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William Haskins
03-08-2006, 04:33 AM
this may gain some traction here, but it might well interest no one, so don't worry that my feelings will be hurt if this goes gently into that good night.

but the idea is this: with the next poem you write to post here, take the time to document (either in real-time or after the fact) and post your "making of" commentary with the poem. topics may include (but are certainly not limited to):




what inspired the poem? was rooted in an observation?


what was the origin of the theme or concept?


why did you decide on certain imagery or metaphor?


why did you choose the form you used? what is the function of rhyme in it? why did you decide on certain line-breaks, etc.?


did you do any research (for instance, inclusion of a mythological reference might require some fact-checking)?


what parts gave you the most difficulty?
anyway, there ya go. i'll participate with the next one i write, and hopefully some of you will do the same. i think it might be illuminating to share our personal process with others.

kyleh767
03-08-2006, 05:10 AM
This is very interesting. I'll keep this in mind when I write my next.

Thanks,
Kyle

rich
03-08-2006, 03:53 PM
Good thread, William. I'll post today--whether my muse is around or not.

rich
03-08-2006, 06:52 PM
this may gain some traction here, but it might well interest no one, so don't worry that my feelings will be hurt if this goes gently into that good night.

but the idea is this: with the next poem you write to post here, take the time to document (either in real-time or after the fact) and post your "making of" commentary with the poem. topics may include (but are certainly not limited to):



what inspired the poem? was rooted in an observation?
what was the origin of the theme or concept?
why did you decide on certain imagery or metaphor?
why did you choose the form you used? what is the function of rhyme in it? why did you decide on certain line-breaks, etc.?
did you do any research (for instance, inclusion of a mythological reference might require some fact-checking)?
what parts gave you the most difficulty?
anyway, there ya go. i'll participate with the next one i write, and hopefully some of you will do the same. i think it might be illuminating to share our personal process with others.
__________________

Sun on a March Morning


The Tabby sprawls on the kitchen tile

Caught in a frame by a sunny window

A tea kettle emits a lazy wisp of steam

Then gains vigor, and shouts.

Dogs bump their way out through the open door

Eight paws pounding the deck

Piercing the cold, quiet morning

Like muffled thunder.

They race to the grass

And frantically nose-paint the layer of frost

Then, in unison, squat.

Steam rises around their haunches.




These are observations as I thought of this exercise. If any inspiriration came, it was when I was rewriting it. I don't know if I can cover all your bases, Will, but I'm sure there'll be some kind of incite.

The first writing was thirty-two lines. It's now boiled down to twelve.

The origin of this was having three dogs scrambling for their morning leaks. I used two dogs so I wouldn't have the reader thinking about too many dogs and why they're in my house--which is a whole nother story.

What was on my mind was how the morning sun, within the shadows of morning, captures so much. Notice how steam is more noticeable, especially on a crisp morning?

Imagery: The sun framing the cat, the wisp of steam followed by a more vigorous flow, etc. Most of it was not so much choosing as it was zeroing in. (whatever that means.)

I don't find line breaks difficult. I don't like to see a piece with too many variations in lengths. If there is some thought, image, etc. that I want the reader to really take note of, I'll try to shorten the line. For instance, "Then, in unison, squat." I didn't want the reader to have any other thought in mind other than that they were taking a leak. I also, inconsciously, stick to some kind of rhythm with the line sizes.

Also, if I were submitting this piece I would rewrite it at least five times more and hold onto it for at least a week.

rich
03-08-2006, 06:55 PM
"Incite," now there's a Freidian Slip.

kdnxdr
03-08-2006, 06:59 PM
What a stew you've pushed me to
I watch and wait to see the fate
of carrots and potatoes.

The globby mess a staple fair
the gravy brown and bubbles
taste is great, the hot I do not care
when seasoning starts my troubles.

Onion is the teary part
garlic spice for life,
pepper is where I always start
tomatoes I slice with knife.

This beef is done
now I'll serve it up,
though no bourguignon
sit with me and sup!




Okay, William.........YOU put me in a stew and got the juices flowing! It's been cookin' and bubblin' every since I read your post......I got burned a few times tasting and trying to work this out......now, my appetite can't wait, gotta put it on the table and eat! LOL Hope you enjoy my home cookin'.

When William offered this opportunity, I was very excited, I love homework! As the heat (thinking excitedly about the project) built up, my head started swirling, thus "stew". As I started throwing ideas "into the pot", the whole thinking process, I visualized them as the staples, thus "carrots and potatoes". When I focused more on the analogy of stew/thinking/poem I took the concept of flavoring a poem emmotionally, "onions/garlic/pepper/tomatoes". "This beef" is the essence of the poem itself and , being self critical, proclaims itself to be "no bourguignon" (emphasized). Just simple "intellectually poor" fair, served with a heartfelt intent to share.

Probably didn't need an explanation, but when I saw that others stayed true to the questions, I felt like I hadn't done the whole assignment.

The hard part was just trying to find words/ways to keep the image together.

kid

oh yeah...........I did pull out the dictionary and then a couple of receipe books as "bourguignon" was a word hiding in a recess of my brain. Had to dredge that one up. I suspected it was a fancy type of beef stew but had to verify. Whew!! It worked out!

Cassie88
03-08-2006, 10:57 PM
When I was writing "Adultery," I couldn't find the right way to present it. I knew I wanted to show how a family is changed by adultery, and I wanted to show this in a concrete way.

I remembered how the house felt the day after and that made think of a house being turned upside down...And then, I pictured a child's drawing of a house... the sun with its rays, the green grass AND it was that image that showed me how to present the poem.

I meant to talk about this after the contest, so I'm happy Will started this thread.

For anyone new to the forum, Adultery is # 34 - top thread in Poetry Critique forum.

NeuroFizz
03-09-2006, 05:25 PM
I happened upon a short summary of the writings of the “Philosopher of Freedom,” John Locke (1632-1704), and hovered for a while over the following quote:

“Good and evil, reward and punishment, are the only motives to a rational creature: these are the spur and reins whereby all mankind are set on work,and guided.”

Locke also supported the idea that the mind was a blank slate, a tabula rasa, that learns through experience—there is no divine knowledge.

Then, I remembered the view put forth in an AW thread by one of our own philosophers (paraphrased and embellished by me)—our basal motivation, our basal behavioral influence, is evil, which we constantly must overcome through effort.

So, I added two plus two and came up with an answer in double figures—I thought about how life can be like a game of pinball…


Recoiled, we release the ball
through a maze of good
to illuminate guideposts,
pointing our way to reward.

To keep the ball in play
requires effort, dexterity,
a tabula rasa, developed
with no deity’s mold.

Points scored for the good
with the reverberating ball
to avoid at all costs
the inevitable fall.

And each ball, celebrated
with light and sound, returns
to the lowest, silent state,
catapulted back to the game.

Until the world falls silent
points counted and reset,
teasing without a victory,
the challenge for all time.

Good found in flight
from the evil ground
or can it be the
other way around?


Thoughts on construction – freeform in stanzas one, two and four, five. Rhyme and meter (a little loose) in three and six.

The final thought (from last stanza) – which is really good and which is really evil? The flashing lights and overt rewards, or the silent background state?

William Haskins
03-09-2006, 07:04 PM
excellent insights, neuro. thanks for showing what went on behind the process.

Stew21
03-09-2006, 07:31 PM
Thanks for this. I did this exercise for myself on the poem I shared here yesterday. (don't want to post it, as it is about childbirth and it may read a bit like an anatomy lesson). ;) but it gave me some insight into my own process and things to consider as I work to improve the poem.
BTW thanks for the suggestions yesterday, I am still working on it...

Trish

ddgryphon
03-15-2006, 03:34 AM
Absalom
-------------
Your black locks
curling down
below your
shoulders
thick with
promise
perfumed by oils
can not match the
depths of
your dark eyes

Speak to me in the
sweet voice that
turns desire
to you

Seduce me with
your eyes,
sweet breath
words of beauty
olive skin shining

Breathe on me
your lies
and I will lie
with you
knowing betrayal
is your only love

_____________________________

though this still needs some tightening, I'm going to see if I can apply William's questions to this writing.

What inspired the poem?

This poem was inspired by emotions evoked when saying Absalom. For some reason it evokes a longing and sadness, and there's no explanation for that (see research).

what was the origin of the theme or concept?

I started with Absalom--no grand theme or concept, just a relation of what I found out about him in a way that makes you go, hm? One of the nice things about it is the evocation of Biblical language, oils/perfumes, they were big on the senses in the Bible.

why did you choose the form you used? what is the function of rhyme in it? why did you decide on certain line-breaks, etc.?

The form is somewhat internal these days. I feel the breaks, placing emphasis on begining words (and sometimes ending words) separating stanzas via concepts or parallels.

Did you do any research?

Just verified that I thought Absalom was a son of David and his story (he attempted to seize power a couple of times, was attractive (like David), and apparently had the gift of speech). All of that found its way into the thing.

what parts gave you the most difficulty?

This is the 4th or 5th edit, just trying to peel things away and clean up the words, the images were quickly set for me, in my mind and I just wrote them down and proceeded to juggle them around and cut out unnecessary words. I think it could still use some tightening, but it is very close. For me, the hardest part is always in the paring down. Sometimes removing a word will suggest a different phrasing. I look to repeat rhythms and sounds and try to create parallels that draw the reader into the piece.


Just to add my own little observation, while this is about Absalom, it isn't so much about him as it is about desire and betrayal or about expectations and experience.

There was a song in the 90's "Strong Enough" which gets to the heart of it as well:

"Lie to me
I promise, I'll believe
Lie to me
but please don't leave"

In some ways, this is my take on that sentiment.

All of this remember was inspired by my love of the name Absalom.

ddgryphon
03-16-2006, 08:43 AM
Okay, here's the latest rewrite:

Absalom

Black locks
curling down
below your
shoulders
thick with
promise
perfumed by oils
unmatched by the
depths of
your dark eyes

Speak to me
in the sweet
voice that
turns desire
to you

Seduce me with
your eyes with
sweet breath with
words of beauty

Caress me with
your olive skin
scented shining

Breathe on me
your lies
and I will lie
with you
knowing betrayal
is your only love

Commentary:
Added some economy of words, and brought more of the sense of touch into it wiht a verse based on a portion of the preceding verse in the previous draft. I believe the sensuality of seduction is more keenly felt in this draft, and the first four stanzas really draw you down to the last.
It is stronger, and I probably need to let it rest for a few days before looking at it again, but if this isn't it, it may be as close as I'll come right now.

Specifics:

In stanza 1: dropped opening your, changed "can not match" to the more immediate, active, and economical "are unmatched"

Stanza 2: No change

Stanza 3: added with (read both versions aloud to see how that change affects rhythm and emphasis) I may have gone overboard with "with" but will have to sleep on it. pulled the "olive skin shining" expaned it to another verse bringing in another sense:

New Stanza: Caress (continuing the structure of action opening each stanza) and clarified the sensation and image of the skin. Much more immediate.

Last stanza: unchanged.


Hope someone gets value out of this.

I also hope more people will do this.

Anya Smith
03-16-2006, 08:49 AM
Recoiled, we release the ball
through a maze of good
to illuminate guideposts,
pointing our way to reward.

To keep the ball in play
requires effort, dexterity,
a tabula rasa, developed
with no deity’s mold.

Points scored for the good
with the reverberating ball
to avoid at all costs
the inevitable fall.

And each ball, celebrated
with light and sound, returns
to the lowest, silent state,
catapulted back to the game.

Until the world falls silent
points counted and reset,
teasing without a victory,
the challenge for all time.

Good found in flight
from the evil ground
or can it be the
other way around?


Very nice, NeuroFizz.

poetinahat
03-18-2006, 03:16 PM
Here's my take on The Ancients (http://www.absolutewrite.com/forums/showthread.php?p=531642#post531642):


what was the origin of the theme or concept?

I started out wanting to write about how jazz feels to me. I was listening to Coleman Hawkins at the time, and I intended to do some sort of word-painting to capture the sound and emotion.

But 'jazz' is a giant subject, and I have difficulty narrowing my subject scope to a size appropriate for a poem.

I realised that I'd somehow have to explain the type of jazz I was describing (bebop, cool, dixieland, fusion, etc.). And I just can't get away from Coltrane, Miles and Monk. So, I decided to address them specifically.


why did you decide on certain imagery or metaphor?

The poem started out treating them metaphorically: Coltrane as the enigmatic Sphinx, Miles as the Egyptian god Ptah ('shaper of the world, father of gods'), and Monk as, well... another Egyptian god. After Coltrane, the connections became tenuous, and I felt the result would have been an abstruse mess: the sphinx playing a saxophone? Hmmm.

So, I treated them as Ancients -- they weren't that long ago, but they've completely reshaped modern music between them. So the notion of them as godlike figures was easy to approach.

Once I'd decided that, I tapped into the moods their works create in me.


why did you choose the form you used? what is the function of rhyme in it? why did you decide on certain line-breaks, etc.?

Using the same structure and similar lines for each of the three verses gave me a way of working on them in parallel. It also helped me identify the contrasts between the three artists: Coltrane does this for me; what does Miles do? Monk?

Drawing the first three verses to a feeling associated with (arguably) their most famous titles seemed a good, tight solution.

The final 'as he did' in each verse emphasizes that each man conveyed his thoughts and feelings to the listener.

I used the final period in the epilogue for contrast: the 'as he did' is not echoed. The 'saints come marching in' line was to provide context in the history of jazz: these gods/saints are in the same pantheon with their predecessors such as Louis Armstrong.


did you do any research (for instance, inclusion of a mythological reference might require some fact-checking)?

I had a cursory look into Egyptian mythology. Once I decided not to use that metaphor, I stopped.


what parts gave you the most difficulty?

The ending. Without a doubt. I wrote several, and this one was my favorite. I'm still not sure of it.

I thought about not having an epilogue, but I wanted to tie the work together as a poem, with a proper conclusion, rather than three separate friezes.

ddgryphon
03-18-2006, 06:20 PM
PIAH:

Great insight to this process (and a nice bit of process it is). I really like the idea of likening them to ancient gods -- though you didn't pursue it, you may think about applying it elsewhere as it is a really interesting idea.

I'm still in gush mode over this, so I have to think about the conclusion more. This one is nice (and the tying them into their predecessors with "Saints" and just the implications of that particular choice, is excellent. (You could have chosen so many things, this is a resonate choice).

Thank you for sharing your process and this set.

dahmnait
03-18-2006, 06:40 PM
If I Were A Poet (http://www.absolutewrite.com/forums/showthread.php?t=29027) was posted a few days ago, but I have kept this thread in my mind, ruminating. I am hoping the questions will go away if I answer them. http://www.absolutewrite.com/forums/images/smilies/wink.gif

what inspired the poem? was rooted in an observation? what was the origin of the theme or concept?
I was sifting through my papers, looking for older work that was salvageable when I ran across the line, "If I were a poet". I had jotted down this possible topic years ago and then promptly forgot about it. Something resonated when I read the line, and the poem formed from there.

why did you decide on certain imagery or metaphor? I wanted to keep the imagery concise while conveying the concept of poetry in a broad sense. The first four verses are examples of different topics and forms of poems that I have written and/or read, broken down to bare essentials. The poem covers imagery and form, life, love and politics.

The last lines came to me after I wrote first verse. I needed a way to tie the first four verses to the last, hence the form of my muse. At that moment, when I thought of my muse, I had a firm image of rinsing salad through a colander. I liked the mental image of ideas escaping through tiny holes in my mind. I also wanted to include the irony of not being able to turn a verse when I had just written four.

why did you choose the form you used? what is the function of rhyme in it? why did you decide on certain line-breaks, etc.? Form and line break placement is always the hardest for me. I tend to go for what flows out first, then I go back and edit for readability. There was little editing needed on this one, my creative mind knowing better what flows than my working mind.

what parts gave you the most difficulty? The third verse was the only one that gave me real problems. (Not surprising as this is the verse on love and beauty.) When I read the poem, the verse didn't flow as well as the others. The original verse did not have the same amount of lines, nor did it end in one word as the rest of the verses. I had to get one more image in there and change the ending to get the verse to flow with the rest of the poem.

ETA: I forgot the problems I had with the title. The original title was "If Only". Thanks to louisgoodwin and a handy 2x4, the title was changed.

All in all, I am quite pleased with the finished poem. Sometimes I surprise myself. http://www.absolutewrite.com/forums/images/smilies/smile.gif (Now, these questions need to go away and free that part of my mind for other work.)

Interesting thread William. I enjoy seeing the process people go through creating a poem.

JRH
03-22-2006, 05:55 AM
Ireland 1972 - A Fragment

Eagle pyrning in a gyre,
Wings of azure, eyes of fire;

Cry the holocaust a'nearing.
The ghost of William Yeats is stirring.

Cry the fires of Ireland burning.
The ghost of William Yeats is turning.

Cry your cry, so agonizing.
The ghost of William Yeats is rising.

Cry the Irish heroes a'sleeping.
The ghost of William Yeats is weeping.

Echo the sounds of Ireland, dying.
The ghost of William Yeats is crying.

Cry with Yeats, poor Ireland's plight.
Cry the coming of the night.

Copyright (c) Spring 1972 James R. Hoye

********

When I first posted "Ireland 1972 - A Fragment", it was suggested by DDGryphon and Saritams8 that I discuss it here, and I have to admit that I was hesitant to do so, because it is, after all, 34 years old, and I'm not at all sure how clearly I can remember all the elements that went into it's creation. nor do I think I can do so in the linear fashion suggested here

What inspired the poem? was rooted in an observation?

The inspiration was 2-fold. I, at that time, had just concluded a year and 1/2 of Grad School working towards a Masters in English, (and had dropped out over disillusionment with the emphasis on scholarship over teaching at that level), and had been focused on, (and immersed in), the Poetry of Yeats, Eliot, and Frost, as I considered them to represent the Pinnacle of English
Language Poetry, (with Yeats being my favorite).

I had long considered writing a tribute to each of them, and the unrest in Ireland had always been a major part of Yeat's life, (and the history of
Ireland), so I felt that any tribute to him should, at least, include such.

What was the origin of the theme or concept?

In 1972, Violence erupted in Northern Ireland with the events of "Bloody Sunday, (where British troops fired on Irish protesters who were parading without a permit), and which many thought would lead to civil war based on Religion (Catholic/Protestant), Politics, (Unionist, Republican Irish) and Historical, (Norman, Celt, English, and Native Irish) divisions, and, as I'm of Irish descent. (descented from a long line of O'Hoeys). It seemed a fine time to combine those current events with that long envisioned Tribute to Yeats.

why did you decide on certain imagery or metaphor?

Most of the imagery was borrowed from Yeat's himself as I considered that the best way to tie the poem to him. I decided on using a bird as the focal point, as such could overlook the land and provide an overview of what was happening, and I selected an Eagle, (as opposed to the Falcon which might have been more appropriate to Yeats), because the Eagle is equally fierce and far more majestic.

In refreshing my memory, in order to write this, I came across the fact that, when Yeat's wife began her automatic readings on his behalf, Yeats was characterized as an Eagle, (for his straight literal view of things), and his wife was compared to a butterfly (For her freedom of thought), and it may well be that, (as I had been studying The Vision" and all of Yeat's life in detail that recently), there was also a "subconscious" element in that choice.

I decided on using the image of Yeat's crying over Ireland because he was an Irish Patriot and involved in Ireland's struggles thoughout his life and it was obvious that the new outbreak would have distubed him greatly as he had long championed Irish unity.

The phrases "Pyrning" and "Gyre" occur often in Yeat's work, and I was fascinated with the visual image of the former, (as representing grace and beauty) and the latter, for the philisophical concept which reflected changing details in a repeating pattern in all forms of life. Moreover I included them both in a literal sense and as an allusion to Yeat's own works. (particularly as they had been concerned with Ireland's struggles.

The final lines were based on the concept that "Bloody Sunday" would actually bring a final conflict and end to Ireland as we knew it.

Why did you choose the form you used? what is the function of rhyme in it?

The form of rhymed couples was chosen so that packets of thought could be progressively grouped together and the tone was designed to reflect that of "The Second Coming", partly as another allusion and partly because that was one of the most powerful and effective of Yeat's poems.

Why did you decide on certain line-breaks, etc.?

I separated the couplets in order to place emphasis on each particular image and reinforce the concept of "progression".

Did you do any research (for instance, inclusion of a mythological reference might require some fact-checking)?

Because I had studied Yeats (and particularly his Poetry) so recently, little research was necessary, but I undoubtedly reviewed poems such as "Easter 1916", "Nineteen Hundred and Nineteen", "Meditations in Time of War" and of couse "The Second Coming" to get a feel for the "historical" conflicts that have filled Ireland's History.

What parts gave you the most difficulty?

Actually, none of what is written down, proved to be a problem once I got going because it flowed as easily as "Xanadu" is said to have done for Coleridge, but it was titled "a fragment", because, although it was complete, in and of itself, it was meant to be part of a larger poem that celebrated all of Yeat's life and Poetry. regrettably I never got back to it and the the remainder never got written.

I freely admit that many aspects might have been forgotten and/or misremembered in putting this together, although I hope this encompasses all that you would wish to know about this poem's construction, to the extent such can.

Jim Hoye

William Haskins
03-22-2006, 05:57 AM
thank you all so much for contributing to this thread.

Billytwice
03-31-2006, 03:43 AM
Little Tin Time Machine

Little tin time-machine,
Take me back to where I've been,
Show me all the things I've seen,
So many years ago.

Little tin time-machine,
That's powered by the nicotine,
Oh menthol-flavoured Hippocrene,
I adore you so!

As I watch the years roll by,
I take a sniff and gently sigh,
Whilst in the corner of my eye,
A tear may quietly grow.

For blue scarred Idris, old and round,
Who spat brown oysters to the ground,
Now the answer; he has found
To the final question.

Little, tin, time-machine,
Take me back to where I've been,
Show me all the things I've seen,
Before I too, have t’go.





What inspired the poem? Was it rooted in an observation?

I took a couple of pinches of J&H Wilsons Medicated 99 snuff and the aroma, texture, and nicotine hit instantly evoked memories of my first pinch of snuff 30 or more years ago.



What was the origin of the theme or concept?


The instant memories and the way I was forced to stop what I was doing and spend time thinking about those memories




Why did you decide on certain imagery or metaphor?


The evocation of memories brought on by the firey tang of the menthol flavouring. It stopped me in my tracks and the thought hit me; the tin the snuff came in was actually a mini time machine.



Why did you choose the form you used? what is the function of rhyme in it? why did you decide on certain line-breaks.



I’m new to writting poetry. I like the ‘standard?’ four lines to a verse and use of rhymes at the end of each line as it’s what I’m used to as far as poetry goes.

I chose to end each of the first three lines in each verse with a rhyme as it seems right? (Does that make sense?) I think it has something to do with the beat of the lines in each verse rising with each line and then fading away with the last line.



Did you do any research (for instance, inclusion of a mythological reference might require some fact-checking)?



I searched the web based dictionaries looking for a word to descibe a source of poetic inspiration. I eventually found ‘Hippocrene’ and guess what, it fitted in meaning, rhyme and tempo. Lucky or what?



What parts gave you the most difficulty?

Chosing a memory to include to give a clue to the meaning of the poem. Eventually I picked on Idris, an old collier who also used snuff back in the 70’s. Blue scarred gives a clue to his occupation.

Paint
04-02-2006, 12:32 AM
Shoebox F of T was inspired by a book, The Painted Drum by Louise Erdrich. In it is a line that would not leave me alone. "Just like a white lady, so stingy with her tears she kept them."
William's poem "the boy who lives in a notebook" had me thinking about my journals and how I run to them with important occasions.

So these two thoughts merged when I reflected on 'what would I do if I kept my tears?'
Two days later after reading both these things I woke up with lines in my head.
Imagery and form are instinctive with me. I like free form poetry, lyrical and I am fair at meter. I don't rhyme naturally like some poets do and I certainly admire that gift. I just sit down and write. If something does not feel or sound right I rewrite it. And rewrite it. I work with a pencil first, although sometimes I can create on the computer. I do love the look of a neat well written poem on white paper with ink.
The most difficult part of the poem was, 1. title 2. first line 3. last line, because I know these are critical and can not be mundane.
I feel it is a successful poem because I can read it over and over and still like it.
The way this poem was inspired and written is my favorite way to write a poem. Second is the poetry game in which a single word jumps out and a whole picture follows.

Paint