join Date: Nov 2003
Location: Lazio, Italy
Posts: 5,315

Julie, Martin, Daniel, et al., I’ve tinkered a bit more with this, including those two adjectives early in the poem (“heavy, dark”), which I agree weren’t good or doing much. I also changed a phrase in the penultimate line of S1, and a couple of words near the end of the poem.

I’m glad the new title is going over. Daniel, I don’t think alliteration alone is enough to keep a title that clashes with the poem, as I think the original one did (I was thinking originally of a wordplay on “league,” as in leagues of distance in the valley, but that’s a moot point by now).

For the asterisks, Jim too mentioned that it’s distracting to have them centered, so I’ve moved them to the left margin.

Julie, about that closing image, here is what Genesis 6:19-20 says: “You are to bring into the ark two of all living creatures, male and female, to keep them alive with you. Two of every kind of bird, of every kind of animal and of every kind of creature that moves along the ground will come to you to be kept alive.” So my poem is in line with that, though the next chapter specifies the number of pairs that you mention.

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Unread 01-23-2021, 04:55 AM
W T Clark W T Clark is offline
Join Date: May 2020
Location: England
Posts: 265

Hello Andrew

This has some very nice moments, one of them being "the bomb of blame" motif, but at times the writing seems to withdraw into a haze of impersonal metaphors that don't feel very effectual, to me.

My troubles commence in the lines in l4-5 with the "glut of fellowship", which for me signifies very little. It feels quite metrically driven, and to my mind there are many superior images that could replace it. Know also that the poem has slipped slightly into repetition, you have used two "something of something" phrases in very quick succession.
"agitated by the rhetoric / of politicians" feels, too me, quite prosaic. The poem has some nice moves with the metatextual "[sic]", but "for the people" would quickly indicate to most people that this is a cliché spouted by politicians, so parts of the previous line are redundant.
The opening two lines after the second * seem ineffectual to my mind. "ether" is a vaguely archaic word, and the entire metaphor could be said in a simpler way.
The (non)conclusion is pleasurable, but I would remove the exclamation mark. The clouds overhead promising turmoil has already been used (overused?) by the poem, so again this seems quite repetitive.

Someone once told me to make sure that if I were writing poems about people and objects that those poems did not become poems about poetry. I think this is worth consideration. The absence of a recognizable first-person narrative voice along with the poem's attempts to keep the actual politicians / politics vague can sometimes lead the poem into sounding more as if it were enchanted by its own figuration than the actual political event.

Hope this helps.
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Unread 01-24-2021, 01:52 AM
Andrew Frisardi Andrew Frisardi is offline
Join Date: Nov 2003
Location: Lazio, Italy
Posts: 5,315

Hi Cameron, thanks for reading and sharing your thoughts on this one. Your critique about the impersonal metaphors is certainly legitimate. I think, however, that in the end such matters are a question of taste or what one responds to. It's useful for me to know that the poem's overall perspective is not working for you. I don't find a problem with the repeated "something of something" construct in S1 that you mention, though your mentioning it got me to see that "fellowship" was off, so I replaced it. I am also still liking the other spots in the poem that you mention, though I'll take another look at them after I've set this poem aside for a while.

Thanks for your help with this, fellow Sphereans. I think it's ready to slide down the board.


Last edited by Andrew Frisardi; 01-24-2021 at 02:32 AM.
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