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  #31  
Unread 04-05-2020, 10:16 AM
Aaron Novick's Avatar
Aaron Novick Aaron Novick is offline
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Matt, I like this poem a lot until midway through line 11, but I don't think it sticks the landing. The imagery gets confused: from "name" to "paint" to "conjure". They're all different words, but they don't resonate differently in a meaningful, evocative way, at least not for me. And the last sentence feels... I dunno, pat? And unearned, maybe.
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  #32  
Unread 04-05-2020, 03:24 PM
Matt Q Matt Q is online now
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Quincy, thanks, I'm glad you liked it.

Aaron, thanks also. I'll give it some thought. There might be better than 'paint'. Not sure what I could replace 'conjure' with, but I guess I could be clearer on that.

My intention is that he can't name the contents (trees, flowers etc), so he can't 'paint a picture' of the wood in words, but he can conjure it (for himself, in his mind).

I'm imagining that he's visited this wood (in his mind) on many occasions. Perhaps the paths he's worn have been worn during those visits, or perhaps during actual visits, or perhaps both. Perhaps the wood only exists in his mind, or perhaps he's recalling a real (& small) wood. Perhaps it's even the smallest wood because it exists in his head, and vast because it exists in his head too. Perhaps not. Maybe it's vast because the paths, being circular, are endless. That sort of thing.

best,

Matt
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  #33  
Unread 04-05-2020, 06:20 PM
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Aaron Novick Aaron Novick is offline
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Part of the issue, perhaps, is that, in context, I took both "paint" and "conjure" to be reader-directed, as if he's describing what he has accomplished in the poem. And then my issue was it wasn't quite either painted or conjured (for good poetic reason).
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  #34  
Unread 04-05-2020, 11:06 PM
Mark Stone Mark Stone is offline
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Matt, I have not read all the comments. (1) I wonder about saying "wood I know" twice. If you took one of them out, you could use that space to insert more content. (2) To me it seems quite a leap at the end for the narrator to say that he/she can conjure the wood and then say that he/she is traversing its paths. It would seem more natural to say: "But I can conjure it and can traverse / its paths, its vast and gentle universe." (3) I like the assonance of "paths" and "vast." (4) A very nice poem. Mark
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  #35  
Unread 04-06-2020, 05:46 PM
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Mary Meriam Mary Meriam is offline
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Matt, R2 is almost there, but I thought Mark's idea here was good:

each tree, each trilling bird by song,
each fungus, fern and flower.


I don't think name, identify, and list are really as important as the things.

I love the voice of the poem - it speaks directly to me.

Thanks,
Mary
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  #36  
Unread 04-09-2020, 02:37 AM
Matt Q Matt Q is online now
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Aaron, Mark, Mary,

Many thanks for this. I've posted another revision.

Aaron,

Thanks for coming back and making me think about this.

I see the problem with 'conjure'. Yes, it's open to being read as saying: I can't name things accurately, but I can still make you see it use using words. And then "I'd paint it wrong (using names)" might imply "I could paint it right (for you) by conjuring it.".

Actually, on reflection, I think the problem is less with the word 'conjure', but with the idea that his difficulty in describing the wood is one of a lack of vocabulary -- that if he had the right words he could paint it right. So I've gone with:

each tree, each trilling bird by song,
each secret flower and fern. But to my shame
I donít. Yet even then I'd paint it wrong.
But I can conjure it. And I traverse

Which hopefully rules out that meaning of 'conjure'. I'm not sure. I guess it could be read as the N's inadequacy (e.g. even with the right words, I'm useless). But I think this is the right direction to go in.

Mark

With "I traverse ..." as the general case; something like, because I can conjure it, I am someone who traverses these paths, rather than the specific I am now traversing these paths. I'm wondering if this is clearer now that it's (hopefully) clearer what 'conjure' means.

Mary

Something about the 'each' version Mark suggested seemed slightly off/awkward when I first read it, but rereading it I'm having less of an issue with it.

Actually, I think one issue I had is an issue that's there for both versions: the ability to identify birds by song is less about having the vocabulary than knowledge (even if knew all the names I still wouldn't be able to match the songs to the birds). Anyway I've gone with his version for now. There may be still something better than both.

Thanks again, all.

Matt
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