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  #11  
Old 10-12-2018, 10:16 AM
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Martin Rocek Martin Rocek is offline
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Purely technically, I think having the same rhyme word in both repetends is just too much of a strait-jacket, and is one of the things that makes this poem fail. It is just not interesting enough, even for a coffee freak.

Sorry!
Martin
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  #12  
Old 10-12-2018, 12:37 PM
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R. S. Gwynn R. S. Gwynn is offline
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Sam,
what specific taste sensations inspire preference of one brand over another, one brewing technique over another for you? What exactly does the Italian Roast add in that rescues..


Dark roast, black. I generally use 2 k-cups on the small-cup setting to fill my coffee mug. The most intense taste sensations are on the sides of my tongue, middle and back. Aroma: coffee should smell like coffee, which has a unique smell; a pleasant death would be to be caught in the cargo hold of a ship while coffee beans are being poured in, like the death of the bad guy in Norris's The Octopus. Any attempts at using the awful, pretentious adjectives used for wine or cigars are going to fall flat. What I like most about my coffee is a slightly syrupy consistency; I call it "chewy." Most of the aftertaste (no bitterness of chicory blends) is at the back of the mouth, where it mingles with the smoke from a Marlboro. The Starbuck's instant Italian Roast packets are simply an emergency measure; they are somewhat like methadone in this regard in that they can tide me over until I can get a real fix. When I quit drinking three years ago, coffee became my stimulant of choice. I do wish someone would try the Nice French Roast (the Colombian isn't any good) from Walgreen's. Prove me wrong. I am drinking a cup of it right now.
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  #13  
Old 10-12-2018, 02:35 PM
Michael Cantor Michael Cantor is offline
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The basic problem isn't the lack of coffee details - although the lack of any specifics is certainly a weakness. But the big problem is what has already been mentioned. The repetends have all depth of a weak brew of instant coffee made with hot tap water. Not only do they have the same rhyme word, but they're almost the same. And you do almost nothing to play with them - to change meaning or nuance as you go through the poem. Either one of them - with the variations you use on both - would do well as a single repetend. But you need a new rhyme and a new repetend. Something that will glow.

As in, Some coffees have a strong yet subtle glow. Or iridescent glow (whatever that means, but I've always been a sucker for things iridescent.)

Last edited by Michael Cantor; 10-12-2018 at 02:52 PM.
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Old 10-12-2018, 03:20 PM
Roger Slater Roger Slater is offline
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I'm having the same issues as Michael. But I don't agree that either repetend by itself would do well. "This coffee blend you have to taste to know", even leaving aside the inversion, which only bothers me a little, strikes me as a bit puzzling since wouldn't that be true of any coffee blend? How can you know what it tastes like if you don't taste it? If it's saying more than the obvious, I am missing it.

If you keep the repetend, though, I think you are missing out on opportunities to exploit the syntax for variety. It might be good to position the line so that "this coffee blend" ends a sentence that carries over from the previous line. Then, following a period, you can start a new sentence with "You have to taste to know." Or even "You have to taste. To know...."

In L4, I don't really get what you mean by "show." And gourmand/gourmet seems fillerish to me, since why would you expect a gourmand to be able to "show" the taste when a gourmet cannot?

In L8, "I cannot say" confuses me. The speaker cannot say if it's a dream? That strikes me as far-fetched.

I'm also confused by "And stay!" Stay where? And "go to paradox" is too abstract for me.

I love coffee as well! Mostly Italian Roast from a grocery store near me that roasts it own beans.
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  #15  
Old 10-12-2018, 11:35 PM
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R. S. Gwynn R. S. Gwynn is offline
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I do agree with Roger and Mike and Dr. Johnson: "The subject, Sir, cannot be made poetical." Coffee is coffee. If it's a metaphor for something, as it is assuredly not for me, then you've got to go out and find out what it is. If you're serious about the subject, then the villanelle is a formal mismatch, as it is in almost all attempts at writing a serious one (Thomas and Bishop excepted); if you treat the subject humorously, then a villanelle might work. Personally, I would advise the mock-heroic couplet; there were many dead-serious poems in the 18th century on subjects like horseshoeing and petuniaculture. That's one reason why Pope wrote The Rape of the Lock.

All hail, Great Yergacheffe, the whole world 'round,
Who, chief of all our princelings, stands his ground,
For thine is majesty forever new
Each morn' in sav'ry cups each man can brew,
To face the challenge of the daily hack
With his strong med'cine, always taken black . . .

Last edited by R. S. Gwynn; 10-12-2018 at 11:48 PM.
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  #16  
Old 10-13-2018, 05:51 AM
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Michael Ferris Michael Ferris is offline
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I have to agree with the excellent preceding crits. In particular, what Sam said about the form: even Auden's is unprepossessing, IMO. I think you risk burlesquing the religious experience, and I'm fairly sure that is not your aim.

I admire religious poetry and I love an extended metaphor, but this isn't a good marriage. The Sufis used wine, and not the villanelle.

M
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  #17  
Old 10-13-2018, 06:37 AM
Jim Moonan Jim Moonan is offline
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Daniel: can you concretize that 'interior reality transformation' a bit for me?

It starts with everything that Sam says... What I meant is that the coffee produces clarity of confluent thoughts. It wakens the full imagination; produces an alertness to and awareness of connections; the kind of multi-leveled imagination that Coleridge writes about here.
x
x
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  #18  
Old 10-15-2018, 09:50 AM
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Daniel Kemper Daniel Kemper is online now
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Howdy Martin,

The same rhyme word in both repetends is tough. I agree. I think I'll try a rennovation and see if I can work in a progressive variation from start to end. To get what I'm after, they have to be the same at the end though. No need to apologize. I can't communicate very well ahead of time the state that I think a poem is in when I post it. This one was done end to end, but the repetends, which have a good concept behind them, did not come out of the oven the way they went in...

Thanks for the feedback.


Hi Michael C.,

I do intend to get to the details; I find details much easier to filter in than some of the other changes I'm looking for feedback on, so I intend to rennovate in several passes.

On the repetends, it was a surprise when I stood back from it that they sound so similar. [but they're almost the same].
They are actually the opposite. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BGRZogWq8Vk Not declining the mods similar to what I say above. Just observing that they're actually the opposite of one another. But to state it again, when I first stood back from it, I did see that they didn't play that way.

[strong yet subtle glow] I might borrow the phrase.

Hey Roger,

["This coffee blend you have to taste to know", even leaving aside the inversion, which only bothers me a little, strikes me as a bit puzzling since wouldn't that be true of any coffee blend? ] You see, there is actually nuance in the lines. Have you never said something like, "You just have to see this to believe it?" It's in that notion it should be understood on the literal level-- it also keeps it consistent on the symbolic level. [you have to believe to see/but/you have to see to believe.]

a shame that see and believe don't rhyme <--- that's where one of my trips to the "Poem Depot" has to go to get materials for the rennovation.

--Often, very often even, a person has to know what they're looking at in order to see it. This is the same sort of thing. With young children, you notice the same thing over and over with new foods. With older people the same thing with new things as well, though old people are in this instance less self-aware than the young.

[opportunities to exploit the syntax for variety]. In brief, yeah. I think I'm going to re-cut the stanza structure too.

[In L4] - Refined or unrefined enjoyment. I wouldn't expect them to be giving a demonstration, I would expect it to show, to be reflected in their countenance (e.g.). Perhaps 'could' or 'might' would be a better word than 'can'; however, the fact of refinement of their enjoyment has no relation to their potential communication skills. Many a gormand of various tastes I've found to be a better communicator than the gormets.

In L8, ["I cannot say"] It's a basic reverie. What's hard about that?

["And stay!"] Not complex, simply one lover/coffee lover handing a cup to another wanting the other to stay. As far as paradox- the two lines right there have been my chief concern. All pleasures fade, that's the real current of the poem. They are either used up, or with introspection, spun into paradox--exactly like the one that follows. You have to taste to know, but you can't know if you don't taste.

Sam and Michael F. - I think I'll take up the implicit challenge on the Villanelle. I think it is the most underrated form and has huge potential if poets will just see it in a slightly different light.

Jim,
I always look for your posts and crits. I'll come back round to give this a worthy response.

DISCLAIMER: My preferences are for Ethiopian coffees, hands down. If not those, then Sumatra, which is pretty close to Sidamo for me.
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  #19  
Old 10-16-2018, 06:04 AM
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Michael Ferris Michael Ferris is offline
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I admire your vim, Daniel! May you succeed. I have always liked Plath's villanelle, too.
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