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Unread 03-02-2021, 05:06 AM
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Daniel Kemper Daniel Kemper is offline
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Default Concerto for the Spoken Word - INTRO and explanations

A troubled night
drew back belatedly; the light
all gray and gray and gray
today.
But always there are fires, always there are stones
and always unrepentant groans
for sky and street, a sigh from every door
for more.

The dawn
has passed in rain, but now a light is drawn
between the buildings; sky wears through
the clouds. It is not golden toned. It is not blue.
It moans
as rusty cobblestones
wear through the tar, in slow reprise,
and so we rise.

A puddle shines
as mirrors shine, as it combines
a glow that cannot crack
with black
and all the world reflected there climbs toward the sun
in walls of windows, waking one by one.
Above the alley glimmerings appear.
Not here.

The rain,
since past, has found its ground like wisdom, pain,
humility and heart, and from
the widest watersheds the weight has come
to this,
a pool of painful bliss,
a formless, framed integrity,
a broken city.
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Unread 03-02-2021, 05:10 AM
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Daniel Kemper Daniel Kemper is offline
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Let's employ the intro as a means of discussing a section of Concerto for the Spoken Word as a means of discussing selected features of the whole. ("Human Voice" was a late change that I'm going to revert.) In turn, I hope to discuss features of the whole such as choices made (strategic and tactical), errors, and "how" the composition came together, as a means of clarifying "Meta-formal" poetry. Hopefully, it will be better organized-- and less unwieldy. The original post's comments seem to have become unweildy.

First, a synopsis and general notes about the general idea. I will get to specific structures.

SYNOPSIS:
A city wakes. The early morning garbage men are lauded for being Zenlike. There are hints at an ineffable something, a deeper meaning or purpose to reality. A man, representative of everyman by repetition of all the windows, makes coffee. He's thinking about those "ineffabilities" in general and a particular instantiation of these matters (roll from backward, and roll forward, too): his daughter. Wife slips out *wipes the fingerprints of her daughter's lover off the windowpane. We've been shown him as he dashes down the street* Evelynn thinks Redley doesn't know. But he does- why he knew she'd come back/where she went/etc.

Stem and petals- start to reach for overt symbols here and not just action, but helps to remember the title here, mentioned in the stanza prior. Their daughter has no attitude yet towards her own aging- it's described 3rd person. Evelynn laments not just aging (akin to Redley's desire to find "ineffabilities"), but that that is how life is, and worries about her daughter going the same path. Redley starts to comfort her by challenging her, thinks better of it--she's more right than he imagined at first.

The characters exemplify that wisdom comes from, or is at least revealed by, loss; wisdom is what remains-- we've wound back into the theme from another angle and application. A jarring realization comes that having been so absorbed, the passing of the day has been missed. The metaphor is extended beyond people to the entire world. We return to the puddle and night. [As some sense of limbo earlier, a Dante fan would probably feel "came out once again to rebehold the stars" from Purgatorio.] It returns us also to death, but also to rebirth since the language at the end so closely echoes that of the start.

GENERAL FORM: The form is explicitly symphonic or sonata. Each section has a purpose to achieve and also has limits so that other sections can achieve their purposes.

INTRO engages the listener and states/shows what the theme/s is in such a way that they can be played on later. Themes are both micro and macro. "States/shows" is an important property to keep in mind. In music, in an important sense, you can't be "told" anything as you can in narrative writing. So also I wanted to show more than state the theme. There are two levels of "show": images, as in the puddle, but also sonically-structurally.

EXPO Here, we're not just told what the themes are, the themes are laid out in full definition to include expected contexts. Note: we're doing this with the structure as well as with the content. Sounds, lines, stanza order, line orders within stanzas.

DEV The full definition having been laid out, various meanings and implications of the theme are laid out and explored. How a changing context impacts the meaning is noteworthy throughout. A full sense of content being used as form climbs toward its greatest complexity (exact lines returning at predictable/calculated intervals) and form being used as content (certain repeated structures revealing the repeated nature of the subject e.g. day/night, winter/summer, life/death).

RECAP The contrasts that emerge in DEV are folded back into the original and the themes are restated, but from a new angle, with new features and insights folded back into the whole. The zenith of complexity begins to wind down back towards the INTRO.

CODA A restatement of the intro, here in important sense, inverted. Continue to keep in mind music, sound, and structure. Not only story line.

From the beginning, I thought of this "new form" as a symphony and in my self-talk, I often referred to it as "symphonic structure" or "symphonic form". It dawned on me later that the definition was more than a definition for a piece that would be the same every time, but a form for producing new definitions, new forms. We're only talking structurally here. Hence, meta-formal. I also realized that since a symphony has multiple voices/instruments occurring at once and a poem inherently can only be one voice, that this would be better described as a concerto, which is generally written for one instrument though it is supported by others.

But there's a problem with a synopsis: it leaves out structure, which so often used as content and vice versa, necessarily doesn't summarize or address most of the poem. An example...
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Unread 03-02-2021, 05:20 AM
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Daniel Kemper Daniel Kemper is offline
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Default Problem with Synopsis #1

Problem with Synopsis #1 - a traditional synopsis anyway.

Everything packed into "A City Wakes:"
From the first to the third stanza, for example, we go from the faintest hint of not-night, gray light, light between buildings (not yet to the ground)

|| meanwhile the rain is pulling back about as slowly as night, though it's pulling back first, hence the night "passed in rain" and the sky is barely coming through the clouds.

+ These symbols then join in the puddle. The rain and tears, night and emptiness, light and hope unite in the puddle, which is a reflection, a mirror, whose brightness/whiteness can't be mentioned without the fact that the backing of mirrors is black. An individual puddle. [Later mind/mirror stuff, hinted at by Garbagemen zen.]

Ah but the camera pans back up to show us that same reflection in window after window after window, universalizing the reflection/observation, the reflection/literal image.

"Not here" The camera regathers our view at the puddle which gathers all these images and observations. The rain, as grief, is gathered into mind for contemplation (literal mentions of wisdom, pain, etc) and we are going to delve in.

And that's all just for "A city wakes". I haven't yet imagined how to write a synopsis that includes those kinds of elements. Let alone the structural ones.

For all the stuff that packed in, itís important to listen to the pure sounds of the poem also.
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Unread 03-03-2021, 06:21 AM
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Default notes on structure

Structure notes:

Best to hear and read. Visual readers who don't "read aloud silently" are disadvantaged here.

It's a Concerto. Reading/hearing it that way is a must. You don't read Whitman as a Tennyson. Or Hopkins as Shakespeare (sonnets).

Introduction: It's, well, an introduction. It's not complete by itself. It's job is prep for the statement of theme in Exposition. Simple, general expressions to be built on. A laying out of the elements.

"gray gray gray" - good example to illustrate a number of things.

OVERALL: Among good uses, a tactical error: it really leans more than I thought on allusions I thought more recognizable. "O dark dark dark. They all go into the dark,/The vacant interstellar spaces, the vacant into the vacant,/The captains, merchant bankers...[list]" which of course connects the reader to [Samson speaking] "O DARK, dark, dark, amid the blaze of noon, /Irrecoverably dark, total eclipse /Without all hope of day!" which requires knowledge of Samson being blind.

1st mention: It's blurry and indistinct: the words do what they say. [Intro] expect it to be undeveloped; expect it to develop. The allusion, placed in the intro, should be a hint. Primordial. We're infused in it.

2nd mention: Still stuck in limbo-- should have capitalized Limbo. Dante's sighing souls. Yawning. Groaning. {bonus: "grown", too is rementioned and re-transformed}. Grey is outside us, but we're still in it.

3rd mention: Now it's inside the main character; it's a lament. {Bonus Eliot riff: "vacant intertenamental spaces" vs. "vacant interstellar places".}

4th (and final) mention: Now it's inside the reader. This was not the hopeful ending I'd wished for. Though it's complex and not all despair. The presence of positive meaning does not banish the presence of things that are meaningless. Planets do not banish the void in which they exist. [It was flatly bizarre to see this likened to Anne(?)]

Sum: The Concerto circles back to it's start, which is what a recap and/or coda do. It's two layers more than that- the phrase itself is a repitition, as it calls for repetition in its cycling back. Note: gray is never used by itself.

So it's a good example to illustrate several things.

---->Strengths -- I think it works best as a lament in Evelynn's mouth, which exactly quotes Eliot/Samson which might have been legitimately passed over because of the "and" plus the rest of the poetic activity.)

---->Weaknesses -- too much weight on the allusion, maybe too much on meta-textuality

---->Form -- [Concerto] has to be read/heard differently.
*It's NOT an extended remix. Each part has a logical/thematic and an auditory reason for being where it is.
*It's structured over stanzas for these themes to develop; the reader has to slow down, relax, pace himself/herself so as not to have to stop and gather a breath, give it time to breathe.
*There are A LOT of themes and structures developing.
*It is a concerto; those section headings (where one can take a quick breather) are specific musical terms, not general mentions. Those headings, plus the title, should have tipped the reader off that this needs to be taken in differently than other works.

Summary of Structure, by stanzas. Think of each letter as a type of stanza. Note: I will NOT detail all of the structure; suffice to say it's granular and all grains are accounted for.
Intro -------> [ABAB]
Exposition --> [ABBA ABBA]
Development -> [BCA BCA ADB ADB CBDA CBDA]
Recapitulation [ABD ABD ABAB ABBA]
Coda --------> [ABAB]

Several elements define a stanza: meter, het-met pattern (line lengths), rhyme sounds used, and sometimes the specific phrase is a required part.

Relation of A to B:
meter ---------------------------> Iambic
het-met/line lengths pattern ----> B is A inverted
rhyme scheme --------------------> heroic couplets
rhyme sounds --> The first A stanza in the intro and the second A stanza in the intro are best thought of as A1 and A2. Their rhyme sounds and literal rhyme words are repeated in some sections as every other rhymed pair, in other sections the whole stanza's pattern of rhyme sounds is maintained.
There are also riffs of deliberate variation, e.g. "at" to uck ock ick eck ack (reverse alpha order) --and the intervals of that might seem random, but they are mapped out. To vary, but stay in key.

C is from B - take the first four lines, invert them; take the second four lines invert them.
e.g. 1234 5678 becomes 4321 8765

D is from A - het-met pattern same, but it's trochaic; also has rif on muses via all interogative pronouns - where how why ["as" subbing for when, a divot] what who

All contain various insertions and callbacks from others. The point of the riffs is just for fun. Flourishes. Indulgences.

Strategic errors and limits:
1. Deriving all out of A: A little too much of a certain quality of sameness.
2. Sonnet, interrupted, as pattern for the whole.
*too complex and not actually as musically intuitive as I'd hoped/anticipated.
*did I say, too complex? I *knew* the danger and pressed against it, but underestimated the strength of the complexity-creature...
3. Foresight - I did not initially see, or think to see, about all the relations of the stanzas, e.g. I was in a tight damn corner 3/4 way through when I realized how often I was getting short line lengths coming one after the other. Hard enough to repeat a single foot rhyming couplet and stay fresh, but two in a row? (End of one stanza, beginning of the next). This grieved me because it produced the only metrical divots where an extra syllable crept in. Grieved me.
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  #5  
Unread 03-03-2021, 06:55 AM
Mark McDonnell Mark McDonnell is offline
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Daniel - I don't think you're doing yourself any favours with this public lecture/close-reading of your own work. Similarly, I don't think the Preface to your original posting of the full poem, with its suggestion that you are doing something entirely unprecedented in poetry, is particularly inviting either. All this dictating of how people should read the poem comes across as haranguing. If I were you I would cut the Preface and ask for this thread to be removed. Let your long, ambitious poem stand or fall on its own merits.

Mark

Last edited by Mark McDonnell; 03-03-2021 at 07:43 AM.
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Unread 03-03-2021, 07:38 AM
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R. Nemo Hill R. Nemo Hill is offline
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The scaffolding you clung to should disappear in the final work, it is to be kicked away, not promoted. There are other more vital ways to self-address your own work.

Nemo
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Unread 03-03-2021, 08:33 AM
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Daniel Kemper Daniel Kemper is offline
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Default last note on structure

One more note after this should suffice regarding the whole. Just to give the lay of the land for this one example, warts and all.

Intro -------> [ABAB]
Exposition --> [ABBA ABBA]
Development -> [BCA BCA ADB ADB CBDA CBDA]
Recapitulation [ABD ABD ABAB ABBA]
Coda --------> [ABAB]

INTRODUCTION - Elizabethan quatrain
EXPOSITION - Petrarchan octect
DEVELOPMENT
*section 1 -intro, inverted, with C stuck in the middle, iow,
intro ABAB dev BABA, but add C, so BCA BCA
*section 2 - intro, inverted back to normal order, but with D stuck in the middle, iow
ABAB, but add D so ADB ADB
*section 3 - intro, flipped yet again, this time with both C and D inserted, iow
BABA, for clarity here in the explication, first add C so CBA CBA, THEN add D so CBDA CBDA
note also that C and D have their own pattern going on in there.
CC (s1) DD (s2) CD (s3) CD (s4) -so, with the A's and B's dropped out for explication here, CCDD CDCD
RECAPITULATION (and for this [Concerto] the beginning of winding down
*section 1 - invert again to ABAB and actually drop the C (not just for explication here), note, D follows B, so that's why ABD
*section 2 - (quatrain only) now drop the D and we've exactly recapped the introduction, ABAB
*section 3 - (quatrain only) now re-order and we've recapped the exposition ABBA, as well as recapping how the introduction transitioned into the exposition.
CODA - a restatement of the intro.
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Unread 03-03-2021, 01:12 PM
Yves S L Yves S L is offline
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Hello Daniel Kemper,

For me, a poem does not live or die based upon what architectural/technical/idealogical/sonic rationalizations a writer creates; it lives and dies by the actual lines that are on the page. Lots of people enjoy The Wasteland without having anything like Eliot's comprehensive literary education, because the work "speaks to them".

These ideas that you are describing, if you were to write them out in a prose essay, without using the oblique techniques of poetry such as symbolism and whatnot, then what would you be saying?

If, say, you do not consider the folk at Eratosphere to have sufficient background in the techniques of poetry so that you have tell over and over again that actually hearing the sound of poetic lines is important, then maybe there is a group of folk who better match the required technical background somewhere?

Consider that many people can enjoy Johan Sebastian's Bach The Art of Fugue with not even a cursory knowledge of the intricate processes underlying a fugue, and that work is suppossed to be the final testament of the greatest architectural composer in the history of European Art Music.

Good luck to you.
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Unread 03-04-2021, 12:46 AM
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Daniel Kemper Daniel Kemper is offline
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Notes on the composition and why it's a new way forward.

iterative process, loosely...
1. start with content
2. lay out in whatever form is intuitive, completely free, but rhymed and metered
3. note what form came out What characteristics stand out ?
4. write another stanza loosely related to those characteristics and patterns
5. pause - important - let it marinate; read, listen, look at all art lit music associated
6. decide how big a thing you want to say - which would come out of what's already on paper
7. sketch elements of the form forward (some or all)
8. keep jotting content - no order at all necessary - but esp. rifs that occur when you decide how big a thing you want to say, e.g. a character grows older, she could say x at beginning, but if you changed one word of that, it would be mean something much more mature, and i could lead in like this, and/or pass it and reflect back like that, before moving to the old phase...
9. go back and adjust the form
10. at some point, the sculpture's clay does harden and you have a form but your most of the way there by the time this happens
11. NOTE: It is therefore not accurate to say one is trapped in a form, like a primitive creature in an exoskeleton. The iterative process lets you create as you go, form is an endoskeleton. You create the form to enhance the content; indeed, form is content when done this way and calling back specific pieces of content means the reverse is true as well. Content becomes form. For a sonnet (e.g.), you are inside the box. The form tells you what to do and how to do it. In contrast, for this style (meta-formal), you build the box and are therefore outside the box; you tell the form what to do. (Though you can slip and fall into the box if you aren't careful.)
12. Style is meta-formal because this is not strict rules to make a form, as in the case of a villanelle (e.g.), but loose rules for how to create forms. A form for making forms; hence, meta-formal.


Think of it as making a paper snowflake. You make whatever simple folds you want; you make whatever simple cuts you want. You create a complex and unique piece of art.

Think of it as ordering a drink at Starbucks. You make a handful of simple choices and create a detailed, delicious stimulating treat (which rips off the third world of resources and financially rapes its growers, but leave that aside for now). But that is a creation with over 80,000 possible combinations. Simple choices, complex result.

The way forward. Meter and Form in extended length works fall into two categories: same and different. Ha. "Same" means one meter throughout, page after page. Dante's terza rima, Milton's syllabics, Tennyson's IP, Whitman's proem-sody, Eliot's proem-sody (4Q). Likewise, poems like [Raven], [Rime], [Goblin]. Different means different poem types, sometimes separated out in individual pieces, sometimes continuous. Continuous like [Maude] or [Omeros]. Separated like verse novels [Mr. Either/Or] or simple collections. The point is, that although the individual pieces connect to one another in theme, they do not connect from the use of one form to the next. Within the forms, there are often techniques, I think. The woman's speach always employs "feminine" endings. The gruff, hairy old guy at the docks speaks in Anglo Saxon verse. The hyperactive barista speaks in anapests. They are in essence opera, not symphonies, not concertos. "Opera" just means more than one "opus", i.e. a collection. "Symphony" means together-sounds, i.e. unified.

Last edited by Daniel Kemper; 03-04-2021 at 12:48 AM.
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Unread 03-04-2021, 12:48 AM
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Intro -------> [ABAB]
Exposition --> [ABBA ABBA]
Development -> [BCA BCA ADB ADB CBDA CBDA]
Recapitulation [ABD ABD ABAB ABBA]
Coda --------> [ABAB]

INTRODUCTION - Elizabethan quatrain
EXPOSITION - Petrarchan octect
DEVELOPMENT
*section 1 -intro, inverted, with C stuck in the middle, iow,
intro ABAB dev BABA, but add C, so BCA BCA
*section 2 - intro, inverted back to normal order, but with D stuck in the middle, iow
ABAB, but add D so ADB ADB
*section 3 - intro, flipped yet again, this time with both C and D inserted, iow
BABA, for clarity here in the explication, first add C so CBA CBA, THEN add D so CBDA CBDA
note also that C and D have their own pattern going on in there.
CC (s1) DD (s2) CD (s3) CD (s4) -so, with the A's and B's dropped out for explication here, CCDD CDCD
RECAPITULATION (and for this [Concerto] the beginning of winding down
*section 1 - invert again to ABAB and actually drop the C (not just for explication here), note, D follows B, so that's why ABD
*section 2 - (quatrain only) now drop the D and we've exactly recapped the introduction, ABAB
*section 3 - (quatrain only) now re-order and we've recapped the exposition ABBA, as well as recapping how the introduction transitioned into the exposition.
CODA - a restatement of the intro.
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