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

Forum Left Top

Notices

Reply
 
Thread Tools Display Modes
  #11  
Old 09-04-2018, 06:27 PM
Roger Slater Roger Slater is offline
Member
 
Join Date: Jun 2001
Location: New York
Posts: 14,194
Default

I agree with Andrew's comments. I would add that the sudden stitching together of lines 2, 4 and 6 somehow ought to give a greater thrill or surprise, but somehow the reassembly of those lines here seems a bit too telegraphed and ho-hum. I can well see that others might not agree with me.

I wonder as well about "boiling" in L1. Seems to be a bit weak to describe the heat of the Big Bang. And L3 seems wrong, since the rest of the poem doesn't treat the phenomonon as implausible in the least. On the contrary, it's the poem's acceptance of the phenomonon that makes the conclusion -- I'm more wowed by the flowers in my yard -- striking.
Reply With Quote
  #12  
Old 09-04-2018, 07:14 PM
Martin Elster Martin Elster is online now
Member
 
Join Date: Nov 2007
Location: Connecticut, USA
Posts: 5,557
Default

Thanks, John, Aaron (again), and Roger.

John - I’m please you like this little thing. And thanks for saying it’s jaunty.

Aaron - I tweaked L1 to describe the initial so-called singularity a bit more in place of “they say.”

Roger - I’m sorry the last line didn’t give you a thrill. I’m afraid it’s the best I can do for now.

I take your point about “boiling hot” in L1. I replaced it with “hugely hot,” which perhaps is more descriptive. I like the alliteration in any case.

I get what you mean about L3. Though the big bang is, most likely, an improbable phenomenon, I changed the line to “astonishing phenomenon!” I think that might work better with the ending.

PS - I haven’t yet found a decent title.

Last edited by Martin Elster; 09-04-2018 at 07:17 PM.
Reply With Quote
  #13  
Old 09-05-2018, 12:00 AM
John Jeffrey John Jeffrey is offline
New Member
 
Join Date: Feb 2013
Location: Connecticut
Posts: 25
Default

I keep coming back to this poem, and while I think version 3 is a big improvement, I’m still troubled by "hot/dot"—though I have no suggestions for alternatives. I’m glad you traded “boiling” for “dense,” since the reference is to the big bang singularity and that sucker would have been infinitely dense. But I think “hugely” is a miss; it works against the fact that the initial singularity—the dot—was, in theory, dimensionless (though who the hell knows). So "hugely" should go. Keep it dense and hot.

Now, even though I’m not a fan of the phrase hot/dot to describe the big bang singularity, I think if you cast the first two lines as a question again it brings back some of the jauntiness of the early versions, and hot/dot works better in that context. It also makes the exclamatory reaction in L3 more reasonable. (To me, the exclamation is out of place after the rather flat statement, “We’ve come from a dense and hugely hot/dot.”)
Everything from a dense hot
dot?
Astonishing phenomenon!

Our universe from a dense hot
dot?
Astonishing phenomenon!
--John J

An aside: Once, in a writing group, the assignment was to write an ovillejo. After searching around and finding no one even agrees on the details of the form, I read some, tried writing some, read some more, and decided I don’t like the form and, moreover, think it’s too damn restrictive to allow a decent poem to fit into its straitjacket. In fact, I ended up writing my ovillejo about the fact that no one knows how to write an ovillejo. My final line was, "I don't know. I'd ask Cervantes, but he's dead."
Reply With Quote
  #14  
Old 09-05-2018, 12:54 AM
Martin Elster Martin Elster is online now
Member
 
Join Date: Nov 2007
Location: Connecticut, USA
Posts: 5,557
Default

Hi John,

Thanks for stopping by and commenting. You are right about the first line. I should have kept it as a question. I’ll try out your second suggestion:

Our universe from a dense, hot
dot?

Still wondering if I’ll come up with a more interesting title. Any suggestions?

Ovillejos are, indeed, restrictive. But as Igor Stravinsky said:

Quote:
The more constraints one imposes, the more one frees one’s self. And the arbitrariness of the constraint serves only to obtain precision of execution.
Still, I don’t blame you for not liking ovillejos. I think if I were to write lots and lots of them, most would likely be forgettable, though every now and then I’d come up with something good. Maybe even get better at them. Who knows? If nothing else, though, they’re good practice.
Reply With Quote
  #15  
Old 09-05-2018, 08:27 PM
Martin Elster Martin Elster is online now
Member
 
Join Date: Nov 2007
Location: Connecticut, USA
Posts: 5,557
Default

Just to let you know, folks, that I posted a revision with a new title and changed L7 in the hopes that nothing in the poem gives away or telegraphs the ending, or at least not as much.
Reply With Quote
  #16  
Old 09-05-2018, 08:36 PM
RCL's Avatar
RCL RCL is offline
Member
 
Join Date: Oct 2000
Location: Los Angeles, CA
Posts: 5,182
Default

Martin, the indentations are contributing to a weakening of the poem. What are stellar towers?
__________________
Ralph
Reply With Quote
  #17  
Old 09-05-2018, 09:58 PM
Rick Mullin's Avatar
Rick Mullin Rick Mullin is offline
Member
 
Join Date: Feb 2007
Location: Northern New Jersey
Posts: 7,722
Default

Hi Martin.

This comes across to me as an exercise in some arcane form that any Spherian should be able to wind through. It starts, as do a lot of you poems, with some received scientific notion about nature followed by a challenge to the notion that is not a challenge at all.

How do clouds dot a lawn with flowers?

Cold as ice.

RM
Reply With Quote
  #18  
Old 09-05-2018, 10:37 PM
Martin Elster Martin Elster is online now
Member
 
Join Date: Nov 2007
Location: Connecticut, USA
Posts: 5,557
Default

Ralph - thanks for those questions.

I was thinking of “Creation’s towers” like “The Pillars of Creation” in the famous Hubble telescope image. They are elephant trunks of interstellar gas and dust in the Eagle Nebula.

But I suspect no reader would ever think of that, so I may change the line back to the original version:

shooting up from August showers.

Why are the indentations making the poem weaker? I remember seeing ovillejos by other poets with indentations. I assumed that was the custom. But I just saw another format, where each of the first 3 couplets are printed in couplets, and then the last 4 lines are grouped together as a quatrain. So I’ll try printing it like this:

Booms and Blooms

Our universe from a dense, hot
dot?

Astonishing phenomenon!
My lawn

is graced with greater superpowers—
with flowers

shooting up from August showers.
Great stars explode. I should be wowed.
But then I watch a common cloud
dot my lawn with flowers!

Rick - Thank you for letting me know your reaction to this little poetic exercise. I’ve experimented quite a bit with Lines 8 & 9, and then other lines, especially L1. Some readers said they like the apparent jauntiness of it. Ralph said, “I like the tidy macrocosm / microcosm comparison.” Others think the ending is not thrilling enough or it is telegraphed. Incidentally, I’ve written better ovillejos than this one (a couple of them published). So maybe I’ll just give up on this one.

When you say “a lot of your poems start with ...” I should tell you that not everything I write is science-oriented. Yet I do like to watch science videos and read about science, so naturally it gets into some (or maybe many ) of my poems.

The ovillejo is a knotty little form, and it can be difficult to get things to work just right. The word means “tight ball of yarn.” Have you tried writing one, Rick? You might find it fun.

Anyway, to answer your question about how clouds dot a lawn with flowers: when a cloud rains on the lawn, flowers sprout up. In Revision 1, I had “rains / dot the lawn with flowers.”

Thanks again, Ralph and Rick, for commenting.
Reply With Quote
  #19  
Old 09-06-2018, 12:48 AM
RCL's Avatar
RCL RCL is offline
Member
 
Join Date: Oct 2000
Location: Los Angeles, CA
Posts: 5,182
Default

The Ovillejo
by Rhina P. Espaillat

Admit you’re tempted by it:
Well, try it!
It’s full of kinks and quirks.
It works
by stealth: you steal a kiss
like this,
or steal a base—they’ll miss
the ball until you’ve stepped
to safety! It’s a plot kept
well: Try it; it works like this.

She showed us how, many years ago.
__________________
Ralph
Reply With Quote
  #20  
Old 09-06-2018, 02:33 AM
Erik Olson Erik Olson is offline
Member
 
Join Date: Apr 2015
Location: Portland, OR
Posts: 1,697
Default

Martin,

I, too, fancy what someone else, I think, has termed the jaunty tone of this poem. For my taste, however, I am afraid that the comparison of the universe's origin and your lawn’s superpowers is not really funny to me, but rather too high-flying or cartoonishly out there. I prefer when the witticisms or jests are clever as they correlate with some experiential reality or other. Whereas this sounds too much like a ludic distortion of a theory according to no experience but sheer fancy by ‘My lawn / is graced with greater superpowers.’

I questioned whether the replacement of this line is for the better: ‘shooting up from August showers.’ Having flowers ‘that trump Creation’s stellar towers.’ If I laughed from it that would be one thing; but I cannot help finding it above all curious and zany about things neither here nor there. I do not believe the end, that the speaker is not wowed by great stars exploding (sure), and that a cloud over his lawn with flowers is a greater superpower (convenient). It seems only said to construct the shape of a setup in a joke, but the joke is not funny to me. And the lawn business is too cartoony-loony for me to hear it seriously. I wish I had more positive to say about this one. I wanted to like it but, alas, this is in its own universe apart from mine so it is eccentric, inconsequential, alien, artificial, and not compelling. To say nothing of the form that smacks of an exercise to occupy the dilettante with an exotic one.

Best,
Erik

Last edited by Erik Olson; 09-06-2018 at 01:32 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: 7,932
Total Threads: 19,567
Total Posts: 252,930
There are 224 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