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Unread 01-13-2021, 06:32 PM
Katie Hoerth's Avatar
Katie Hoerth Katie Hoerth is offline
Join Date: May 2011
Location: Beaumont, Texas
Posts: 589

Hi S.R,

I like this a lot. The idea of a virtual "Sermon on the Mount" is compelling, a kind of clash of futurism and the Biblical. Very ambitious, and well executed, too. I like the title as it is. I don't need a literal connection--it feels like more of a suggestion and a pointing to Jesus' sermons. You could shorten it to "The Virtual Mount" as it becomes pretty clear that it's a sermon from the opening lines, but I think it's fine as it is. My favorite moments are "meek as clay" and "come here it like a stranger's heartbeat." Really wonderful associations in both metaphors.
I get a little lost with the stars being compared to "faithful junkies" but it didn't take away from my overall enjoyment of the imagery and rhythm of the poem.
It's probably me, but I hate the word "zephyrs" just because it's so overused in poetry. It fits in the context of this piece, but it still jars me and makes me think of my students' early poems!
Looking forward to reading more of your work.
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Unread 01-14-2021, 02:42 PM
Jane Crowson's Avatar
Jane Crowson Jane Crowson is offline
Join Date: Oct 2018
Location: UK
Posts: 245


I enjoy the visual qualities of this, and how these progress through the poem, moving from (in my reading) a hyper-real idealised landscape through to jaded simulacra. In this, for me, the poem evokes the digital space in various ways, moving from a space of idealism, through to a space of escapism and, in S3, commerce and entrapment.

I read the narrative voice as that of the game-universe calling the players in to this half-real landscape with its filmic cliche and vibrant images (and direct visual reference to Twitter?)

I love ‘zephyrs slither’ in S2, the juxtaposition of fluffy cliche and ‘slither’ and I think the various unrealities in the description work. S2 ends with the poem pointing out that this is a landscape of addictive social media in the final two lines.

In my reading, the particular digital spaces here are fairly aggregated. The poem is a counter-narrative to the idea of digital space in general rather than in particular. I can read hints of gaming at the start, then the twitter reference, then the ‘like’/‘view’, which could be many platforms.

It’s interesting, too, that it doesn’t compare these various digital spaces with the physical space - it doesn’t talk of how perhaps the real, flawed real works in a different way to these coded, crafted representations of real, or tell us ‘why’, perhaps, this illusion is a strange and perhaps dehumanising although it portrays it as dehumanising very effectively. This makes me wonder if it’s part of a wider body of work.

I think in revising I’d consider bringing more colour in to S3 (maybe use colour contrast, with the red revisited, or some kind of colour that shows the ‘faux’ - gilt, glitter, diamante?). It’s one of the strengths of S1 and S2, and S3 has sound (the heartbeat) which works well, but the rest of the writing reads to me largely as explanatory. I miss the strong ‘showing’ of the overarching concept that occurs in S1 and S2.

It is great to read your work and I’ve very much enjoyed reading and thinking about this (I also agree with you about the digital, in many ways).

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Unread 01-26-2021, 09:00 PM
S.R. Little Stone's Avatar
S.R. Little Stone S.R. Little Stone is offline
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Join Date: Dec 2020
Location: Staunton, VA
Posts: 37

Thanks to everyone who commented on this. I've been trying to decide how/whether to revise the third stanza and at this point haven't come up with any significant revision that I prefer.

Julie -- Yes, you're right about "birds of the air" and "lilies of the field". My approach to the Bible is kind of lax and personalized (which wouldn't excuse such mix-ups in an academic or religious debate). I tend to focus on the messages that resonate me and remember approximately the details.

RCL -- Thank you. I've shortened the title some.

Aaron -- I have trouble with the didacticism in the third stanza too. Part of me wants to revise it, but I have so many poems that keep the message under covers that I want to pardon this one. Do you think the didacticism is justified at all by the fact that the speaker is a virtual reality Jesus figure? I'm still on the fence. The images in 1 and 2 are set in VR (hence the idealized setting and tone) not the real outdoor world.

Allen -- Thank you for the input.

Katie -- Thanks for the input. In the line about faithful junkies, I changed "those" to "for", because I think it retains some of the same meaning and may be a little less confusing.

Jane -- Thank you for your thorough reading and response. The whole poem is meant to be set in a VR landscape, though yes, there is meant to be a progression from the apparent ideal to the shadows lurking in the "ideal". Your comment about the real world that inspires the virtual world is good food for thought! I will keep thinking about S3 and how I might be able to add more color and concrete imagery.

I am thinking of this poem as part of a longer collection of poems set in proposed virtual worlds. I do intend to include social commentary that is challenging of VR, social media, marketing, and humanity's reliance on technology in general. I'm drawn to philosophies like anarcho-primitivism and re-wilding and prefer to hang out with groups who are putting such ideals into practice.
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Unread 01-27-2021, 03:51 AM
Kevin Rainbow's Avatar
Kevin Rainbow Kevin Rainbow is offline
Join Date: Jan 2014
Location: Regina, SK; Canada
Posts: 348

This is not bad.


for faithful junkies seeking cred:
another Like, another View.
"Junkies" "Cred" "Like" "View" - these words don't seem compatible with the style/tone of wording before and after them. I would try to find a way to say something similar but without specifically using those words.

Also, after so much build-up ("come to me...come to me...come to me") it feels like it needs more of a follow-through/conclusion. All we get is the last four lines, it seems. And those lines are effective, but feel like a hurried ending to what comes before them.

Definitely a good idea for a poem and worth developing more.
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Unread 01-27-2021, 01:39 PM
Jesse Anger Jesse Anger is offline
Join Date: Dec 2010
Location: Montreal, Quebec, Canada.
Posts: 1,141

Originally Posted by Kevin Rainbow View Post
This is not bad.


"Junkies" "Cred" "Like" "View" - these words don't seem compatible with the style/tone of wording before and after them. I would try to find a way to say something similar but without specifically using those words.

imo this contemporary idiom works precisely because it is not in keeping with the other language in the poem. If the writing weren't so tight already I'd suggest adding even more internet speak.

I like the poem a lot, it's smooth and creates the feeling that I'm in good hands. That's hard to do. I would change both "ohs" to "O" though.

Nice piece -

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