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Passions in Poetry

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moonbeam
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50 posted 03-31-2009 03:43 AM       View Profile for moonbeam   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for moonbeam

I love this thread.  This is precisely the sort of thing that would fit into any new poetry discussion forum in my view.

Bob, thanks for taking the time here, I've got a very full off-line day today and tomorrow is worse, but I'll try and make some intelligent comments this evening if I can.  Btw I hope Yanks wasn't offensive - I put it in the same category as "Brit", but now I'm wondering?  "Wasack" is colloquial northern England, Grinch?  Anyway, it essentially means pillock, or gormless idiot, or some such; perhaps gormless idiot is too pejorative as wasack as you would probably call a mate who just did a silly thing a wasack, there would be no enmity.

I too like the way Grinch has proceeded.  I'm not sure whether he's headed for an end product that would attract me or not right now, though I think his assessment of his own efforts as being a "frilly sleeved poetician trying to sound poetic and profound and failing badly" is grossly unfair.  (What you have to understand Bob is that he comes from a gritty Lancastrian town where anything not to do with clogs and cobbles is foreign, and all poncy FV poetic ideas are regarded with great suspicion ).  I tend to agree with Grinch's own assessment about disjointedness.  I suppose I err towards the conservative in a scale of FV taste, and once the images and ideas appear to be to be pulled in from nowhere, with no binding glue of any sort, then I start to feel uncomfortable.  Right now this has some high points and some other high points and in between there is either nonsense or writing that should bind but doesn't.  In other words it reads as an early FV draft, like my notes for a poem, except considerably better and more advanced than my notes ever are.

For what it's worth I rarely construct poems in this way nowadays.  I used to, and perhaps I should try again, allowing the poem to spring from a series of random building blocks.  My more planned approach doesn't seem to have done much for my writing in that last year or so, perhaps that's part of the problem.  Humm.  Food for thought.  Sorry to ramble.  

Hypatia welcome. Really good effort, enjoyed.
rwood
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51 posted 03-31-2009 08:20 AM       View Profile for rwood   Email rwood   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for rwood

In your first sample, I feel you’ve treated me to a fine objective/subjective feast of words, Grinch. From my perspective, FV is, in essence, a film reel of projected imagery and thoughts that ticker and tickle the mind. Your offering is no “snooze fest.”

You’re handling the universal themes of death & destruction, using many props, such as the “sapper’s spade” and “poppies.” You captured my interest with the poppies because they are a recurring symbol of death in writing/art. Your usage is classic and not at all cliché there. Congrats on that. Your poem is opened and closed, a bit too neatly considering its message, but? So is the reality of conditioning involved with war.  

You have a pleasing form, with which the form’s overall appeal is impressionistic mixed with the surreal, to me. (Mental base et juxtaposition, Cézanne et Dali?) I’m very visually inclined so that’s why the ref to artistes, but such holds true brush strokes with literature, in kind. Again, moving pictures, mind you, not stills, for FV.

IMO, FV’s Form relies upon fluidity instead of a structurally static positioning. (but FV is not subject to an obvious flow, due to underlying currents, as in nature)

As Serenity says. “Just talk to the page.” In doing so, use your charm, wordsmithing all parts with many of the same tools of formality. Which you’ve employed assonance, alliteration, imagery, tension and release, symbolism, internal rhyme, key references, power words, minor breaks and pauses, etc.

You are telling me something with enough literary and mental and emotional stimuli that I am moved to read, which transposes into listen, see, ponder, taste, and feel, as I move along with the words. Of course the smell of death is most horrific to me and it would be difficult to achieve such an impact with any regard to “decorum,” so not all elements are necessary for one to receive a powerfully poetic offering, thankfully.

I find that with formality, the poet expresses how beautifully blue a lover’s eyes are--coolio control. With FV, there’s little attention to control. The rhyme falls out as the poet falls in to the utter vulnerability of his pen while caught in the eyes that storm him.

With little time on my hands, I scanned the second offering and feel it’s worth more time. You certainly have solid hooks and your language is not that of a novice. Your statement about the “frilly sleeved poetician” made me laugh. It reminded me of an old Seinfeld episode:  “The Puffy Shirt.”

got to run, but this thread is fun, and I know your journey has just begun.

*bleck*

always,
reg
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52 posted 03-31-2009 09:55 PM       View Profile for Bob K   Email Bob K   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Bob K



     I've never found being a Yank offensive, myself.  Thanks for asking, though.  

     I like folks comments about Grinch's draft here.  It sounds like folks feel that there's too much space between the various exercises, and that Grinch agrees with this sense of things.

     My sense is that there are a couple of different ways to go with this, though I'd be interested in hearing about other possibilities.  One way is to try to look at the parts that seem to cohere most tightly and seem to share the most energy with each other.  

     If I were going to do that, what I'd do is I'd try throwing everything else out, and then look at the gaps left.  I'd pick some of the more interesting of the exercises from the Simmerman exercise, particularly giving preference to including new sensory images using verbs that express visual, auditory or proprioceptive communicative channels — seeing, hearing, internal muscle or organ feeling as opposed to affect/feeling.  Use these pieces to bridge places in your current text.  If you like some of them better than your current text, feel free to substitute, but the idea is to produce something with a prose-sensible plot that can be paraphrased.  It needs to be at least as clear as prose.

     Another way of proceeding is to expand on the text you have, and put in the bridges that you need to put in to make the connections between the seeming disconnects that appear in your current text to be as clear as they need to be.  Again, your idea is to have a clearly  paraphrasable text that makes sense, but whose language has a sparkle an a verve to it that is impossible to find in prose.

     Feel free to try anything else that seems to interest you or any combination.  The idea here is that you are revising for the poem, and that you are going where the poem leads you, not where you think the poem has to go.  This is a dance between you and the poem.  You are not trying to work your will upon the thing.  Allow yourself to be surprised by what your language discovers as you go.  If you discover something fabulous and it doesn't work here, put it in your notebooks, it will always have a place later.

     More than anything else, the idea is to have fun and to allow yourself to have a playful relationship with your poem and the language.  

     I'm fascinated to see where you go with this thing next.  To my mind it's already taken on many of the aspects of a living poem, and it has some places where I find it delightful.  Keep on trucking.

All my best, Bob Kaven  
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53 posted 03-31-2009 10:04 PM       View Profile for Bob K   Email Bob K   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Bob K



     I've never found being a Yank offensive, myself.  Thanks for asking, though.  

     I like folks comments about Grinch's draft here.  It sounds like folks feel that there's too much space between the various exercises, and that Grinch agrees with this sense of things.

     My sense is that there are a couple of different ways to go with this, though I'd be interested in hearing about other possibilities.  One way is to try to look at the parts that seem to cohere most tightly and seem to share the most energy with each other.  

     If I were going to do that, what I'd do is I'd try throwing everything else out, and then look at the gaps left.  I'd pick some of the more interesting of the exercises from the Simmerman exercise, particularly giving preference to including new sensory images using verbs that express visual, auditory or proprioceptive communicative channels — seeing, hearing, internal muscle or organ feeling as opposed to affect/feeling.  Use these pieces to bridge places in your current text.  If you like some of them better than your current text, feel free to substitute, but the idea is to produce something with a prose-sensible plot that can be paraphrased.  It needs to be at least as clear as prose.

     Another way of proceeding is to expand on the text you have, and put in the bridges that you need to put in to make the connections between the seeming disconnects that appear in your current text to be as clear as they need to be.  Again, your idea is to have a clearly  paraphrasable text that makes sense, but whose language has a sparkle an a verve to it that is impossible to find in prose.

     Feel free to try anything else that seems to interest you or any combination.  The idea here is that you are revising for the poem, and that you are going where the poem leads you, not where you think the poem has to go.  This is a dance between you and the poem.  You are not trying to work your will upon the thing.  Allow yourself to be surprised by what your language discovers as you go.  If you discover something fabulous and it doesn't work here, put it in your notebooks, it will always have a place later.

     More than anything else, the idea is to have fun and to allow yourself to have a playful relationship with your poem and the language.  

     I'm fascinated to see where you go with this thing next.  To my mind it's already taken on many of the aspects of a living poem, and it has some places where I find it delightful.  Keep on trucking.

All my best, Bob Kaven  

     Other people's thoughts and comments seem to have been useful and productive so far, and I urge you to keep on coming with them.  The more specific you can be with them, as you may be able to tell by now, the better use Grinch will be able to make of them.  The more specific your comments are, also, the better idea you start to develop for yourselves about what sort of moves you want to experiment with in your own revision process.  Get and Give, here; the more specific the help you can offer, the more specific an understanding you get about the moves you can try out when you do this on your own, or when you bring stuff in and want some feedback with something that you're doing.  ""Good" or "Great Read" will often be true, but unless you can say what it is that makes it a "great read" or "good," you haven't gotten any extra skill from the time you've taken to read the poem, and all you've give is some (wonderful) encouragement.

     Be more selfish, so you can learn and teach more. Learn how to make mistakes here.  This can be a good place to make them.
moonbeam
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54 posted 04-01-2009 03:08 AM       View Profile for moonbeam   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for moonbeam



quote:
Get and Give, here; the more specific the help you can offer, the more specific an understanding you get about the moves you can try out when you do this on your own

I'd like to echo that from my own experience Bob.

I don't think it can be mentioned too often.  Thanks.

Travelling today, later.
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55 posted 04-01-2009 08:20 AM       View Profile for moonbeam   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for moonbeam

Ok, I didn't have to travel after all, and I survived the ropeless bungee jump from St Gilbert's, so I have a minute to wonder if you are trying to head this towards a poem Grinch, or whether you are just playing around still apres exercise, and as Bob says, having fun.  If it's a poem then right now it hasn't got enough cohesiveness about it imo to avoid being slapped into the category I reserve for incomprehensible contemporary nonsense; if it's a draft or still an exercise then, great.  And then again I may just be incapable of switching off the part of me that craves order and neatness, because after all I'm the person who hates going anywhere near the Tate Modern.

Having said that I see some definite fingerposts here.  The opening reminded me for some reason of Billy Collins' "Introduction to Poetry", you know the one that begins "I ask them to take a poem/and hold it up to the light/like a color slide" - the poem as an object that can be explored, heard, touched, communicated with, is always an interesting beginning, and your opening two lines certainly take me in that direction, and imo the rest of the poem would benefit from being built on that opening premise.

A poem is a library;
A mahogany suit of dreams.

Did I tell you I once lived in a library?

>>>Personally, I'm not comfortable with that sudden switch.  Some people will undoubtedly like it, but it gives me that sensation where you look languidly at a view and then turn your head away slowly, only to practically crick you neck out as you swivel back fast as your brain catches up with your eyes and realises you saw something out of place.  Uncomfortable.

Where old trout forced mayflies from the stream;
shrews catching worms with razor blades.

>>>this could have followed L1-2 imo, but your tenses are all over the shop.

That was a woody sea licking at the proud

>>>Again you need some linkage imo, it's just too far fetched, and "proud" throws up one of those situations where you always read the word it should have been "prow", until the substitution just becomes annoying.

These:

> as I, dancing the tango on one leg,

>felt the sound of thunder moan,

>"a jack of knaves he worried words"

>Poems aren't libraries they're sewers

>even after the explosion of television caressed my pen like a lover

>and the word ends swam my arteries like a fish.

>Words, not science, will rule when the west wind calls.

>He said it tasted smooth like sleep

>Cold black coffee from a thimble

are all intriguing, and I could imagine might work into a poem which questioned the nature of itself (is a poem a sewer?),  and in questioning that questioned the nature of the poet "and the word ends swam my arteries like a fish".

The remainder I am struggling with.

Personally I think a dose of old fashioned Grinch would now be good for this rather than any more Mark Strand or John Ashbery.    

M
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56 posted 04-01-2009 10:37 AM       View Profile for Dark Star   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Dark Star

always try something new, and maybe you might find a new favorite
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57 posted 04-01-2009 12:36 PM       View Profile for Bob K   Email Bob K   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Bob K



Dear Grinch,

          Moonbeam's located at least nine lines that she thinks are good lines in the exercise so far.  Perhaps as many as 13 or 14.  She also notices that the tenses are all over the place; but, if you'll remember, since part of the exercise was to treat each of the 20 as a separate small individual task, that would be understandable.  I agree that the nine lines moonbeam specifies are in fact wonderful lines, and it's probably time to start thinking about tenses.  I made some suggestions for revisions and ways of thinking about revision.

     I admire the specificity that Moonbeam has offered feedback here.  This has been useful to Moonbeam, as she develops a way of looking at free verse and ways of revising it, and possibly for you as well, since she's been pretty concrete about what she's liked.  If for example Moonbeam had been able to say that the imagery or the sensory content of various lines had ben particularly striking, then the feedback might have been more useful to each of you, but moonbeam did well, and I hope you found it useful as well.  I also hope you were able to find some things that you may have disagreed with in what Moonbeam said, and are able to keep those in mind as well.

     You may, in fact not disagree with Moonbeam, of course, but it's useful to try to sharpen our sense of where we agree with folks who give us feedback AND where we disagree, because we're trying to build our own viewpoint about revision.  Sometimes, as well, after a while, something somebody tells us will make sense that it didn't at first.

     So, Grinch, what's your take on this?

     I'd also be particularly interested in what Jennifer Maxwell's got to say, if she feels comfortable offering something.

Curious as all get out, Bob Kaven
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58 posted 04-01-2009 03:48 PM       View Profile for Sunshine   Email Sunshine   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Sunshine's Home Page   View IP for Sunshine

Grinch, I started reading some of the comments, then decided just to do this:

A -  How do you write good free verse. READ SERENITY
B -   Can somebody teach me. READ SERENITY
D -   Jen told me to post this here so remember to send her the complaints. GOOD
C -  this should have gone before D. please mentally rearrange. EXACTLY.

I did see another comment from serenity before coming in here with my first thought, see above.

She's right.

But do it where you can edit your line breaks and see what it looks like because sometimes you'll find yourself repeating things unknowingly.

Which sometimes makes the free verse poem a real poem.



Don't be too antiseptic about it either.

Like serenity's FV poems, she barely uses any unguent. Sometimes she even throws away the bandaids.

Me, my free verse comes out as stories, usually...

serenity lights up the night and screens the next day with a veil normally only the enlightened might visualize.

So, read. Then read some more. Then, as serenity says, write to the page.
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59 posted 04-01-2009 04:19 PM       View Profile for moonbeam   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for moonbeam

Yes Bob you are quite right I should have explained more precisely exactly why I liked those particular lines, but I ran out of time this morning.  

Partly of course I was, as I explained, starting to get ahead of where Grinch probably is at present.  For instance, the comment about tenses was only really relevant if he had moved beyond the collection of disparate ideas stage.  Similarly I selected out the lines I did not simply because of characteristics that made those lines superior (for some of his other ideas in isolation were just as good imv), but because they fitted my emerging idea of how I might have shaped the poem.  I've always thought that trying to tell people how they should use their material is slightly dodgy, the way I look at it is that I'm absorbing Grinch's ideas and projecting them onto my own tastes and experiences and then throwing them back at him.  Selfishly, that help me, no doubt about it, but hopefully it might spark a few of his synapses too.  If not then, at the very least it's been fun trying.  I'll probably not have time to expand on the merits of the individual lines tonight, but I'll try and make time tomorrow.

I'm very grateful for the effort you are putting into this Bob.  Thanks.  Oh, I nearly forgot, one small thing, flattered as I am to be assigned that glorious gender, the Rob I've signed off with a couple of times regrettably wasn't actually a contraction of Roberta or Robina - In fact, glory be, we probably share the same name

And yes, if Jenn is around it would be great to hear from her, though I think she's quite busy at present.
...............

Karilea - are you her new agent?
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60 posted 04-01-2009 04:19 PM       View Profile for Bob K   Email Bob K   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Bob K

Dear Sunshine,

          Not a bad start, but Serenity seems to speak pretty well for herself.

     What about your comments about any of the exercises, and the order or potential revision that might help Grinch in having a new look at his stuff?  If you'd like to offer some, it might prove useful to Grinch and to yourself, both.  It might possibly prove useful to the other folks as well.  If you find this approach to writing free verse unhelpful and have something systematic or concrete to offer, please feel free to use that as well.  The idea is to offer Grinch as many concrete and useful ways of approaching this as possible without diffusing the discussion into something more theoretical that could well be followed up in another thread more productively.  

     A line or two of free verse story possibly using some of the exercise format might give Grinch and the rest of us an example  how differently two people can use the same framework to generate different material.


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61 posted 04-01-2009 04:46 PM       View Profile for Artic Wind   Email Artic Wind   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Artic Wind

I enjoy writing free verse! ~ I think that way, you can express exactly everything your thinking, not following an exact format. I think that most of your words that you want to say will flow easier and release everything you need too!


ARCTIC WIND
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62 posted 04-01-2009 05:48 PM       View Profile for Balladeer   Email Balladeer   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Balladeer's Home Page   View IP for Balladeer

I must agree with Karilea. Serenity writes free verse effortlessly in a way people who work at it for a lifetime can't match. She is a poet that can make ME applaud free verse...and vigorously. I've seen no one even close to her, with the exception of Doreen Peri.

If I wanted to write good free verse I would study how those two do it....and then still fail miserably.
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63 posted 04-01-2009 06:05 PM       View Profile for Grinch   Email Grinch   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Grinch


I’m beginning to think you’re right Mike, you can either write FV or you can’t and I obviously can’t.



Still it was fun trying.



Thanks for all the advice everyone.

.
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64 posted 04-01-2009 08:52 PM       View Profile for Sunshine   Email Sunshine   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Sunshine's Home Page   View IP for Sunshine

quote:

Just to complete the picture, I’ve
come across Koch before;
Plath and Hughes are standard reading
material for anyone
interested in poetry
so I‘ve read
and [I] own copies,
most of their poems.
Linda Gregg was new to me -
she had a feel of Auden
(stop all the clocks)
Dylan Thomas in one of
the poems I read,
can’t think of the name of it
off the top of my head.
I liked that one.


Grinch,

these are your very words.

To me, with line breaks, it makes an insightful poem, free verse style.

Moonbeam, I would have liked to have given Grinch "more" but I don't know that I'm qualified. I do what I do only for myself; and only just today caught up on this thread [I just found out Monday I'm currently without economic stimulus ] and hope to be visiting this thread more for not only updates on what Grinch might learn, but what I might learn.

I mentioned serenity as a serious free verse person to go to for some quantitative education; I might also like to mention for Grinch and any other free verse poet, our own Martie, who can wrap words into symbols that I can only appreciate more by knowing her.





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65 posted 04-01-2009 08:57 PM       View Profile for Balladeer   Email Balladeer   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Balladeer's Home Page   View IP for Balladeer

Interesting that for a rhymer like me, my favorite poem is still Daddy by Sylvia Plath. No poem in any form has ever hit me in the same way.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6hHjctqSBwM
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66 posted 04-01-2009 09:19 PM       View Profile for Sunshine   Email Sunshine   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Sunshine's Home Page   View IP for Sunshine

For those of you who asked me questions, thanks.

For those of you who are expecting an answer...

keep looking.

I'm still waiting for a muse of the likes that sits on the shoulders of those like serenity, Martie, and others are are far better than myself.

God knows I've tried structure.

I start with structure, and then some inner voice veers off this way and yet another, and then back to structure. When they come up with a term for that, it may well be called "lyrics".  In a quite unconventional sense, I'm sure.

I've followed the folks that say "rhyme with the beat" of dum, dum de dem, de dum.

I always seem to skip some heartbeat of that. I try, and try, and miss.

So I go with what I am most comfortable with, and wish to thank those, here and now, for anyone who puts up with my verse in words that aren't and sometimes are, free.

God bless you all.

Grinch, I'm sure I haven't helped, but thank you for listening.

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67 posted 04-01-2009 09:33 PM       View Profile for Balladeer   Email Balladeer   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Balladeer's Home Page   View IP for Balladeer

Grinch, here is an excellent critique of Daddy, showing the tricks of the trade Plath used in it's construction. Some of it may be helpful...

In "Daddy", Sylvia Plath shows intense emotions towards the relationships she had with her late father and husband. The character in this poem is Plath herself and it spans across a series of decades. It starts when Plath loses her father at a very young age, "You died before I had time- " (7), at a time when Plath still loved her father unconditionally. She tries to replace her father with her husband, a man who is identical in personality and habit. Over the years, as Plath becomes older and wiser, she sees these men for their true colors. She begins to illustrate feelings of anger and resentment towards them through use of vivid metaphor, imagery, and tone.
The recurrent use of the words 'shoes' and 'feet' in this poem are strong metaphors that take on different meaning as the poem proceeds. In lines two and three, "you do not do any more, black shoe in which I have lived like a foot", Plath compares herself to a foot living in a shoe, the shoe being her father. The shoe protects the foot and keeps it warm but, like a double edged sword, also traps and smothers the foot. Later in the poem the shoe is called a 'boot' (49) when the father is found to be a Nazi.
In the sixth and seventh stanzas Plath describes her father as a Nazi, "I thought every German was you" (29). She calls her father a Pollack and says she is the jew ("I began to talk like a Jew. I think I may well be a Jew" 34-35). Plath never had the chance to embrace her nationality, and felt resentment towards this separation from her father. She uses 'barb wire' metaphor to illustrate this, explaining how she never felt she could talk to him, that she could hardly speak. In the ninth stanza Plath compares her father to Hitler, "your neat mustache and your Aryan eye, bright blue. Panzer-man" (43). Plath says that her father was not God but a swastika, that she has always been scared of him, and she felt like she was being sent away from him, "Chuffing me off like a Jew" (32). In lines 53 and 54 Plath not only compares her dad to Hitler but to the devil as well.
In the twelfth stanza, and the three that follow that (lines 56 through 85), the poem takes a different direction and splits into a whole other story. Ten years after her fathers death Plath is still in mourning and tries to physically replace his presence in her life. She married a man who had the same look and traits as her father, "I made a model of you, a man in black with a Meinkampf look and a love of the rack and screw. And I said I do, I do" (74-77). Plath uses imagery to describe her husband as a 'vampire' an image or reflection of her father, a weaker or paler version of him who still haunts her long after his death. She again uses imagery when saying that this vampire drank her blood for seven years- Plaths marriage of seven years had drained her of life and energy. He was a brute force that oppressed Plath and hurt her, just like her father, and she in turn killed him.
The tone of this poem is one of child-like outrage and adult anger. This is showed by the repetitive use of the word 'daddy' and doubling up lines like "You do not do, you do not do" (1), and "Daddy, daddy" (90). As a child she adores her father but is also a bit frightened by him. I don't think it was until Plath entered her marriage, and realized the connection between her husband and father, that she was able to see her father for what he truly was. For as Plath grows older she begins to resent who he was to her, and the tone changes from a child's to that of a fiercer woman, strong with attitude. She states in the last three stanzas, "So daddy, I'm finally through" (77) and again in the last line, "Daddy, daddy, you *edited*, I'm through" (90). It seems as though, at the end of the poem, Plath was finally able to resolve her conflict with herself and her father.

..and, Sunshine? What you do, you do well
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68 posted 04-01-2009 09:50 PM       View Profile for Sunshine   Email Sunshine   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Sunshine's Home Page   View IP for Sunshine

Thank you, Mike.

I'll never be a Plath.

But I'll always be

me.

Your examples are exemplary.

moonbeam
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69 posted 04-02-2009 03:37 AM       View Profile for moonbeam   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for moonbeam

Karilea it wasn't me that asked you for "more" it was the wonderful and inspirational Bob.  And I know neither of us would dream of asking you for more than you are capable of giving.   Everyone to his or her own.


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70 posted 04-02-2009 03:55 AM       View Profile for moonbeam   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for moonbeam

You see Mike your post of the "critique" of Daddy goes back to that comment you made a few days ago when you suggested that only the critiques of "experts" are valuable.

I now see the problem.  What you and I understand a critique to be is subtly different.  What you posted above is the typical commentary that you get in school text books - an essay on "what the poem is about, and the mechanics of how it achieves that meaning", and sure, that can be part of a critique, and sure also, possibly that requires a certain in depth knowledge of historical circumstance and the poet herself, only available to an "expert".  

But the word critique derives from the Greek kritik, interpreted I think as "discerning judgment".  And "discerning" can be defined as "exhibiting keen insight and good judgment; perceptive."

This essay on Daddy exhibits practically no keen insight and little perception, it says nothing about how the reader of the poem reacts to it, it says nothing about the music, or the emotions of the reader, and what he enjoyed and what he didn't - it's simply a dry recitation or copy-cat sheet for others, probably students, to use as a template when they read the poem.  It might be useful, it might not be - one thing I do know is that I was put off poetry for many years because of having that sort of thing pushed at me in school, and now I encourage young poets to read and interpret for themselves before resorting to such "expert" analysis.

For me that is not what commenting on a poem is about.  It's certainly not useful to the writer of the poem; and being useful to the writer of the poem (and yourself as reader) is what commenting in a forum like this is all about imho.

M

PS Oh gosh Mike, someone has just pointed out to me that you didn't attribute the critique you posted. I found it here:
http://www.eliteskills.com/analysis_poetry/Daddy_by_Sylvia_Plath_analysis.php

and just assumed you'd copied it.  Now I see I may be wrong.  If you wrote it I am sorry to sound somewhat harsh, because of its kind it was of course an excellent commentary

[This message has been edited by moonbeam (04-02-2009 09:21 AM).]

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71 posted 04-02-2009 03:54 PM       View Profile for Bob K   Email Bob K   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Bob K



     The sort of analysis that Mike's offering here is always interesting stuff.  I'm a big fan of Plath as well.  She has a great feel and understanding of the music and sonics in poetry, and how to use them in a playful way to make even the most serious of topics work.  She was a student of Robert Lowell's at Boston University writing workshop with quite a few terrific students in it, including Frank Bidart at one point, well worth reading for those who are looking; Peter Davison, who went on to win the Yale Younger Poets award and to become the Poetry Editor at The Atlantic until his recent death; Maxine Kumin, who is a Pulitzer prize winner; Anne Sexton, who shared Sylvia Plath's fate, and many others.  It must have been one heck of a class.  Many of the people in that class were formally trained as scholars, and they prided themselves on the scholarship to some extent.  Lowell himself did a lot of translations, and while they could have done a lot of talking among themselves in this sort of "New Critical" language, it appears they mostly didn't.  Mostly they were just folks talking to friend and gossiping and telling stories.

     They were pretty clear about the differences between talking the craft of poetry and talking the language of the scholarly study of English literature.  Mostly, since they learned their livings by teaching English Literature, they talked about the craft of poetry and the fun stuff amongst themselves.  I'm reading an edition of the letters between Elizabeth Bishop and Robert Lowell now, and the pattern seems to hold true there as well.

     I find it interesting to talk about formal scholarship myself.  I like renaissance theater and modern poetry and I have a side interest in eighteenth century poetry, though I can't claim any great depth in it.  But I look at that stuff as sort of a sidelight to the actual writing process, and to writing modern poetry.  I can give more about writing modern free verse poetry.

     What about other folks?  And what about Grinch, who's been sort of quiet?  Do we want to continue in some fashion talking about Grinch's stuff with his input?  Does somebody else have something they want to say?  Do folks want to fold our tents and try another thread at some other point?  Has anybody gotten anything useful out of this, and is it worth going on with it?
moonbeam
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72 posted 04-02-2009 04:36 PM       View Profile for moonbeam   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for moonbeam

I'd still like to look at some of Grinch's lines in more detail, but I'm also trying to write a poem for Mike's workshop and think about what's going on in the other thread here, and ther's the small matter of running the rest of my life too .  

I think what you said about the Daddy commentary is interesting and in another life with a different educational environment I expect I'd be more impressed with it.  Regrettably I blame that sort of analysis for the 20 years I wasted before becoming interested in poetry.  On the other hand I suppose I can thank the same educational system for my strong lean towards contemporary poetry, which was pretty much held in contempt by the then educators.

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73 posted 04-03-2009 12:21 AM       View Profile for Balladeer   Email Balladeer   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Balladeer's Home Page   View IP for Balladeer

moonbeam, you were right the first time. I did copy that critique. I was impressed with it because it pointed several things out to me I hadn't grasped while reading the poem, like the different ways "shoes" and "feet" were used and other connections that came into play for me based on things the critique pointed out.

Of course, since I am not a free verser, I can be much more easily satisfied with such explanations and I can see where some with more experience in the form, like you, might come up with the same comments you did with regards to the deficiencies presented.

I'll just go back to saying I love the poem
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74 posted 04-05-2009 05:18 AM       View Profile for JenniferMaxwell   Email JenniferMaxwell   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for JenniferMaxwell

“Daddy” is one of my least favorites by Plath. I can appreciate the clever bits but it’s just too ott for my taste. I much prefer. “Electra on Azalea Path”.  

Grinch - What you think you can’t do is far better than most of us will ever be able to do.
Turned out to be a pretty good thread, wouldn’t you say? And not one complaint in my inbox. So there!
 
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