Poetics and Poetry Discussion

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Alice Vedral Rivera Alice Vedral Rivera Female, 65, United States (6/15/2013 12:10:00 PM)

JC - here is a poem where I purposely used cliches. Albeit it is not my best but I was going for a certain effect.


My flame lights your torch
So you fuel my fire
My being needs your touch
So you fill my desire

As bodies connect
Our spirits - they soar
As we intersect
Our hearts cry for more

We revel in the beauty of the moment
for the moment is all we have

Obsessed and addicted
Spinning out of control
Our worlds are affected
Until they are no more

Seekers of salvation
We speak words of love
Afraid of damnation
From forces above

We are tossed into waters of oblivion
for oblivion is our only hope

We run from ourselves
We run to each other
Like babes in the woods
Seeking their mother

Living we mimic
Playing the same tunes
Manic in panic
We've made our own tombs

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  • Freshman - 837 Points Lamont Palmer (6/15/2013 4:55:00 PM) Post reply | Read 2 replies
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    For three years you lived in your house
    just as it was before she died: your wedding
    portrait on the mantel, her clothes hanging
    in the closet, her hair still on the brush.
    You have told me you gave it all away
    then, sold the house, keeping only the confirmation
    cross she wore, her name in cursive chased
    on the gold underside, your ring in the same

    box, those photographs you still avoid,
    and the quilt you spread on your borrowed bed -
    small things. Months after we met, you told me she had
    made it, after we had slept already beneath its loft
    and thinning, raveled pattern, as though beneath
    her shadow, moving with us, that dark, that soft.

    Claudia Emerson


    This is a fine contemporary poem, written with meter and freshness. One needn't throw the baby out with the bath water to have a modern sound. In my humblest opinion, if you want to write poems that will have a shot at lasting long after you're dead, lean toward the masters. -LP

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    • Freshman - 837 Points Jefferson Carter (6/15/2013 7:58:00 PM) Post reply

      Monty, this is pretty good, nothing special about the catalogue of things but a clear movement line to line. I don't get a sense of meter. It's not very iambic-y.

    • Freshman - 837 Points Alice Vedral Rivera (6/15/2013 6:21:00 PM) Post reply

      Lamont, thanks for posting this poem by Claudia Emerson. I really enjoyed reading it.

  • Freshman - 837 Points Lamont Palmer (6/15/2013 4:36:00 PM) Post reply | Read 1 reply

    I would differ with JC here a bit. While writing sonnets and villanelles is no longer necessary, (yes, rhyme will never come back, it just sounds too lilting and unnatural to the modern ear) learning to write a tighter, more cadenced form of free verse will give your work a certain polish and set it apart, in a good way, from what is the standard American poem today. The Bukowski/Brautigan/Giovanni type of poem has been exhausted (i.e. poems that seem like dashed-off emails) despite still being written. Poets are returning to rhythm and a SENSE of meter, as in the work of Campbell MacGrath and Claudia Emerson. Emerson does write sonnets often; doing something fresh with them is not 'anachronistic' but shows skill. There's nothing wrong with looking skillful. The one thing that JC and I do agree on completely is originality; you MUST learn to appreciate and write fresh poetry. Cliches, unless used in an ironic way, won't work, not if you're interested in actually publishing. The best poets to read and absorb to break up the cliche habit: Ashbery, O'Hara, Merrill, Jorie Graham, Charles Tomlinson, Keith Waldron, Mary Jo Bang: poets who put their focus chiefly on evocative language and imagery. But in the end, I suppose a poet has to write the poetry that pleases him the most, that fulfills him creatively, whether that poetry is competent, or utter doggerel. The advice that JC and I impart is really for serious poets, writers who want to publish and, perhaps, be noticed critically.

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    • Freshman - 837 Points Alice Vedral Rivera (6/15/2013 6:27:00 PM) Post reply

      Addicted was actually written in 1998. I put it up to get a discussion going as well as criticism helpful to others and to me as well. It's a bit disconcerting not to be able to interact in 'real' t ... more

  • Freshman - 644 Points Jefferson Carter (6/15/2013 2:07:00 PM) Post reply | Read 1 reply

    Alice, I suppose those cliches —babes in the woods, waters of oblivion—would be all right if you somehow re-vitalized them, gave them a new context, played with their sound, until the cliches themselves are re-born as something original. Hard to do. I tried it once with the advertising cliche " a school for famous writers, " changing it to " a school for famous readers, " which I liked a lot. Here's the barrier to your improving as a living, breathing contemporary poet: Your addiction to rhyme and meter. There are a few masters of formal poetry still left (Richard Howard, Anthony Hecht) , but formal verse will never return as a predominant or even minor type of poetry. If you're really skilled formally (and you're not, you lose a line's meter too often) you might be read as a mildly entertaining formal poet, an anachronism who's ignored the last 60 years of American poetry and poetics. Rhyme is DEAD! Meter needs to be handled with careful subtlety. If you could focus on similes, figures of speech, diction, surprising content, (and FORGET rhyme and meter) , breaking lines where they sound best, you might just improve some. Oh, I do like the sound of " manic in panic...."

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    • Freshman - 644 Points Alice Vedral Rivera (6/15/2013 4:52:00 PM) Post reply

      This is a good critique of a poem I wrote in 1998. I don't agree with everything you say, but I get your point and the critique of this poem is helpful.

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