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Passions in Poetry

Ed's poem "The Academician" and discussion

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Brad
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0 posted 04-16-2007 04:15 PM       View Profile for Brad   Email Brad   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Brad


“The Academician?br>
A lunate mouth ajar
in simplified stupor
awaiting a fly to enter
on mission to liven up the brain.
A fly will go into the deep,
into’s the deep,
make brain look to dance;
make man look to earth
rather than to bleak firmament
where his eyes are wedged.

Suck out the intellect,
syphon out the yearling
from brightening insect.
They’ve got pandemonium in spades
and refuse to relinquish it.
A type-one nutcase with dyspepsia
forgets the feeling of euphoria
and the mind found bleeding,
bled by Pushkin
and thus falls indicted in merriment.

A finger bone set into motion,
brought to life by power tool
decided to stick a human up its
fictitious nose
because it was tired
of being shoved into the nasal closet.

_____________________________

(You might get a kick out of this Brad)

What it basically means: Ultimately, it is about how simplicity is superior to the excessive pursuit of knowledge. That's not to say the pursuit of higher levels of knowledge is bad; but unfulfilling in my mind. It is about living outside of normalcy and not being trapped in everyone else's studies. I think one needs balance with studying and living simply; too much of either can't be too good.

I'll break it down like a fraction (the fly represents simplicity for obvious reasons).

S1:

A lunate mouth ajar
in simplified stupor
awaiting a fly to enter
on mission to liven up the brain.
  [The first bit of S1 is pretty obvious]

A fly will go into the deep,
into’s the deep,
make brain look to dance;
  [Meaning happiness is achieved through simplicity.]

make man look to earth
rather than to bleak firmament
where his eyes are wedged.
  [Meaning the man is too consumed with the higher reaches of knowledge; he isn't living "on earth," he's living under a book ]

S2:

Suck out the intellect,
syphon out the yearling
from brightening insect.
  [Instructions instructing to simplify your life. I used the uncommon def. of "Yearling" as in young child. "Syphon out the yearling from brightening insect" means to learn from simplicity and be more childlike. Meaning to basically be easier going.]

They’ve got pandemonium in spades
and refuse to relinquish it.
  [Obvious]
A type-one nutcase with dyspepsia
forgets the feeling of euphoria
and the mind found bleeding,
bled by Pushkin
and thus falls indicted in merriment.
[The last sentence means that once the head bleeds from overload, it releases all the pressure and is then happy, a forgotten happiness.]

S3:

(And finally the infamous third stanza... I got a few emails about this last bit.)

A finger bone set into motion,
brought to life by power tool
decided to stick a human up its
fictitious nose
because it was tired
of being shoved into the nasal closet.
  [The literal meaning: a finger was tired of being used to pick a human's nose. The whole stanza represents freedom from "an overloaded head" and the fact that the man no longer wants to be trapped in a life entirely composed of studying.]

Marge Tindal
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1 posted 04-16-2007 04:23 PM       View Profile for Marge Tindal   Email Marge Tindal   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Marge Tindal's Home Page   View IP for Marge Tindal

Just inquiring ... Ed who ?
Brad
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2 posted 04-16-2007 05:38 PM       View Profile for Brad   Email Brad   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Brad

Let's look at the title: The Academician

I understand the meaning, but what's wrong with "The Academic" or even better "Academic"? The latter title lets you play with a double meaning: 'academic' meaning someone who works or is associated with the academy and 'academic' meaning divorced from real life, practical considerations.

"A lunate mouth ajar"

On a first reading, I liked this first line. A moon shaped mouth that is stuck (The Scream). The problem is that on that first reading I didn't really read it very well. A crescent shaped mouth that is stuck leaves me with the Cheshire Cat or Jack, the Joker, in the first Batman movie. If that is the image you want, I don't think you've exhausted the potential of 'lunate'. Be that as it may, we have a picture that I hope we can agree is already unattractive.

"in simplified stupor"

The use of alliteration here emphasizes 'stupor' but what would a simplified stupor be? What would a complex stupor be? Jack as the joker drawn by a political cartoonist?

Why drop the indefinite article?

"awaiting a fly to enter"

The mouth is awaiting a fly to enter? A synecdoche of course. But doesn't this imply anticipation, even the wanting, of a fly to enter the mouth. A Spanish fly?

So, from the first three lines I have a picture in my head, not of an academic (tweed jacket, beard, pipe, volvo), but of a drunk or drug addict awaiting, anticipating his next 'fix'.

"on mission to liven up the brain."

To some extent, my picture is confirmed by the next line. The dropping of an indefinite article (Why does the speaker remind me of the Hulk?) yet again would seem to indicate that the speaker and the character are both in the same boat.

Next sentence:

"A fly will go into the deep,"

Okay, following the first sentence, we get a confirmation that the fly will, at some time in the future, enter the mouth, and presumably fly down the esophagus.

"into’s the deep,"

And you lose me here. A Cummings-like exercise in concrete poetry, a bizarre use of the possessive, a contraction of God knows what? Here, I plead guily, I sometimes get confused with the apostrophe -- an idiosyncrasy of mine. Others don't seem to have this problem so it seems a weakness that I'll just have to live with.

I don't get it. So, as far as I can tell, you double your line for emphasis. What I here is a kind of dialect, 'Intooz da deep'.

At the very least, not the voice traditionally associated with an academic.

(Interesting point: to my ear, this would be a good place to drop the article, 'Intooz deep.' This, perhaps, creates an added dimension to the speaker. I say perhaps because this creates more problems than it solves.)

I have to stop here for now. If you recognize the kind or reading I'm doing, I am sure you know that you have to wait for me to finish before I can give you my assessment of the poem as a whole. Feel free to challenge anything here (or anybody else can jump in), but I'll try to complete the reading before I comment on comments.

Thanks
Brad
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3 posted 04-16-2007 05:39 PM       View Profile for Brad   Email Brad   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Brad

Ed Grim.
Edward Grim
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4 posted 04-16-2007 08:50 PM       View Profile for Edward Grim   Email Edward Grim   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Edward Grim's Home Page   View IP for Edward Grim

I'm not exactly sure what the purpose of this thread is. This feels a bit like Hawthorne's Scarlet Letter and I'm on some sort of scaffold (never mind the fact that I'm comparing myself to an adulterous woman and I very much doubt you're a Puritan) hehe.

I am also unsure as to how you want me to respond to this. Am I to defend or justify how I write a.k.a. think? Hmm, I don't know Brad.

I offered you an explanation of the piece but I suppose that wasn't enough. Oh well, I guess this is what you meant by talking about it. I haven't decided whether I feel like responding to your critiques yet. Perhaps tomorrow I shall, maybe. I'm also unsure why this couldn't be confined to the other forum; but now that it's out let's keep it out and greet it with a happy hello. (Now I wish I gave you a better poem to tear apart, haha).

[This message has been edited by Ron (04-16-2007 10:45 PM).]

Stephanos
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5 posted 04-16-2007 09:17 PM       View Profile for Stephanos   Email Stephanos   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Stephanos's Home Page   View IP for Stephanos

Shouldn't this be in "Critical Analysis"??

Of what interest is it to philosophy, unless you want us to discuss the virtue of an intellectual life?  If that's the case then an excerpt from a book like "Intellectuals" by Paul Johnson would be a much better launching board.  Or is this somehow related to the quite boring "What is poetry" thread?  Someone clue me in.  


Stephen.
Brad
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6 posted 04-16-2007 10:10 PM       View Profile for Brad   Email Brad   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Brad

It's a continuation of that boring thread,
Stephen.

Instead of boring everybody even more, my basic point is that the poem lends itself to a very different message than the one stated by the author. In my reading, it involves an anti-drug message (alcohol, coke, and pill popping), the result being death.

That the main character is an academic seems completely irrelevant to the actual words of the piece (with one exception). There are problems with voice, diction, and syntax -- perhaps indicating that the speaker is also on drugs?

So, Ed, what do you do with that? You don't have to do anything of course. What struck me is how well most of your poem comes together with this idea in my head (There are still some problems with my reading: the Pushkin line and the brightening insect, but given a little time and some effort I'm sure I could have done something with those.

And just as I wrote that last sentence, I see how it all works.

The philosophical point, such as it is, is that a writer deals with words and those words are tools. It simply does you no good to claim that this means this or that if in fact it can't be demonstrated from the words of the text.  It does you no more good to make that claim than a carpenter can make the claim that he has built a palace when it looks like a shack about to fall apart.  The claims of creation begin to sound hollow.

But, Ed, to be fair, I like it much more now than I did before and do hope you decide to work with it.

I don't want to end this thread, but if possible open it up to other points of interest either in this one or perhaps another one that show some of the ways we can use our tools or some of the problems that you come up with when writing.
serenity blaze
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since 02-02-2000
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7 posted 04-16-2007 10:57 PM       View Profile for serenity blaze   Email serenity blaze   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for serenity blaze

Are we all tucked in now?



Seriously Brad, I had no idea we were allowed to pull a poem into philosophy for a philosophical critiquie, and if Ed's response is any indication, um, neither did he.

I also happen to resent having my comments removed and edited without notification.

Not that it matters, apparently. And I'm not mad, just annoyed.

This just seemed like something new--if it has happened before that a Pip poet's poem was offered up for discussion in philosophy, I honestly don't recall ever seeing this.

And thanks for answering my edited question.

This thread substraction can happen because yer a moderator and a guy?

*laughing*

lighten up, will ya?

Essorant
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8 posted 04-16-2007 11:16 PM       View Profile for Essorant   Email Essorant   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Essorant's Home Page   View IP for Essorant

I think Brad gave due philosophical context.
serenity blaze
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9 posted 04-16-2007 11:47 PM       View Profile for serenity blaze   Email serenity blaze   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for serenity blaze

Where is the original thread?

I dunno.

Was it Ed's intent to post poetry as basis for philosophical discussion?

I dunno.

Why are replies disappearing to the discretion of the moderator?

I dunno. (I don't believe mine crossed guidelines, Brad, I truly don't. And when things start disappearing, it's like tapes being erased or something--it kinda ticks people off--learn from Nixon--make it ALL disappear. So much cleaner.)

And if I might re-iterate, I don't recall ever seeing a moderator pull a poem from another forum into a public discussion forum (if this is what happened) without the author's permission. Can anyone do that, or just Brad?

And congratulations to both Ed Grimm and Brad, because the poem has been deemed by Essorant as having philosophical context, I'm just not sure if the author is the philosopher or the critque-r? (Critque-r? Hmmm. What do you call us anyway?)

I mean, besides, raging itch? *laughing*

Philosophical Context.

smile

I can pull a triple Goddess out of Mary Had A Little Lamb.

sigh

I'll go watch CNN and count the dead some more I guess. Ya'll have fun.
Edward Grim
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Posts 1112
Greenville, South Carolina


10 posted 04-17-2007 12:00 AM       View Profile for Edward Grim   Email Edward Grim   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Edward Grim's Home Page   View IP for Edward Grim

Jeez Karen, lol, you're really having a hard time with this thread, yeah me too.

"Was it Ed's intent to post poetry as basis for philosophical discussion?"

Umm, I didn't post this; Brad did. I was just as surprised as anyone else. I don't even like having it up here, I dislike it greatly as a matter of fact. I feel like my damn writing skills are on the witness stand and I don't like it. (But I'm dealing with it, who knows it might help me a lot - Thanks Brad).

"And congratulations to both Ed Grimm and Brad, because the poem has been deemed by Essorant as having philosophical context, I'm just not sure if the author is the philosopher or the critque-r?"

Huh? (And it's one "m" not two)


Peace

Head Cheese & Chicken Feet

serenity blaze
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11 posted 04-17-2007 12:06 AM       View Profile for serenity blaze   Email serenity blaze   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for serenity blaze

sorry

doublt vision

seriously

It gets me in all kinds of trouble. I'm constantly having to explain which person I'm cussing out.

And thank you Ed Grim of One Em, for clearing up some of my confusion.

Brad
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12 posted 04-17-2007 01:15 AM       View Profile for Brad   Email Brad   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Brad

But I did ask.

Honestly, I'm just curious, but what did you think I meant when I said,

quote:
When it comes to meaning, it's my contentention (pompous sounding, aren't I? ) that if you get the words right, the story right, the allusions right, the metaphors right, meaning will come the moment people start talking about the damn thing.

So Ed, can we talk about your stuff?


Then, you posted a poem.

The only thing I did was move it to a new thread. What's the big deal?

C'mon, guys, it's my birthday today. Cut me some slack.

I deleted John's original post (I asked, I asked) but only because I didn't think it was productive to the discussion.

And seriously, this has always been one of the main goals of philosophy. It's just that threads that go after the philosophical aspects of writing have always been among the least popular of threads in a not very popular forum.

But, hey, at least people jumped out of the woodworks to go after this one. That surprised me.

serenity blaze
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13 posted 04-17-2007 01:36 AM       View Profile for serenity blaze   Email serenity blaze   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for serenity blaze

aw man...

It's your birthday?



I am very sorry Brad. Since it's your birthday, you can poof me twice if you want.



Have a Happy!
Kitherion
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14 posted 04-20-2007 12:54 AM       View Profile for Kitherion   Email Kitherion   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Kitherion

WOW... WOW... WOWOWOWOWOWOWOWOWOW
Edward Grim
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15 posted 04-20-2007 06:57 PM       View Profile for Edward Grim   Email Edward Grim   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Edward Grim's Home Page   View IP for Edward Grim

You'll have to excuse my absence; I've had the flu. Perhaps now I shall "try" to respond to your (Brad's) essay or whatever on my poem. (Don't expect it to be in depth though, I'm still a bit sick and don't wish to invest too much time into it.)

_______________________________


[Let's look at the title: The Academician

I understand the meaning, but what's wrong with "The Academic" or even better "Academic"? The latter title lets you play with a double meaning: 'academic' meaning someone who works or is associated with the academy and 'academic' meaning divorced from real life, practical considerations.]

Not a bad point, I’ll think about it.

["A lunate mouth ajar"

On a first reading, I liked this first line. A moon shaped mouth that is stuck (The Scream). The problem is that on that first reading I didn't really read it very well. A crescent shaped mouth that is stuck leaves me with the Cheshire Cat or Jack, the Joker, in the first Batman movie. If that is the image you want, I don't think you've exhausted the potential of 'lunate'.]

Well first off, I never said it was 'stuck'. I said it was “ajar” (as in open).

“Be that as it may, we have a picture that I hope we can agree is already unattractive.”

Yes Brad, that is correct. My poetry is the same as my films and my plays: unattractive. Because life is unattractive and the majority of people are unattractive (or at least human behavior tends to be ugly). I like making my readers and viewers uncomfortable by showing the more unattractive things in life. That’s just a “me” thing I guess.

["in simplified stupor"

The use of alliteration here emphasizes 'stupor' but what would a simplified stupor be? What would a complex stupor be?]

Hmm, good point.

“Jack as the joker drawn by a political cartoonist?”

haha, good one.

[Why drop the indefinite article?

"awaiting a fly to enter"]

I didn’t drop the indefinite article in that line.

”But doesn't this imply anticipation, even the wanting, of a fly to enter the mouth.”

Perhaps. I never said the mouth didn’t want the fly’s company.

“A Spanish fly?”

I’m not sure what ethnicity the fly was. Russian maybe?

”So, from the first three lines I have a picture in my head, not of an academic (tweed jacket, beard, pipe, volvo), but of a drunk or drug addict awaiting, anticipating his next 'fix'.”

Yes, I suppose you could say that. But what is an academic? A person addicted to knowledge maybe? Don’t academics need a certain “fix” as well? Their “fix” being knowledge maybe?

“yet again would seem to indicate that the speaker and the character are both in the same boat.”

That is a high possibility. Many poets write about others while referring to themselves. I admit to being a tad narcissistic.

“(Why does the speaker remind me of the Hulk?) “

Because I have green skin and only wear ripped jean shorts? Haha. No I purposely wrote this piece with a “primitive” diction to differentiate the speaker and the subject of the poem, the latter being the academician.

”Okay, following the first sentence, we get a confirmation that the fly will, at some time in the future, enter the mouth, and presumably fly down the esophagus.”

Ok, here is where we’re having problems. This poem is a metaphor Brad. Don’t think of it like “the fly will enter the mouth, down the esophagus, through the stomach and intestines.” No no. The fly enters the head. The fly like an idea, enters the head. Don't think of it so literally.

["into’s the deep,"

And you lose me here. A Cummings-like exercise in concrete poetry, a bizarre use of the possessive, a contraction of God knows what? Here, I plead guily, I sometimes get confused with the apostrophe -- an idiosyncrasy of mine. Others don't seem to have this problem so it seems a weakness that I'll just have to live with.]

Yes, I like adding the unneeded apostrophe sometimes to add a sense of sinisterness to the piece. It’s just a little thing I do from time to time. I actually wrote a whole piece using that “technique.”
http://piptalk.com/main/forumdisplay.cgi?action=displayarchive&number=96&topic=000857

I’m sure you’ll all hate this one too.

”I don't get it. So, as far as I can tell, you double your line for emphasis. What I here is a kind of dialect, 'Intooz da deep'.”

Yes it sounds like that. But not “da.” It’s “intooz the deep.”

”At the very least, not the voice traditionally associated with an academic.”

I know, the academic isn’t the speaker.


_________________________

Oh and happy belated birthday Brad. Cheers mate.

Head Cheese & Chicken Feet

oceanvu2
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16 posted 04-21-2007 01:42 AM       View Profile for oceanvu2   Email oceanvu2   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for oceanvu2

Ah, Grimmy:  I think this is a quote from Henry Ford:  "Never apologize.  Never explain." If you have to tell somebody what you are doing rather than just doing what you are doing, where is that?

Brad, I can't quite tell whether you go into this poem at length because you think there is something there, or because it touches a nerve...

I end with a few lines of irrefutible logic:

"I'm Alabamy bound,
I'm Alabamy bound.
And if this train don't turn around,
I'm Alabamy bound."

Tough to pick it apart.

Jim
Brad
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17 posted 04-21-2007 05:41 AM       View Profile for Brad   Email Brad   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Brad

Neither really. It's just that, for better or worse, we have people who feel that a poem should be about something 'deep' -- I guess that means important or serious. Conversely, we have people who put words on paper and claim that it is so. My point is that if it is worth its salt, a sustained reading will move the reader to that point, the same point as the writer.

If it's any good.

Chalk this up to the high school education system. They seem to think that every poem is an invisible puzzle to be deciphered. Now, this is really an attempt to teach formalism or, if you want, "The New Criticism" (it's been around for over 75 years). But what many seem to get out of it is not an appreciation of close readings nor of language itself, but simply the idea that the author has a secret and that if you obscure it, it becomes a poem.

By the way, Ed, great response. I'll try to get back to in the next couple of days.

Edward Grim
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18 posted 04-21-2007 02:50 PM       View Profile for Edward Grim   Email Edward Grim   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Edward Grim's Home Page   View IP for Edward Grim

Well Jim, if you read my past replies on the topic of my poetry, you'll see that I've frequently said that I'll offer no commentary on my work. But since Brad "dedicated" an entire thread to this little monster, I have too much respect for him to just ignore it. And I'm not apologizing, I'll never do that my man, haha. I don't mind having an old poem picked apart. I think every writer should have someone dissect their poem to keep up with their skills. And besides, Brad is a smart lad.

"Brad, I can't quite tell whether you go into this poem at length because you think there is something there, or because it touches a nerve..."

It's cool with me either way.   Thanks Jim


Head Cheese & Chicken Feet

[This message has been edited by Edward Grim (04-21-2007 05:43 PM).]

Edward Grim
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19 posted 04-26-2007 07:48 PM       View Profile for Edward Grim   Email Edward Grim   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Edward Grim's Home Page   View IP for Edward Grim

"perhaps indicating that the speaker is also on drugs?"

I just noticed this. Let me be very clear; I do not do drugs. I suppose I can see why you would think that though. But I don't believe in using drugs or any stimulants to improve one's writing. I'm fascinated with drugs and drug addicts but not enough to experiment myself; I'm not brave enough. Just to clear things up.

Head Cheese & Chicken Feet

Essorant
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20 posted 04-28-2007 01:49 PM       View Profile for Essorant   Email Essorant   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Essorant's Home Page   View IP for Essorant

"I'm fascinated with drugs and drug addicts"

Why?  

I would urge you to become fascinated with healthier things, and without a doubt your poetry shall become healthier as well.

Edward Grim
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21 posted 04-28-2007 02:54 PM       View Profile for Edward Grim   Email Edward Grim   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Edward Grim's Home Page   View IP for Edward Grim

I don't think I should answer why. Just because I'm explaing my poem doesn't mean I will explain myself or what I like.

"without a doubt your poetry shall become healthier as well."

I didn't know my poetry was "unhealthy." Could you possibly elaborate?

Head Cheese & Chicken Feet

Brad
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22 posted 04-28-2007 06:03 PM       View Profile for Brad   Email Brad   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Brad

Ed,

I was talking about the speaker, not you personally. I never thought you were on drugs, only that the speaker, not the author, may also be on drugs. Admittedly, this is a tricky thing at times, but if you'll indulge me here:

author: the writer of the poem
speaker: the voice the author uses in the poem
character: the agents in the poem.

Sometimes, of course, the distinction is moot, they are all the same. Sometimes they are not.

Edward Grim
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Posts 1112
Greenville, South Carolina


23 posted 04-28-2007 07:32 PM       View Profile for Edward Grim   Email Edward Grim   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Edward Grim's Home Page   View IP for Edward Grim

I see what you're saying Brad. I just wanted to make that totally clear, you can understand that.

I do admit, I am not always privy to the poetic lingo. I try not to get too into the poetic terminologies. That's probably not a good thing on my part, heh.
serenity blaze
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24 posted 04-28-2007 10:24 PM       View Profile for serenity blaze   Email serenity blaze   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for serenity blaze

Thanks Brad!

I never actually thought about the finer distinctionss m'self. Shame on me.

And Ed? I'd love to see you do some form poetry--not that I dislike what you are doing-it just makes you "privy" to tools you might like to utilize and honestly, it doesn't undermine your individuality.

It's just great exercize.
 
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