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Old 03-03-2008, 10:54 AM #1
Sir Raph
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Poetry Workshop

I've noticed that there are quite a few readers and writers on the 'nation.
I thought we might try a writer's workshop, and, since poetry is relatively brief, it seems to lend itself to an online forum.

So, post your poetry here if you wish to hear other's opinions, and wish to improve your abilities.

Critique other's poetry in a constructive way.
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Old 03-03-2008, 10:59 AM #2
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I'll get things rolling:


Icewalking

flatfooted sneaking over
frictionless stairways ice
coatless Mitten
less salty side
walks

footprints onetwothreefourfivesix
streak__________________JEEZUS!
snowangel
foolish tourist your style is weak

ice driving all terrain
blizzard elementary bus stops waiting
childs play

techniques left
handed down
Michigander Ninjitsu
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Old 03-03-2008, 01:46 PM #3
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I guess... I'l put one up.


Phoenix diary

I threw those pages in the fire
To forget who I had been.
I'd never lost myself before
I'd never fought in such a war
Where I left myself for dead.

Lined pages in a simple write
These words that measured out my life
An ideal that became defiled
A nightmare from a dream.

Every page a face; a friend
Bare flames feather in the wind
They burn away, as did the past
As I hold to now and betray then
Every name becomes the last
While I turned back the end

The sky is white, the wind is cold
In this empty field with one ashen hole.
I looked around, I was alone.
A secret isn't locked away until the memory is dead.

The fire eats away the truth
Silence grinds away my youth
I buried it all, it was all I could do
And I was new again.
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Old 03-03-2008, 04:06 PM #4
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Sweet. I could always use some help with poetry (writing music for band, etc.).
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Old 03-03-2008, 07:19 PM #5
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This was a ***** to write. Every word begins with the succeeding letter of the alphabet, hence the somewhat stilted rhythm.

Nova
A blinding corona
Detonates,

Ejecting flame.
Gases haphazardly ignite,

Juxtaposing kaolin-like mists.
Nuclear outbursts
Pr嶰ising quantum.

Rampant seething torrents,
Unimaginable vibrance.

Wild xerotic
Yellow zenith.
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Old 03-04-2008, 07:42 AM #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Topazbullet View Post
Nova
I'll be honest, I've always disliked Abcedarians and poems with extremely rigid form.
It seems that the vast majority of poems with strict meter or form end up falling victim to it. Like with rhyme, for example. People are forced to use a word which is less-than-perfect just to stay in line with the rhyme scheme. That's a tragic sacrifice, in my opinion.

The word choice here is obviously carefully done. The theme of the sun and explosion and light and heat is kept throughout the poem. Yet, due to the difficulty of even holding a consistent theme throughout an Abcedarian, you're unable to do anything more than beautiful description. Having said that, the word choice is really nice.

Nova worked for me on an aesthetic level. My favorite stanza being the last.

Quote:
Wild xerotic
Yellow zenith.
That's a sexy stanza. I had to break out dictionary.com for xerotic. I'm still not sure of how it fits the poem, but I like it there. The meter is what wins this stanza for me.

I don't think you could have done much more with your choice of indentation/enjambment. I think it works the way it is.

My only suggestions for revision are the capitalization and the punctuation. It's totally personal taste, but I don't feel that capitalizing the beginning of each line does anything for this particular poem. You might leave it all lowercase. And the punctuation makes me automatically look for a proper sentence, and in the fourth stanza, it's not.

My favorite poem I've read on the 'nation so far.
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Old 03-04-2008, 07:57 AM #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by IceMob View Post
Phoenix diary
I like the title. Title's are always difficult to nail. I think this title does both things that a good title should: get the reader interested, and say something about the poem. I would only suggest that you capitalize "diary".

I do think that the poem is drawn out longer than need be. That is, it's a little thin on content. You could erase the entire middle of the poem and it would say the same thing:

Quote:
I threw those pages in the fire
To forget who I had been.

[...]

I buried it all, it was all I could do
And I was new again.
I think that's actually a complete poem. That would work by itself.

I understand more than most, the difficulties of erasing pieces of a poem that you're proud of, (my prof called it "killing your babies for the good of the village"). You certainly put some effort into the wording. If there's more to the story/message than what is said in the first 2 and last 2 lines, then the poem could certainly be longer.
But as it is, those 4 lines hold the meat of the poem, and the center is fluff. It's a fluff sandwich with whole wheat bread. (I like whole wheat bread.)
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Old 03-04-2008, 08:02 AM #8
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imyourfriend, I really like the (poem?) in your sig.

If you wrote it, I'm looking forward to seeing your poetry.
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Old 03-04-2008, 11:16 AM #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Sir Raph View Post
I like the title. Title's are always difficult to nail. I think this title does both things that a good title should: get the reader interested, and say something about the poem. I would only suggest that you capitalize "diary".

I do think that the poem is drawn out longer than need be. That is, it's a little thin on content. You could erase the entire middle of the poem and it would say the same thing:



I think that's actually a complete poem. That would work by itself.

I understand more than most, the difficulties of erasing pieces of a poem that you're proud of, (my prof called it "killing your babies for the good of the village"). You certainly put some effort into the wording. If there's more to the story/message than what is said in the first 2 and last 2 lines, then the poem could certainly be longer.
But as it is, those 4 lines hold the meat of the poem, and the center is fluff. It's a fluff sandwich with whole wheat bread. (I like whole wheat bread.)
Yeah, you're probably right. The thing is that I write poetry in the way that I write song, so it gets more drawn out than necessary. I could see how a lot of the fluff could be omitted, but I would have to keep the part
"The sky is white, the wind is cold
In this empty field with one ashen hole.
I looked around, I was alone.
A secret isn't locked away until the memory is dead"

, or at least the first 3 lines. That is the image I want to convey to the reader. Thanks a lot for the insight though, I've never given poetry for critique as I follow a rigid math/science curriculum.
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Old 03-04-2008, 01:02 PM #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by IceMob View Post
"The sky is white, the wind is cold
In this empty field with one ashen hole.
I looked around, I was alone.
A secret isn't locked away until the memory is dead"
I'll be honest, I sort of breezed past this stanza my first couple times through. Now that I'm looking at it, I think that's a relatively strong stanza. The most interesting line, to me, is the second:

"In this empty field with one ashen hole."

The first reason I like this line is because it gives the poem a setting. It gives the poem some ground to stand on, so to speak, an anchor for the reader, whereas the rest of the poem is floating around in thought.
I also think that the language is strong in this line. "Empty" maybe being the weakest word in the line. The "ashen hole" is really interesting to me, it's instantly intriguing. I think, "fire pit?", "smoking?", "is this where he burned this diary? And then is it real and not metaphor?". However, as it sits, that's about as far as I can go. It's impossible to really decide what this field or this ashen hole is. And that feels frustrating.

If you could focus on this setting, this image for the entirety of the poem, and then use that title to tell the reader what it is you're talking about, I think it could be rock-solid.

Lastly, I would question the use of rhyme. I understand that, as a song writer, you're used to rhyme. However, it makes your job as a poet, of selecting exactly the right word, every time, especially at the end of each line, very very difficult.

Reinforcing what I said before, that 'ashen hole in an empty field' image is killer, and I think it could be the basis for a really beautiful poem.
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Old 03-04-2008, 01:07 PM #11
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Keeping with the rhyming theme, I'll post another poem of my own. It's just about the only one I've kept that rhymes or follows any sort of meter.



Fickle Muse

Fickle faerie parachutes drift
Into pan嶮 view,
Frozen lace of lake and tear
Dissolving undershoe,
Or pile into blanket graves,
Carv嶮 into fortress caves,
Or ball嶮 ammunition stays,
Or frost as fickle muse.


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Old 03-04-2008, 04:28 PM #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Sir Raph View Post
That's a sexy stanza. I had to break out dictionary.com for xerotic. I'm still not sure of how it fits the poem, but I like it there. The meter is what wins this stanza for me.

I don't think you could have done much more with your choice of indentation/enjambment. I think it works the way it is.

My only suggestions for revision are the capitalization and the punctuation. It's totally personal taste, but I don't feel that capitalizing the beginning of each line does anything for this particular poem. You might leave it all lowercase. And the punctuation makes me automatically look for a proper sentence, and in the fourth stanza, it's not.
Thanks for the input. I had to look up xerotic myself, just 'cause I needed an 'x'-word, and it worked in the sense of "dry." I didn't see the medical association, so I guess it made more sense to me in terms of an intense heat rather than a medical condition

Fixed up the caps

Nova
A blinding corona
detonates,

ejecting flame.
Gases haphazardly ignite,

juxtaposing kaolin-like mists.
Nuclear outbursts
pr嶰ising quantum.

Rampant seething torrents,
unimaginable vibrance.

Wild xerotic
yellow zenith.
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Old 03-04-2008, 09:36 PM #13
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this isn't much, cause it was written for school:

I miss the strong feeling,
Of the powerful cloud ceiling,
Always told I was being surveyed,
and that I always needed to be afraid,
Guarded by something no one understands,
but held down by cumbersome demands,
punishment was always being waved in front of me,
unless I got on my knees and started to plea,
but after 11 years of trust and belief,
my faith shook lose from the tree like a leaf,
I slowly fell to ground,
finally discovering how the world goes round
As Nietzsche said
God is dead
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Old 03-05-2008, 01:34 AM #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Sir Raph View Post
I'll get things rolling:


Icewalking

flatfooted sneaking over
frictionless stairways ice
coatless Mitten
less salty side
walks

footprints onetwothreefourfivesix
streak__________________JEEZUS!
snowangel
foolish tourist your style is weak

ice driving all terrain
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childs play

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You've obviously got your word economy down to a t, but I can't really seem to get into your piece, I guess it feels too disjointed. I guess I'm just in the court that poetry should either have meaning, in which case the piece itself does not need to be as unified, but if you are trying to tell a story like you are here, I feel like the piece either needs extremely strong imagery or to have a character of some kind we can connect with. I think with a story like this your subtlety gets the best of you.
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Old 03-05-2008, 01:35 AM #15
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These Nights

drunk, alone
in a room full of strangers,
all becoming friends.

toxic smiles
of transparent patrons
teach me new names,

but I’ve forgotten too much
to remember much
of anything.

It seems like yesterday, already.
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Old 03-05-2008, 02:29 PM #16
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Haha, I wrote a poem just like that once during my senior year at Auburn, too funny...

Through the Days

Through the days I walked
On my own I fought
And the nights so long
Spent alone

This is all I know
When the cold wind blows
On my back
As I walk away

I walked on to the place
Where I felt so remade
And there I saw
What I thought I'd lost

Through the days and the night
They won't let me by your side
And then I'll say so
And I will let you go
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Old 03-05-2008, 02:47 PM #17
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Ok so over the summer I heard a radio advertisement for a free xbox. Later that night, wildly stoned, I came home and decided to try and get one. Turns out it was one of those "sign up for 3 promotions and receive your xbox." So, bored, I decided to try one of them, which was to write a poem and submit it to poetry.com for a chance to win some $$. So I wrote this poem (remember, maddddd stoned) and forgot about it. Now when I read it, I can't decide if it's idiotic or what..give me your opinion. Also, I have been published for poetry before in an anthology and I also have a poem in a holocaust museum. I dont feel this is one of my better ones, but without further ado:
Quote:
In the emptiest spot of sky
Alone amongst midnight hues
The absence of light past the view of your eye
Burns the glowing torch of nightly truths
The darkest star of the furthest reaches
Far from standstill traffic
And white sand beaches
An anchor of energy
Beyond our grasp
A remembrance of our mortality
Distance is only a measure of time
The Dark Star is infinitely far
And yet we only have a short path to follow

Put it in perspective.
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Old 03-05-2008, 05:33 PM #18
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So I rarely participate in poetic discourse, but every once in a while I feel like a poem can best encompass what I'm feeling. That said, I usually am not keen on tricky slights of language or peculiar writing; it's more about the meaning.

Bliss

The Sun gleaned on my back
the presence of its radiance
unmistakable.
The sensual warmth
of its kind fingers
misleading.

I think.
I remember.
I love. But more so
I hate

the majesty of nature
its unhesitating kindness.
its darkest traces illuminated
before my ignorant eyes.
beauty conceived in a moment
lost in a moment

this light, this light!
resounding only in the
absence of what awaits
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Old 03-05-2008, 10:09 PM #19
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mps2216 View Post
So I rarely participate in poetic discourse, but every once in a while I feel like a poem can best encompass what I'm feeling. That said, I usually am not keen on tricky slights of language or peculiar writing; it's more about the meaning.

Bliss

The Sun gleaned on my back
the presence of its radiance
unmistakable.
The sensual warmth
of its kind fingers
misleading.

I think.
I remember.
I love. But more so
I hate

the majesty of nature
its unhesitating kindness.
its darkest traces illuminated
before my ignorant eyes.
beauty conceived in a moment
lost in a moment

this light, this light!
resounding only in the
absence of what awaits


the only problem is that you stop the one word lines in the third stanza, which isnt even that much of a problem
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Old 03-06-2008, 11:09 PM #20
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Andy Warhol's Banana
Look at you;
Yellow and Brown,
Slightly curved,
Slowly ripened in the sun,
Tough skin,
Soft inside,
Plucked from a tree,
When you were green,
Shipped across the world,
Just for me,
I try to capture texture
Spend hours on the right yellow
I move my brush in your general shape,
After hours of labor,
completion is near,
You will always be:
Andy Warhol's Banana


Incase you know nothing about modern art
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Old 03-07-2008, 07:53 AM #21
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mps2216 View Post
Bliss
After a couple readings, this piece seems to me to be a simple one.
You're certainly not--as you mentioned you disliked to do--over wordy or "tricky" in your language. I take it to be a simple monologue on the feelings the author faces while around nature.

Quote:
The Sun gleaned on my back
the presence of its radiance
unmistakable.
The sensual warmth
of its kind fingers
misleading.
The first stanza is the strongest to me. We get a definite image, (though I feel it's kind of cheap to capitalize "sun". The enjambment is interesting in the first two lines. The first enjamb I feel, is accidentally creative. By cutting the line at "back", you actually put the word "back" at the "back" of the line. I say accidental because you expressed that you don't like to be tricky with language, and I, for some reason, interpreted this as tricky. The single-word third line works well to set a tone and highlight the word. "Unmistakable" to me, makes me think of the author's previous relationship with the sun. Then, this "sensual" "fingers" image gives me an interesting feeling of sexual/romantic relationship. If this was intended, I think it's incongruous with the rest of the poem. The word "gleaned" in the first line makes me think of the author's back being sweat-covered. So I get a feeling of manual labor that I don't think is intended.

Quote:
I think.
I remember.
I love. But more so
I hate
This is the first idea we really get that the author has mixed feelings about nature. We don't know why at this point, and I instantly am curious as to why. The single sentence lines draw my eye to this stanza at first glance, so I assume its importance. If this idea of love/fascination/misunderstanding/hate with nature is most important to the piece, then this stanza, in my opinion, deserves more attention. As it is, the only line I really take away from this stanza is "I hate". We already know the author/speaker is thinking and remembering nature/the sun. We know he loves it from the first stanza. The hate is what is interesting. I suddenly expect that the reason the author hates will be disclosed soon, and explicitely.

Quote:
the majesty of nature
its unhesitating kindness.
its darkest traces illuminated
before my ignorant eyes.
beauty conceived in a moment
lost in a moment
I think, "majesty, okay, so now he likes it again". Then, unhesitating kindness, okay. What "darkest traces" are we talking about? Okay, "ignorant eyes", so is the speaker angry because he doesn't understand nature? Then the last two lines: okay, so the speaker is angry because he can't hold this feeling for very long? I'm not sure.

Quote:
this light, this light!
resounding only in the
absence of what awaits
Big language switch here. Shakespearian? I instantly think of that famous/cliche' line from Romeo and Juliet and think of the scene. This, I think is really the most interesting image of the poem. Romeo, outside Juliet's window, professing his love of her beauty. This connection between the "light" (on what yonder window breaks) seems to fit well with the author's profession of his solar affection (didn't mean to rhyme )
However, I'm guessing this is not intended. I'm guessing this first line is supposed to be beautiful/creative. If this is the only reason for the line, I feel it's out of place and interupts the flow of the poem.
The last two lines are confusing to me. The light resounding in absence, space? sky? What awaits, sunset? I'm not shown enough to be satisfied with any/all of the answers.
Lastly, you tend to enjamb on nouns through the poem, and then switch from time to time. I can't seem to find a pattern that stands out or improves the poem to me.

Overall, I feel confused as to what the author feels about the sun/nature, and why. And I think this is damning for a poem that seems to focus on that topic.
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