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 Blackness in a paper bag.
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Passions in Poetry

Blackness in a paper bag.

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freeand2sexy
Senior Member
since 09-12-2008
Posts 703
CA, USA


0 posted 08-23-2009 01:23 AM       View Profile for freeand2sexy   Email freeand2sexy   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to Submit your Poem to Passions   Click to visit freeand2sexy's Home Page   View IP for freeand2sexy


Inside this paper bag,
There's blackness
That I call sky,
And the many holes,
Poked with a pencil,
Called stars.

It's my universe, inside,
Where night is always
But darkness, never.
It's black,
But I only see light.

I feel safety,
Comfort,
But from the outside
There's fear.
They see ignorance,
A coward,
Though maybe they're blind,
Unable to imagine
What's beyond the market's logo,
And the triple thank yous


Or could they be right?
Safety alone isn't happiness.
I don't know!
But for those
Who try to tell me the truth,
I hope they read,
The,

Thank You
Thank You
Thank You

Now Stop Judging Me
(in small print)



The hardest part about writing poetry,
is trying not to write like everyone else.
© Copyright 2009 Christine Juarez - All Rights Reserved
Bob K
Member Elite
since 11-03-2007
Posts 3860


1 posted 08-25-2009 01:28 AM       View Profile for Bob K   Email Bob K   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Bob K

Dear F&2S,

     This poem is explicitly about not being judged, so it makes offering feedback a bit thorny.  You're generally receptive, though, so I thought I give it a shot.  As usual, the first thing I need to say is that you have a lot of talent, and the more you keep writing, the more likely you'll improve, simply by going through the process.

     Do listen to people who stop at telling you that you're good.  If you're good, there's a reason for it, and they should be able to specify what it is if they're serious about the comment.  If they're critical, they should be able to specify as well, and the change they suggest should offer you at least something to think about.  It's even better if it offers you a change that you can see as an improvement yourself, so you can see where the improvement actually comes from.

     In practical terms, those are the differences between "judging somebody" and "offering feedback."  What I trying here is feedback.

     Let's look at stanza one:

Inside this paper bag,
There's blackness
That I call sky,
And the many holes,
Poked with a pencil,
Called stars.

     Poems work better in the active voice.  Most of this stanza is in the passive voice, so there is little sense of things actually happening.  When you shift from the passive voice to the active voice, it demands that you specify the relationships between things more fully and that you use active verbs.  In you first stanza here, you have left a lot murky about the sky and the blackness and the bag.  You have a very interesting set of possibilities, but until you come to grips with where the speaker is standing so that she can see a whole sky inside a bag, then the job is incomplete.  I can't visualize the relationship that makes this possible.

I've placed the darkness
of the night sky
inside the Kroger bag.
I call the pencil holes
I've poked through
the southern cross
and the little dipper.

     I don't claim I've done better, here, but what I've done is used active verbs in the active mode, and reasonably pallid verbs at that.  You could certainly improve on the a great deal.  I've also gone more specific in those places where I thought I could.  "Kroger" doesn't feature the details of your special bag, of course.  And I've picked constellations instead of stars.  I'm simply trying to show what happens when you shift from passive to active and from general to more specific.

     Let's have a looks at stanza two.

     You've done a pretty nifty and creative thing here.  You've contradicted yourself in some very interesting ways.  I'd suggest that you do it even a bit more obviously.  After the longer sentences in the first stanza, why not change up here and try some shorter ones to keep yourself and your readers on your toes.  How about


It's my universe, inside.
Night is always,
But darkness, never.
It's black;
I only see light.

     Punctuation can be a bear sometimes.  I suggest you take the same stanza, one you're reasonably familiar with, and try punctuating it a couple of different ways.  Try the stanza above, if you want.  You should find that the punctuation will make a difference in the way the lines and part lines flow into each other, and the kind of sense the stanza makes.  It works better to try this sort of thing by reading it out loud.  Try it out on other pieces of poetry you know and admire, or know and dislike.

     My reading of the poem says that your poem ends in the next stanza, right after the word logo in the next to the last line.  The fancy way of saying that is the penultimate line.  Pen, like the ballpoint of gel-pen you may write with sometimes, and ultimate like the regular word ultimate:  penultimate.

     The passive voice makes an appearance again.  I understand that it's you talking or at least "the speaker," which is the person in the poem who does the talking.  In this case "the speaker" is using "I," and is easily confused with you, and may even be you.  

"But from the outside," says the speaker,
There's fear.

     These two lines raise some problems.  We know what you're feeling.  But who are these people that are looking at the speaker from the outside?  You've brought in a whole set of characters here, smuggled them in, as it were, without understanding that you're readers don't have a familiarity with the inside of your head.  You know who they are; we don't.  If you want to keep us along for the poem, then you're going to need to find a way of letting us know just enough to keep us oriented without distracting from the gathering momentum of the poem, which is now very close to the end.  

     We know that these others are total dorks, because we can see what you imagine them thinking of you, and from what we've seen of you in the poem so far, they are unable to see you in a whole way.  They see you only as those folks who hate unthinkingly see things, not as people who see both good and evil see things.  And it's clear that whatever flaws you may have, your talent and compassion and insight save you from being terrible.  

   The grammar of getting from passive to active are a problem through several of those later lines, and they need some work to make them pull their weight.  I think you can manage to do that if you talk the problem over with friends this is, if you agree that there is a problem there.  You may disagree, and I would not have you take what I say as being true simply because I say it.

     I would cut the word "What's" from the line "What's beyond the market's logo," and end it there.

I feel safety,
Comfort,
But from the outside
There's fear.
They see ignorance,
A coward,
Though maybe they're blind,
Unable to imagine
What's beyond the market's logo.

     The material that comes after seems to be trying to undo the power of what you've generated beforehand, and you give the impression of wanting to say you're sorry for having said something with power and grace to it.  I wouldn't.  Simply pat yourself on the back.  Then keep writing.  Get some other thoughts on the matter, from Rob for example, or from whichever other poets here you trust.  

And thank you for allowing me to see this rich piece.

Sincerely, Bob Kaven

freeand2sexy
Senior Member
since 09-12-2008
Posts 703
CA, USA


2 posted 08-26-2009 01:32 PM       View Profile for freeand2sexy   Email freeand2sexy   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit freeand2sexy's Home Page   View IP for freeand2sexy

Wow! Thanks for your feedback, it's very helpful and it all made so much sence. I'll keep what you wrote in mind when I write my next poem, I don't think I'll revise this one.

The hardest part about writing poetry,
is trying not to write like everyone else.

Bob K
Member Elite
since 11-03-2007
Posts 3860


3 posted 08-26-2009 05:32 PM       View Profile for Bob K   Email Bob K   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Bob K



Cool.
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