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  #21  
Old 07-16-2018, 05:35 PM
Aaron Poochigian Aaron Poochigian is offline
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Matt, I have revised the final stanza--"revue" (whether "mental" or "nightly") is out. Do you prefer "cabaret" to "revue"?

I have switched the time-setting from evening to afternoon. Does that improve the poem?

[Wait, wait: not "this evening's answer," not "this afternoon's answer," but "Insomnia's answer"]

We'll see if I can come up with another hand-oriented dance move--I don't see the lizardine creature having hands as an issue. He is the lizard king; he can do anything.

Last edited by Aaron Poochigian; 07-16-2018 at 05:40 PM.
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  #22  
Old 07-16-2018, 05:49 PM
Matt Q Matt Q is online now
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Aaron,

I guess one issue with this poem is that, as I said, I don't really know which aspect of the saurine brain is involved. I started off thinking fear/anxiety. The N replaying or anticipating events, experiencing anxiety and mocking himself it for it.

If that's what's happening, I strongly prefer "revue" because it also suggests its homonym, "review". With 'cabaret' you're largely repeating pantomime, and if the word does anything else I don't see it.

I assume the porn/sex thing is metaphor for the attraction we have to our anxious thoughts, the fantasies we play out. But if I'm wrong and it's more literal (which I don't think it is, but I've been wrong before), then maybe 'cabaret' is better, but even then maybe the revue/review thing works.

Matt

Last edited by Matt Q; 07-16-2018 at 05:54 PM.
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  #23  
Old 07-16-2018, 05:55 PM
Aaron Poochigian Aaron Poochigian is offline
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Thank you, Matt. Forgive me for not explicating my poem. I've quit Academia and don't do that any longer. I just want this to be a poem that

1.) connects with the reader
2.) is exciting
3.) is, as a whole, satisfying

Future scholars, if they wish, can tell people what it means.

I guess what I'm saying is that when I work on a poem I am groping toward a feeling, not a meaning.

I think I'm going to go for "Insanity's answer" over "Insomnia's answer."

Last edited by Aaron Poochigian; 07-16-2018 at 06:01 PM.
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  #24  
Old 07-16-2018, 11:52 PM
Aaron Poochigian Aaron Poochigian is offline
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I have posted an expanded draft of the poem to address some of Matt's concerns and my dissatisfaction with the original ending.

Please let me know what you think.

Best,

Aaron
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  #25  
Old 07-17-2018, 01:06 AM
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Ann Drysdale Ann Drysdale is offline
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I have been banjaxed from the outset by my initial impression. That this was a riff on Lewis Carroll and that the whole thing would make sense if I took the "h" out of the equation. John seemed to agree and, like him, (though in upside-down Yeats) I could not tell the dance from the dancer.

In its latest variation it feels even more like a manifestation of process, of creation, of "say-what-you-see" pushed to its limits, even though you have turned the writ(h)er into an insomniac, title-wise.
.

Last edited by Ann Drysdale; 07-17-2018 at 03:43 AM. Reason: misspelled insomniac.
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  #26  
Old 07-17-2018, 03:18 AM
John Isbell John Isbell is offline
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Hi Aaron,

Yup, I continue to like this, maybe more on reading your latest revision - though the closing line doesn't work for me, identity rhyme and all. Maybe it will grow on me. Here also is 'Willie and the Hand Jive', by Johnny Otis, which is well worth a listen:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TEeeGMpM_Nk

Cheers,
John

Update: sorry for the opening plug in the video, but I do like seeing Johnny's band.

Last edited by John Isbell; 07-17-2018 at 06:10 AM.
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  #27  
Old 07-17-2018, 07:10 AM
Matt Q Matt Q is online now
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Aaron Poochigian View Post
Thank you, Matt. Forgive me for not explicating my poem. I've quit Academia and don't do that any longer. I just want this to be a poem that

1.) connects with the reader
2.) is exciting
3.) is, as a whole, satisfying

Future scholars, if they wish, can tell people what it means.

I guess what I'm saying is that when I work on a poem I am groping toward a feeling, not a meaning.

I think I'm going to go for "Insanity's answer" over "Insomnia's answer."
Hi Aaron,

No explication required or requested. The poem, of course, needs to stand on its own. Though for me, 1&3 will often involve the attempt on my part to impose some sort of meaning: the unfolding hermeneutic process is part of the fun, for me at least. And in order to explain why I prefer one word over another, I think I'm going have to explicate the poem to some degree.

I'd also say that insofar as you're groping towards a feeling rather than a meaning, I reckon you have some idea whether that feeling is anxiety as opposed to lust, or if it's both, or something completely different, and that will inform your word choice. To be clear, I don't actually read this as about lust -- it just occurred to me that maybe this was the intention and I was the only one missing it. I hope you've not changed the ending for that reason. I really do miss: "is sexless sex with a saurian dancer." in the latest revision. It's a great line. The new closing couplet falls flat for me.

Regarding "insanity's answer": Unless you are literally talking about madness -- and perhaps you are -- I'd be inclined to drop this. If the N is insane, there's suddenly a whole lot less need for the reader to have the poem make sense, to cohere. And even the poem's not intended to do this, it's more enjoyable (for me) if I'm nonetheless trying to make sense of it, considering meanings, interpretations and coherence rather than assuming none.

Finally, I preferred "look" to "yuck". The latter rather directs the reader on how to respond.

Oh, and I'd preferred "writher" as title, because "insomniac" seems to direct the interpretation and set the scene in advance. I like that this doesn't happen with "writher".

best,

Matt

Last edited by Matt Q; 07-17-2018 at 07:36 AM.
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  #28  
Old 07-17-2018, 10:09 AM
John Isbell John Isbell is offline
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And writher, besides the pun Ann pointed out, also echoes lithe in the opening. It's a great weird title.

Cheers,
John
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  #29  
Old 07-17-2018, 11:35 AM
Aaron Poochigian Aaron Poochigian is offline
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Ann, I love your “writ(h)er” reading. Like George Washington, however, I cannot tell a lie—that was not on my mind. Still, you may have been more in tune with what was going on with me than I was. I tend to avoid the meta-poetical (because it was done to death in the 1990’s) but it no doubt comes out subconsciously. I have killed “Insomniac”—I’m not going, I think, to give any temporal or psychological framework for the poem. Your post pushed me in that direction, so thank you.

Thank you, John, for Johnny Otis and the Hand-Jive. Thanks also to you and Ann and Matt for bringing “The Writher” back as the title.

Matt, thank you. Your post has pushed me in the hermeneutic direction of the lizard dancer’s final answer: “green.” Is that a satisfying conclusion?

Yes, I fear I am on a bit of an anti-scholarly tear since leaving Academia. I think the feeling toward which I am groping is wonder/befuddlement/disgust. I think I want to keep “Yuck,” well, because I like it but also because “Look” introduces a “you” implicitly. I don’t think I want “you” the reader to be verbally indicated anywhere in the poem. There’s enough going on already.

Yes, “insanity’s answer” sucked big time.

I have gone back to “The Writher.”

Thank you, all, for spending time on this poem.

I have thoroughly revised the ending—what do we think of it now?
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  #30  
Old 07-17-2018, 12:27 PM
Aaron Poochigian Aaron Poochigian is offline
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What do you think? Do you prefer the dimeter lineation:

The Writher

Lither than ever,
the freak in my slime
is doing a clever
pantomime—
hand-jiving, rocking
its hips and behind,
making and mocking
the state of my mind.

Yuck: it has scissored
its legs now, grinned,
and, nude as a lizard,
lizard-skinned,
swiveled its shorn
and genderless crotch
my way. Such porn
is hard to watch

but what can I do?
The nudist’s whole
gonzo revue
is out of control
and behind my eyes.
What is it after?
Applause? A prize?
Uproarious laughter?

The saurian dancer,
as if in answer,
flashes green,
I mean
green
.

Last edited by Aaron Poochigian; 07-17-2018 at 03:14 PM.
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