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
  #11  
Old 08-18-2018, 05:17 PM
Martin Elster Martin Elster is offline
Member
 
Join Date: Nov 2007
Location: Connecticut, USA
Posts: 5,492
Default

Hi Aaron,

I haven’t read the other comments for the most part. So these are my initial thoughts.

I like your use of anadiplosis in the first 12 lines. It’s a neat rhetorical trick, and wouldn’t sound anywhere as good if you didn’t repeat those “words” as you did: words, letters, atoms, void, room, swerve — each of those words doubled (compounded!). There is a logical-seeming argument, a kind of story, which leads to a climax: “That is why ...” (starting L13).

That is the part of the poem that alludes specifically to entropy, loss of information (or the amount of information hidden in a system), disorder, randomness, the breaking down and mixing of matter, equilibrium, death. In other words, the second law of thermodynamics.

Quote:
The second law states that heat does not of itself pass from a cooler to a hotter body. Another, equivalent, formulation of the second law is that the entropy of a closed system can only increase.
So the words of the poem, which were kindly given by the goddess, and the goddess herself, must sooner or later perish.

The N addresses the goddess in a soothing or comforting tone of voice. He attempts to console her about her ultimate demise.

I’m not sure death is really nothing to us. That’s debatable, I suppose. In any case, this reminds me of a couple of things Einstein said:

Quote:
“I cannot imagine a God who rewards and punishes the objects of his creation, …Neither can I believe that the individual survives the death of his body, although feeble souls harbor such thoughts through fear or ridiculous egotism.
~ Albert Einstein, as quoted in his New York Times Obituary, April 19, 1955)
... and, more to the point:

On learning of the death of a lifelong friend, Einstein wrote in a March 1955 letter to his friend’s family:

Quote:
“Now he has departed from this strange world a little ahead of me. That means nothing. People like us, who believe in physics, know that the distinction between past, present, and future is only a stubbornly persistent illusion.”
It seems to me that, metrically, your lines are not all that regular.

Last edited by Martin Elster; 08-18-2018 at 05:20 PM.
Reply With Quote
  #12  
Old 08-19-2018, 10:08 AM
Aaron Novick's Avatar
Aaron Novick Aaron Novick is offline
Member
 
Join Date: Sep 2016
Location: Halifax, Nova Scotia
Posts: 1,361
Default

Woody, thanks for coming back. I think "the deathless poem" is essential. I'm riffing on the tradition of seeking immortality through poetry. The deathless poem is the aim, but let's reflect on the materials from which the deathless poem must be constructed. And this leads the N down the path of coming to comfort his (deathless, one would have thought) muse regarding her own mortality. Without the hope of deathlessness, there's no poem.

Martin, thanks for stopping by. I'm glad the poem seems to be coming through for you. You're right about the meter, though before my revision I would defend it as accentual meter (two lines tet, two lines tri). But my main concern is with the rhythm of it when spoken, and that I think works.
Reply With Quote
  #13  
Old 08-19-2018, 11:39 AM
Matt Q Matt Q is online now
Member
 
Join Date: May 2013
Location: England, UK
Posts: 2,708
Default

Hi Aaron,

I didn't find the part you've revised unclear, and preferred the original. I thought it clear that Felicity is the goddess of truth, and I like that the close is where the N turns and addresses her directly.

I do like the idea here, and particularly like the close, but overall I find it a little flat sonically. Partly I think, due the degree of repetition. L1-2 has 'word' and 'letters' twice. L5 has 'void' twice, then the "the void / the emptiness", which is repetition again. There's "swerve" followed by "swerving", 'room' twice, 'atom' three times. I'm not saying there should be no repetition, but it mounts up here I think. I think there's also some room for compression -- for example, what's said in the L1-4 could probably be said in 3 lines with no loss of meaning. The poem could perhaps be doing more with word sounds. Finally, the word choice seems rather functional. I think it's the combined effect of these things that detracts from my enjoyment of the poem: I'd like to enjoy more than idea of it.

A couple of specific points. I have difficulty hearing "me these few words" as trimeter, and the enjambment on 'may' seems weak, separating the verb from it's negation, and so wrong-footing me on the sense of it. If there's an effect there, I'm not seeing it.

Could "unpredictably" be something like "in surprising ways"?

best,

Matt
Reply With Quote
  #14  
Old 08-19-2018, 12:01 PM
Aaron Novick's Avatar
Aaron Novick Aaron Novick is offline
Member
 
Join Date: Sep 2016
Location: Halifax, Nova Scotia
Posts: 1,361
Default

Matt, thanks for the careful and appreciative read. You've convinced me to go back to the original for the ending.

I hear your point about the repetition. The effect I'm going for is of an inexorable chain of logic moving to its inevitable conclusion, and so I see the repetition as mirroring the repetition of middle terms in syllogisms. But I'll think about whether it can be done better. That'll take time, though.
Reply With Quote
  #15  
Old 08-20-2018, 01:55 PM
Martin Elster Martin Elster is offline
Member
 
Join Date: Nov 2007
Location: Connecticut, USA
Posts: 5,492
Default

As I said in my earlier post, the repetition is a rhetorical device called anadiplosis. I like the effect, but perhaps there is a bit too much of it here?
Reply With Quote
  #16  
Old 08-30-2018, 08:22 AM
Daniel Kemper's Avatar
Daniel Kemper Daniel Kemper is offline
Member
 
Join Date: Jul 2009
Location: California
Posts: 633
Default

I love this but have no time for now. (Just got back from a conference that turned out to be quite intense and the catch up on work projects proving equally so.)

Quick remark, though not a crit. "Nothingness does not exist. By definition."
Reply With Quote
  #17  
Old 09-02-2018, 03:47 PM
A. Sterling A. Sterling is offline
New Member
 
Join Date: Jun 2018
Location: East Coast, U.S.A.
Posts: 39
Default

Hi Aaron,

The thing I find most curious about this is the idea that the poem is the thing on the page. I guess it works as a conceit, in any case, but the step between the compounding swerves and the impermanence of matter could be clearer. It’s an easy step to make when you’re already familiar with the idea, but if you’re going for a syllogistic chain of thought, then there’s room for elaboration there.

In its current form, it makes a kind of emotional sense to skip over what is definitely the painful bit if you see impermanence as a problem—but I think it also makes the final assertion that death is nothing less convincing than it might otherwise be. There’s room for varying readings there, but right now, denial is one of them, and perhaps an unwanted one.

However, I note that “Felicity” means good fortune as well as happiness—and fortune means chance, and chance, presumably, means swerving atoms. That’s quite a twist! I hope I’m not just reading it into the poem because I like it a lot better than the usual arguments.
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: 7,926
Total Threads: 19,484
Total Posts: 251,757
There are 250 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