Ok let’s firstly start by critiquing your comment that you’re not good at poetry, because that isn’t true. So you know that I want punctuation in here, it would improve the flow, and I have stated my views on capitalisation – that one is up to you, and I have to get over it on my own (heh). Beyond this, you slip back and forth between prose writing and poetry writing – you go into poetic description in places, then slip back into stating outright and/or providing basic description.
About half way through, you create this wonderful rhythm with internal rhymes, it’s this flow that build and builds – it’s fantastic
I’ll go through stanza by stanza with my thoughts
“The city has sirens / and strangers who puke” –I am assuming there should be a full stop, because you can read this plus the following line 2 ways. “There are strangers who puke out in the country” or “There are strangers who puke. Out in the country the faces are friendly…”. Also I didn’t like the word puke on my first proper reading, and wrote a crit on it. I have changed my mind, keep it.
“Out in the country / The faces are friendly / That eye-bulge and heave” – cut some words, e.g. Out, “that” & “and” (change the following words to eye-bulging, heaving”. I would like to see this expanded
“The city has sinners/ You watch from a distance / Who are careless, unwholesome / Or misunderstood” – this doesn’t make grammatical sense??? “you watch from a distance WHO are careless, unwholesome”. Cut “misunderstood” and describe something for me here, too vague
“And you want to run with them / And see where they take you / But it's late and there's work / And you better go home.” – The rhythm is off in this. Cut the first & second “and” and I would suggest a line after “run with them”, you could build something here. “You want to run with them, blah blah blah, see where they take you.
“Out in the country / The night-air is colder / The silences longer / And nowhere is nearer” – I like the last two lines, the first two aren’t contributing to this piece at all. I would perhaps suggest cutting this stanza altogether
“And upon returning you think to yourself / What a fool that I was to ever have left / The silence, the faces, the foresty places / And the memories of youthful thoughts” – cut “and” (remember your line breaks SAY THINGS. They tell me to pause, they tell me it’s a new thought etc etc. Love the last line, use this cleverness throughout the poem!!!!!
“But the hours were wasted / With the same friendly faces / And the circuitous thinking / That forests provoke” – no crit, love this
“That rhythm was safety.” – you don’t need to say this, you can and have described this already with the city/country metaphor. Remember poetry is something you read a couple of times, to pull out the meaning. Your readers are not dumb.
“Until you left, of course.” – ditto. Say this in another, more subtle way
“When one leaves safe things behind / One often finds that newness is not only / Ausschließlich / Intoxicating” – show not tell, this is a classic example
“Wie ein Gedicht fügt die Geschichte / Of a change in your life / Sich unwillig zusammen” – no idea, don’t speak German
“And there is more silence / Then may be expected / When you are / A la recherche du moi inconnu” – ‘then’ should be ‘than’. Get rid of ‘and’, don’t know why there are so many and’s in this!
“Birds are Catholic / They feast on guilt and insects” – bring this and the other stanza together. Change “they feast” to “feasting”
“They only ever sing at seven / When you've not slept / And you should've” – make it ‘only singing at seven’. Cut the last line, it doesn’t do anything
“Their song prompts a / Level of urgency” – play with this, and try to show rather than tell what this “level of urgency is”
“It reminds you of things that have run for too long” – “reminding” instead, sounds softer
“The city has sirens / Wifi and strangers / Sometimes they touch you / Sometimes they puke” – very nice, I like the repetition, with something new added. Clever
“The city has bluegrass / At convenient distances / And strangers to remind you / Of all that is random and wholesome and good” – I don’t like the second repetition of “the city” but can’t suggest an alternative right now. Change convenient to something else, such a vague meaningless word in context. And cut ‘random’ for the same reason.
“Out in the country, the grass is still green / It was green last year / And next year, it will be green” – this is good, but not great, but could be great. I have no suggestions, so I think my comment is null and void. Also, get rid of the ‘and’ (are you sensing a theme here?)
“Birdsong in the city / Is workers drilling holes in the Dart lines” – nice concept, but use it elsewhere not as a standalone point, you need to be more subtle with images like this.
“They're not quite as pretty / But their message is clear” – cut this
Thanks for this I have since met a poet here whose work has opened my eyes in completely unexpected ways and also made me want to write poetry again, but it will be completely different from this.
I've written about him and about my thoughts here: [link] (in a nefarious attempt to completely derail the blog of my dear friend Fasih I'm taking his prompt to "write about whatever you'd like" very very seriously) (it's meant to be a blog about video games).
In short, I see no more use for the density of poetry. It's not meant to be a riddling contest. Well written poetry does not need to be read multiple times. It'll be perfectly clear on first read-through. Just to show you how brilliant the man can be, here's another poem from him:
ONE GOOD SPARKLE by Pat Ingoldsby
They told me time after time that I was suffering from a chemical imbalance. Chemical imbalance. Those are the words that they used. Whenever I am heading down College Street on my way home, trundling my trolley past the railings at Trinity College, I have only got to look across the street, in through a window at the red, blue and green sparkles on the chandelier in the Westin and suddenly I am hurled into a wild and magnificent high. I am fucking well flying. I love it. I hate it. It scares the living shite out of me. It thrills me skinny. Probably they were right. Whatever name you put on it, it is a curse and a blessing. It is an excitement with tear bombs bursting to get out. It is soaring up with meteoric sparks and a terrifying drop. It is unexploded me. One good sparkle and I'm gone.
You know I've had an uneasy relationship with poetry, especially on this site. I sometimes love it and I am confused when I do, because it's nearly impossible for me to predict when I will love a poem and when all a poem will get out of me is a shrug and a meh. Sometimes I worked my way through dense, codified poetry to arrive at a gem inside, and sometimes I just worked and found nothing. My own poetry suffers greatly from my attempts to codify simple thoughts out of a fear that they are "too simple for poetry." I no longer believe there is such a thing as too simple for poetry.
It's about picking your idea, and about stating it simply and with conviction, and only then about the sonics of the thing and the layers of meaning and what not. I think I'll be exploring this simple poetry thing for a bit. I may even rewrite THIS poem more simply.
But thank you again for your very thoughtful critique. One thing I'll just say: the "level of urgency" bit in the birdsong part was a throwback to Chris's "Oratories and Laboratories":
"Then, as dawn’s birdsong prompted a level of urgency, they discussed."
Do you have any strong opinions on the lessons I think I learnt from Pat Ingoldsby?
I wasn't exactly saying I thought this needed density, and I think it's important to highlight the importance of being concise in poetry, which is quite different to being dense. I certainly enjoy reading 'simple poetry' as you call it, and I wrote something semi-recently [link] that is in that style. HOWEVER the use of simple language etc is just as much a poetic form, and meaningful like any other -e.g. rhyming to create a rhythm e.g. Rime of the Ancient Mariner the rhyme simulates the rocking of the boat, and gives it a sing-song feel like a ballad. Or Donne using rhyme when he creates these intricate riddles that he solves through the poem, with the rhyme adding to the cleverness.
This comment [link] (by the way, that's catching if you remember him - he's back!) is a great interpretation with the use of simple, bare images suiting the theme of loss.
And no matter how 'simple' a poem is, the first reading is never enough. There are always things you miss, e.g. the clever repetition of the word 'puke' in your piece is only really apparent and thus appreciated on second reading.
Bukowski of course did simple well, but that was also his character that was across all of his poetry. One of my fave Bukowski poems is [link] which is so sad in its simplicity
Never even CONSIDERED punctuation I have to admit. I wrote this in my head, walking around town, memorizing it as I went, so I really didn't think about punctuation at all. This doesn't excuse the fact that I didn't think about punctuation when I wrote the poem down, of course. You think it'd do better with full-on punctuation?
Punctuation, along with meaningful use of line breaks and not capitalising each line are my things when I'm reading poetry. The latter I can ignore as that is more of a personal thing, but punctuation!! Come on, you're a prose monkey!
Although back on the capitalisation at the start of each line - I am of the opinion that lower case (unless you're starting a new sentence) lends a more conversation tone, whereas caps at the start of each line indicates a more formal tone. This piece however is conversational, however you can disregard my advice on this.
And as an overall thing - you're not using your line breaks effectively, I would like to see that played with. And there are a lot of sentence filling words.
I can go through this in much more depth if you like??
My Etsy Shop:
Holidays dear humans
:+fav: this journal
to have a cha...
Please play the song
while viewing this
journal. I've tried
my hardest to create
a, well, a kind of
experience for you.
The music plays a
crucial role in
experience and a
message. I promise
you won't regret it.
Just make sure the
whole journal is
loaded, turn on
deviantMEET in Las
Vegas hit the
already lined up
outside the doors at
5:00 PM, even though
the event wasn't
scheduled to start
until 5:30! (A
handful of amazingly
deviants arrived as
early as 3:30 PM!)
The Most Popular
ever wondered who
the most popular
characters are at
post on Trending
Terms in October. It
got me thinking
DeviantART in terms
of deviation count.
I'm going to need...
Working with color
can be difficult no
matter what medium
you choose, but it
can be especially
Learning how to mix
your own colors is
equally as important
as learning how to
apply them to your
work.1. No matter
what your art
teacher says, YOU
CAN use black and
^Nyx-Valentine arrived in our community and started whipping everyone into a frenzy with her relentless desire to bring the Artistic Nude and Fetish galleries to the fore. 9 years later, and it's safe to say that Nyx is not only a leader as a photographer in these galleries, but she has also established herself as a much saught after model. ^... Read More