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Thread: The Compleat 'Thorn Forest' (A Gift for AW)

  1. #51
    Super Moderator SuperModerator Stew21's Avatar
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    I also, just want to tell you what an amazing gift you are giving us by sharing this here. You do understand that Christmas is going to be quite disappointing now we've opened this beauty early.
    Sometimes I actually write stuff
    Like this...
    If a tree falls in Hesperides

  2. #52
    thanks for your comments about the last two additions, stew.

    they are short, it's true, but transitional and something of a relief to have done as it now opens a new act in the narrative.
    _____________________________

    Thorn Forest: A Gift for AW

    My poems on Twitter. Please proceed in an orderly fashion.





  3. #53
    Super Moderator SuperModerator Stew21's Avatar
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    The varying lengths of each piece fuel the pace of the whole.

    How many parts are you anticipating to complete it? Have you gotten that far into the process?
    Sometimes I actually write stuff
    Like this...
    If a tree falls in Hesperides

  4. #54
    i feel like i'm about a third to halfway through, but that's just a gut feel.
    _____________________________

    Thorn Forest: A Gift for AW

    My poems on Twitter. Please proceed in an orderly fashion.





  5. #55
    Super Moderator SuperModerator Stew21's Avatar
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    This is terrible. I want to read it all right now, but then I would be disappointed when it was finished.

    Willy Wonka said it better: "the suspense is killing me; I hope it'll last."
    Last edited by Stew21; 07-25-2014 at 06:13 PM.
    Sometimes I actually write stuff
    Like this...
    If a tree falls in Hesperides

  6. #56
    Hand? What hand? AW Moderator Ol' Fashioned Girl's Avatar
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    William, you convey in ten words what it takes me a thousand to relate - and I don't do it half as well.

    I want this in book form to put up on my mantle right next to your other volume. I'll even say 'please'.
    aka: OFG








  7. #57
    Quote Originally Posted by Ol' Fashioned Girl View Post
    I want this in book form to put up on my mantle right next to your other volume. I'll even say 'please'.
    i am powerless against politeness.

    there's a good chance i may do so, once it's all said and done.

    thanks for the kind words.
    _____________________________

    Thorn Forest: A Gift for AW

    My poems on Twitter. Please proceed in an orderly fashion.





  8. #58
    not sure if this will work, but if it does, it is a reading of part 1:

    https://soundcloud.com/the-mad-poet/...art-1-jacob-is
    _____________________________

    Thorn Forest: A Gift for AW

    My poems on Twitter. Please proceed in an orderly fashion.





  9. #59
    practical experience, FTW
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    It works.

  10. #60
    thanks for checking.
    _____________________________

    Thorn Forest: A Gift for AW

    My poems on Twitter. Please proceed in an orderly fashion.





  11. #61
    Petulantly Penitent Magdalen's Avatar
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    I'll try again at work - my browser isn't listed.
    [My Best Work Is Done Offline]


  12. #62
    what browser are you using, if i may ask?
    _____________________________

    Thorn Forest: A Gift for AW

    My poems on Twitter. Please proceed in an orderly fashion.





  13. #63
    practical experience, FTW
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    Quote Originally Posted by William Haskins View Post
    thanks for checking.
    I hope you record the whole thing.

  14. #64
    that's the first time i've recorded a poem, so i'm not sure how effective it will be.

    a fun experiment though.
    _____________________________

    Thorn Forest: A Gift for AW

    My poems on Twitter. Please proceed in an orderly fashion.





  15. #65
    Super Moderator SuperModerator Stew21's Avatar
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    Great reading. Nice voice. Perhaps you could read my RFPs to me for work?
    Sometimes I actually write stuff
    Like this...
    If a tree falls in Hesperides

  16. #66
    Benefactor Member Cranky's Avatar
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    I already loved this poem (more, please!), but hearing you read it really adds something extra-special.

    Thank you, William. I am blown away, and bow down.
    W.S.F.A. today! (Write Something F***ing Awesome)

    An exceptional poem that you really should read, by AW's own William Haskins:


    Thorn Forest: A Poem In Progress

  17. #67
    i appreciate your kind words. thank you.
    _____________________________

    Thorn Forest: A Gift for AW

    My poems on Twitter. Please proceed in an orderly fashion.





  18. #68
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    XV is neat :-)
    Easy to comprehend,
    even for a bumpkin like me.

    --------------------

    :-) cool V
    Last edited by Ken; 07-30-2014 at 01:51 AM.

  19. #69
    bumpkin to bumpkin.
    _____________________________

    Thorn Forest: A Gift for AW

    My poems on Twitter. Please proceed in an orderly fashion.





  20. #70
    Super Moderator SuperModerator Stew21's Avatar
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    Because I think it is really important to do so, I'd like to make some specific comments. I am aiming for something other than, "ooh, aah", that may be a useful learning tool for others, and a really good exercise for me, as a poet, to understanding the finer points as you have so exquisitely displayed them in this poem.
    William, I know you blush easily, so please understand that my intention is not to *fangirl* on you. I am, however, holding you up as an example and a source for learning, I would hope aspiring poets would use. We don't call you Absolute Sage for nothing, sir.

    Part I - Jacob is not home (audio)

    If he could have
    he would have
    begged his mother
    with his newborn
    mouth to strangle
    him then and there -->
    this opening sets tone, rhythm, and intrigue. The word choice of could have/would have lets us know, right away, doesn't it, that this is not a happy thing.
    soft shimmering naked
    on her belly
    and already old. --> Our character is sympathetic, his disposition is known; now we have to read on to find out why. Great opening stanza that is infused with emotion. At least to me, if nothing else, a poem should stir an emotion. It is a beautiful thing when one can grab the goods in the first stanza.

    This song would then
    be short and over
    and you would be home --> this line is the one which asks for the readers' investment. You have it.
    and Jacob would be home.

    Jacob is not home. --->
    because now we have something very much in common with Jacob; none of us are home. A simple thing, with simple words, but powerful. Investing readers is essential, and it sets the anticipation for what is going to happen next. It's the "ok, you have us here tell us more", which is such a trait of storytelling, that it is rare to be handled so quickly and easily in ten words in a poem. Also, we are forced out of our comfort zones, by being told we are not home. Another emotional investment. The reader gets to be on edge. I think the repetition of 'home', is critical to this part. It is pleasing to the ear, (and this is a rare example of your poem's title being a line in the poem, which I think makes this three line bit all the more masterful. We know it's the point now. And I never once felt beat over the head with it.

    Instead he drew breath
    and suckled and cried
    and learned like
    any animal learns
    ears nipped and angry what really gets me in this stanza is that the poet has drawn a line for us, connected some dots, and we now see Jacob as human animal. This is the promise of character development. It is very visual, too. We've all seen a baby draw first breath, suckle, and cry (regardless of species), so we know what you say is true. Poets, whenever possible, should be reliable narrators, and the poem should feel true.

    until supplication like
    gray waves of time
    washed over him
    making long his bones
    and teeth

    and memory. --->
    I like that one modifier suits the bones, teeth and memory, and that each of them use the modifier a bit differently. It's skillful. Particularly a skilled use of common cliché "long in the tooth". I have used this technique before, and liked the result. "sting of phantom needles and bad news".


    As a whole, this first poem has a musicality to it. This is something, I think above all the rhymes and "beats" and "feet" and whatever else people measure in poetry, that is hardest to teach yourself or others (though it could be argued that musicality of anything may be a natural talent of some). Words are naturally musical after all; That this poem has that music and remains firmly in a natural speech pattern is impressive. Small words, big picture, At once, we are invited into what promises to be, the very intriguing, and potentially quite sad, world of Jacob. For a short poem, it promises big things. The reader waits for part 2.

    Part II - A Boy and His Dog

    When he was human --->
    another wickedly strong opening line. And the word human, particularly after showing us Jacob as animal, pulls the two poems together.
    Jacob ran on hind legs
    through untended orchards
    sick-sweet with rotting fruit --> there are key adjectives. "sick-sweet", and "untended". Whatever else this place is, we know it isn't cared for - what it produces doesn't matter - it is left to rot, and Jacob is comfortable there. Simple words create a complete setting. Again, it speaks to the truth of it; that sort of universal truth that the readers all know what the poet wants us to see. There is no melodrama. I see that so often (and used to do it, quite often.) :0 This proves how unnecessary that is.

    chasing thoughts that cut
    before him a path that
    never led far enough away
    from the house -- all kinds of heartbreaking without the melodrama.


    ...... that leaned into
    ...... the setting sun
    ...... with the roof
    ...... that leaked
    ...... into a bucket at his
    ...... father's calloused feet. --> the rhyme here is very effective in making this bit of it sound a little like a nursery rhyme. In providing a descriptor, we understand why the orchard is untended, and the boy doesn't want to be there.
    Also, I like that his feet are calloused. Typically, people who wear shoes don't have callouses on their feet.
    There he was
    a crouching beast
    hungry-thin and beaten -->
    and Jacob back to animal. Pulling that thread again, circling back to animal, and in a general sense, closing the loops of what the poet has started, is so important. Sometimes writing poetry is like braiding hair. This over-under-through with human and animal is lovely.
    most often found beneath
    the porch where
    one mosquito-bit evening - and the rhyme/assonance continues throughout the stanza with beast/ beaten /beneath. (all B-words. hooray for alliteration which serves other functions as well). It certainly thickens the poem, in any case.
    he uncovered in a
    crushed dust-grave - a phrase I've never heard before. One of my favorite things about poetry is when the poet explains something to me in a way I've never heard before, but I get it. I see it, and I can't imagine other words which could have said it better. Word choice, word choice, word choice.
    the skull of a dog
    bared teeth and bleached

    but no skeleton. Again with a close that intrigues, but that braid is at work again, because this so perfectly mirrors the clipped last line of the first poem.


    Part III - Family Life

    The air hung dead
    beneath the boards and
    Jacob's sweat dripped
    and beaded into mudpie
    buttons in the dust. -
    again, the perfect phrases for the scene. It not only gives a specific visual of a specific time and place, but gives us a tone, an over-arching "feeling"

    But the curses
    were muffled there
    the violence vague

    percussion of a
    hostile tribe --
    14 clever words and we have a mental state. If nothing else, how to get to the point is evident throughout this work. I also appreciate the violence being vague - and the alliteration is timed perfectly. Muffled/percussion the assonance plays to strong effect here, too. Assonance is one of those very pleasing musical things. good poetry should use a stable of device. Assonance is one which should be used more often.
    I like the use of the word "tribe" here too, Jacob and the dog skull as tribe is powerful.

    until that night
    in the dying light
    the savage shriek
    and two sharp pops:

    perhaps I'm going too deep on this, but I see an allusion to "tribe" with "savage"

    Surely it was
    books or knick
    knacks knocked
    to the floor.

    Again, these two stanzas are filled with poetic sweets to chew:
    Starting with the rhyme of night/light.
    Pops/knocked - assonance.
    Alliteration with knick knack knocked. In this instance, alliteration speeds our pace, as it should. The pace should be quick here for this particular narrative bit.
    Note that throughout these pieces so far, there are very few adjectives. The ones we have are weighty, precise, specific. That's how adjectives should be used in poetry. Sparingly, deliberately, and with an obligation to scene, narrative, and tone. I would strongly suggest never using an adjective to supplement a line for meter. The form shouldn't compromise the function of the poem.

    Surely it was
    firecrackers
    a prank
    nothing more.

    Surely it was not -
    again the narration reads a bit "fairy tale - sing-song, The repetition of Surely does its job quite well, "nothing more" reminds me just enough of Poe to make me happy. And surely it was not is exactly as chilling as it should be.

    a mother dead
    by a father's hand
    a father's head
    by a father's hand -
    and this rhyme carries that haunting nursery rhyme fairytale (anti-fairytale) feel, while the clipped phrasing provides yet more speed.

    and a boy alone
    cleaved to the skull of a dog. - back to Jacob, and the scene which opened in Part 2. The weave thickens.

    Last one for tonight. I will do more in another post. I hope you don't mind, William. I am quite enjoying diving into this.

    Part IV - It Could Have Been Moments, or Hours

    Sleep blends
    into weeping
    when it's
    ...dark outside
    ...dark inside.

    The softness of the words make them feel as though the are blending and weeping a bit. "Word feel", and by that I mean texture, is elemental to the music of poetry. Repetition with "dark outside/dark inside" carries the weight in this stanza.

    Dirt has a way
    of swallowing tears
    but fears take root
    and wind

    into a poison
    strangling vine.

    - this works because we know it's true. I can't say enough how our words in poetry or any sort of fiction have to ring true to our readers. We know it's true, it feels true, we know what fears do, and the poet has worded it in a way that makes it, sadly, foreshadowing for poor orphaned Jacob. In a poem of this length, (the whole) foreshadowing is somewhat necessary - it pulls the reader into the next part. It also works because the dirt and vines pair nicely. If at all possible, give your metaphors something to hold onto. Here, the poet has given his metaphor of vine, some dirt to grow in. Also, winds/vine - again the assonance. I can't recommend it highly enough. Use it.

    Also, so far, the use of rhyme is so effective because it isn't over done. The poet rhymes when it serves a specific purpose to pace, texture, and narrative.


    I'll start up again with Part V soon. (As long as that's okay with you, William).

    Also, if anyone has anything to add to this kind of analysis, please share.
    Last edited by Stew21; 07-30-2014 at 06:48 AM.
    Sometimes I actually write stuff
    Like this...
    If a tree falls in Hesperides

  21. #71
    stew, i don't know what to say so i'm just going to work on the poems.

    my deepest gratitude for you caring enough to offer such detailed insights.

    it's overwhelming.
    _____________________________

    Thorn Forest: A Gift for AW

    My poems on Twitter. Please proceed in an orderly fashion.





  22. #72
    Super Moderator SuperModerator Stew21's Avatar
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    You are very welcome. It was good for me to do that, so there was a bit of selfish motivation in there. Hopefully it benefits others, too. (And hopefully the microscope didn't horrify you too badly).

    In any case, you know i won't complain about more poems. Keep em coming.
    Last edited by Stew21; 07-30-2014 at 10:00 AM. Reason: I've been awake too long. it happens.
    Sometimes I actually write stuff
    Like this...
    If a tree falls in Hesperides

  23. #73
    'Twas but a dream of thee El Jefe MacAllister's Avatar
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    VERY nicely done, Stew. I shall look forward to your future commentary nearly as much as I look forward to William's additional sections.

    The reading is both powerful and evocative, by the way, William. Thank you.

  24. #74
    no, thank you, mac.

    if it wasn't for this place i would have stopped writing poetry years ago.
    _____________________________

    Thorn Forest: A Gift for AW

    My poems on Twitter. Please proceed in an orderly fashion.





  25. #75
    'Twas but a dream of thee El Jefe MacAllister's Avatar
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    That's an awfully nice way of saying we nag, nag, nag ya when you're not posting enough poetry.

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