Eratosphere Forums - Metrical Poetry, Free Verse, Fiction, Art, Critique, Discussions Able Muse - a review of poetry, prose and art

Forum Left Top

Reply
 
Thread Tools Display Modes
  #1  
Old 10-17-2018, 07:27 AM
Aaron Novick's Avatar
Aaron Novick Aaron Novick is offline
Member
 
Join Date: Sep 2016
Location: Halifax, Nova Scotia
Posts: 1,360
Default blank verse

Wheat text

It (revision)

It's having a hard time of it out there
in the melancholy drizzle (call it 'rain')
[have you no self-respect, no will to proportion
your words?] that it's not really calling anything,
because it's showing, not telling, each florid moment
presenting the latest leaden novelty
(I've never seen anything like it!) [just yesterday
you said the same], something it's not quite making
out, despite its simply impeccable
articulation (such infinite precision!)
[how would we know, we fall so short...], giving
totality a voice that, somewhere along
the way, it's garbling, trying then to recover
mid-stream (the roads are getting muddier
before our eyes) [there's nothing to be done
but to brave it, since we are already here]
but it's beginning to feel—if it feels—
the insurmountable magnitude of the task
and so it's slurring now with renewed vigor
(is it true? are we to be cast out into this?)
[that's the way it's looking], pouring now
out of spite, attempting once and for all
to annihilate all of the delicate distinctions
that the numbskulls are numb to, washing out
each boundary until the one truth
that still can be uttered is, It's all a blur
(it's raining now, yes?) [yes, no argument there].


Semantics (original)

(The anti-defenestration movement held
a public meeting
*...) [but that is next to the point]
It's having a hard time of it out there
in the melancholy drizzle (call it rain)
[have you no self-respect?] that it, at least,
hasn't been calling anything, because
it's showing, not telling, each moment presenting the latest
gray novelty (I've never seen anything like it!)
that somehow also is oh so familiar [meh],
something it isn't making out, although
it's saying it with simply impeccable
articulation (such infinite precision!)
[we fall so short...], giving totality
a voice that, somewhere along the way, it's garbling,
trying then to recover mid-stream
(the state of the roads! my poor shoes!) [there's nothing
to be done but to brave it, since we are here
already], but it's feeling—if it feels—
the insurmountable magnitude of the task
and so it's slurring now with renewed vigor
(how awful: to be cast from a window into this!)
[that, friend, is why our work matters], pouring
now out of spite, attempting once and for all
to annihilate all of the delicate distinctions
the numbskulls are numb to, washing out each line
and boundary until some disembodied
voice might fairly say, It's all a blur
(it's raining now, yes?) [yes, no argument there].


*G. Leech, Semantics

Last edited by Aaron Novick; 10-24-2018 at 09:15 PM. Reason: typos
Reply With Quote
  #2  
Old 10-17-2018, 12:52 PM
Orwn Acra's Avatar
Orwn Acra Orwn Acra is offline
Member
 
Join Date: Nov 2005
Location: NYC
Posts: 1,883
Default

I think for this to work, it has to be

• shorter
• wittier or more grounded

The end I think is a nod to Wittgenstein—appropriate, but I can’t help but think of this in Transparent Things:

"Days like this give sight a rest and allow other senses to function more freely. Earth and sky were drained of all color. It was either raining or pretending to rain or not raining at all, yet still appearing to rain in a sense that only certain Northern dialects can either express verbally or not express, but versionize, as it were, through the ghost of a sound produced by a drizzle in a haze of grateful rose shrubs. 'Raining in Wittenberg, but not in Wittgenstein.' An obscure joke in Tralatitions."

Look how Nabokov contrasts the cerebral and erudite with the plain and beautiful while covering similar ground.
Reply With Quote
  #3  
Old 10-17-2018, 02:21 PM
David Callin David Callin is online now
Member
 
Join Date: Jun 2014
Location: Ellan Vannin
Posts: 1,969
Default

Aaron, leaving Wittgenstein aside, which I always prefer to do, taking his most famous dictum to heart, on a purely practical reading level the poem seems too jerky, too stop and start to me. But maybe that is part of your deep plot for the poem. I don't know.

And this is in Metrical, so is this supposed to be pentameter? Not throughout, I think.

Minor typo corner: it's defenestration. But you know that.

I am sufficiently intrigued to follow how the conversation around this develops.

Cheers

David
Reply With Quote
  #4  
Old 10-17-2018, 02:36 PM
Woody Long's Avatar
Woody Long Woody Long is offline
Member
 
Join Date: Jul 2013
Location: Arlington, Virginia
Posts: 1,371
Default

Aaron —

Intriguing. showing/telling/seeing/doing/feeling (appending some -ings for the sake of parallelism.)

I wonder if the poem could be helped by cleaning up the syntax and the structure somewhat here and there. The purpose being to help the reader apprehend the poem's altogether. (I do realize that stuff like the difference between parentheses & square brackets is probably significant.) (& guess-ably the one big block of text is thematic—at least that's the way it rained here in Virginia a few days ago.)

Maybe convert the Leech quote into an epigraph. That would eliminate the need for a footnote. Then a blank line and But that is next to the point. as a plain text one-liner, perhaps followed by a blank line.

Then, having got the word semantics into an epigraph near the top, maybe the title could be something like Rain, Raining, Window, etc.

L3 - It's have a hard time of it... - I don't read this as idiomatic English, although it could be, using italics or quotes:

It's have a hard time of it out there
...

------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Cross-posted with David. My overall reaction is much the same as his.

Also: I am feelingly reminded, inchoately, of Thirteen Ways of Looking at a Blackbird, e.g.

XIII
It was evening all afternoon.
It was snowing
And it was going to snow.
The blackbird sat
In the cedar-limbs.


— Woody

Last edited by Woody Long; 10-17-2018 at 03:06 PM. Reason: added "Window" as a possible title
Reply With Quote
  #5  
Old 10-17-2018, 05:34 PM
Aaron Novick's Avatar
Aaron Novick Aaron Novick is offline
Member
 
Join Date: Sep 2016
Location: Halifax, Nova Scotia
Posts: 1,360
Default

Thanks all. Fixed a few typos for now. Going to wait a bit before tackling substantive revisions, but you've all made good points that I'll try to take into account.
Reply With Quote
  #6  
Old 10-18-2018, 12:36 PM
Jim Moonan Jim Moonan is offline
Member
 
Join Date: Aug 2016
Location: Boston, MA
Posts: 1,670
Default

Hi Aaron,
I'm of two minds about this. First, it tantalizes. Second, it obfuscates.
I’ve been making notes for the past day and rather than meld them, I will just put them here in bullet points hoping they help show you how this poem sits with me.
  • It seems intent on blurring the meaning of things. I am not privy to the author or book referenced but did google it and get the gist of what you’re going for (I think).
  • Your poem makes hay from words, rollicks in the leaves, whittles away at shades of gray. So I like it, Aaron. But I don’t much like blank verse. Shakespeare’s wicked tongue ruined it for me.
  • I hesitate to even comment since it feels like much of this is over my head but I did want to at least say that your subject matter (semantics) is at least entertaining and somehow apropos to blank verse.
  • This poem reminds me of how language is like putty.
  • It’s nearly impossible to read the poem without stumbling on every line. It’s like tripping over roots in the woods. I’m not complaining. Everytime I trip I find something worth the trip. Poets are by definition semanticists, I think (if there is such a word).
  • This excerpt from a quote of Nabokov that Orwn used: “...through the ghost of a sound produced by a drizzle in a haze of grateful rose shrubs” is so smooth. Your poem is a bumpy ride.
  • The subject matter is esoteric to the point of excluding me from feeling I’m able to fully grasp its intent. It is fine, I suppose, for the limited audience it speaks to, but unless the average bloke is ready willing and able to read “into” it his/her own meaning, it otherwise becomes a marginal poem addressed to only those who come equipped to unlock it.
Putting semantics to the left for a moment, I remember once being assigned the task of writing my own obituary in a creative writing class. My prof was an avant garde type, so I went for his jugular and wrote it in “nuspeek” (((not Orwell’s))) -- a hodgepodge of linguistic twists and turns, dumbed down spelling and wordjams (I was dead so I didn’t care). Anyway I did it for the grade [A] knowing he was a sucker for nonsense.
x
Reply With Quote
  #7  
Old 10-18-2018, 12:54 PM
Daniel Kemper's Avatar
Daniel Kemper Daniel Kemper is offline
Member
 
Join Date: Jul 2009
Location: California
Posts: 628
Default

I am in need of more reading, but at the moment get a Joyce-ian Fugue in three voices.

Gordian knot: You want to show what you say as well as you want to say it, but that necessarily leaves no entry point to the subject. The task you've set yourself might be akin to Hofstadter's concept of a poorly formed string. Consider: if you did make a clear entry point into the topic, that would contradict the ability to show this topic at the same time as you told it.
Reply With Quote
  #8  
Old 10-20-2018, 01:23 AM
R. S. Gwynn's Avatar
R. S. Gwynn R. S. Gwynn is offline
Member
 
Join Date: Feb 2001
Location: Beaumont, TX
Posts: 4,052
Default

I won't comment on the meter, which I checked in only a couple of places. This is entertaining post-Ashbery stuff, but it's still post-Ashbery stuff. I always liked reading about the defenestration of Prague, especially when I learned what the Bohemians said as they were tossed out: CZHIT! Every small town in Texas has its own annual festival celebrating its local produce or ethnic heritage. New Braunfels (German) has Wurstfest; Lulling has The Watermelon Thump. Flatonia, west of Houston, has an annual chili cook-off even though it's a Czech community. Their festival is called the Czilispiel.

Last edited by R. S. Gwynn; 10-20-2018 at 01:26 AM.
Reply With Quote
  #9  
Old 10-20-2018, 01:27 PM
Jason Ringler Jason Ringler is offline
New Member
 
Join Date: Apr 2011
Location: United States of America
Posts: 54
Default

Hi Aaron, I haven't read enough poetry to have anything to compare this to, but I like it so far. It reads fluidly. I've never heard of defenestration before and its amusing to read about. I hope to reply with more later.
Reply With Quote
  #10  
Old 10-23-2018, 05:14 PM
Erik Olson Erik Olson is offline
Member
 
Join Date: Apr 2015
Location: Portland, OR
Posts: 1,633
Default

Aaron,

SEMANTICS may appear, as a title, loomingly dry to the would-be reader and I fear rather forbidding than inviting. It was enough to occasion that concern. If I were cynical, I might say further that it smacks of academical-pretension.

If sure of nothing else, the unique composition did sound to me like an Echo written for two voices. On a purely textual level, I enjoy the back-and-forth of two voices. That said, I did feel it sometimes became too jerky and disjointed. Further, I wished it gratified on other levels as well as it did for that of contexture; that is, without seeming to forfeit a great deal all for an effect of texture.
articulation (such infinite precision!)
I best disclose out of the gate that what this piece aims at may very well not be my own choicest cup of tea. The quilt of assorted articulations appears to comment upon language. It seems to fancy itself intellectually grand and sophisticated, however, I am afraid that the weird edifice does not much stir me. Further, it tosses me about and flits too much for my liking. I know not what to advise. Perhaps grounding it more?
I wish I could have been more positive about this one, but I durst not be an iota less than unvarnished. In any case, I bid you good luck, friend, as I reckon you may need it.

Cheers,

Erik

Last edited by Erik Olson; 10-23-2018 at 06:52 PM.
Reply With Quote
Reply

Bookmarks

Thread Tools
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Forum Jump



Forum Right Top
Forum Left Bottom Forum Right Bottom
 
Right Left
Member Login
Forgot password?
Forum LeftForum Right


Forum Statistics:
Forum Members: 7,925
Total Threads: 19,480
Total Posts: 251,705
There are 254 users
currently browsing forums.
Forum LeftForum Right


Forum Sponsor:
Donate & Support Able Muse / Eratosphere
Forum LeftForum Right
Right Right
Right Bottom Left Right Bottom Right

Hosted by ApplauZ Online