AW Poetry Contest "Space" Discussion Thread

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Kylabelle

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That was fast!
 

Kylabelle

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Several surprises in there! Congratulations to the winners, and my main regret is that the poet whose entry ended with the line "Mo fuggin' Pluto" remains anonymous. I got a kick out of that one.
 

CassandraW

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So. How many of you played spot-the-poet, and how accurately did you guess?

I didn't spot anyone on a first read, but I picked out William on the second (as I should, after reading so much of his work). I was thrown at first by his use of the minutes at the top of each stanza; I'm not sure why. But once I started really looking at language, "presses her essence,/some whispering echo,/flush against a lusterless window" and "Incisions/invisible played on her throat/like a bow across trembling strings" gave him away.

I correctly guessed Magdalen on the third or fourth read. "I
n telescoping visionary flashbacks/(simulating 60’s-style sensory overload)/while celestial swells pulse." Who else could it be?

With less certainty I thought I had Kie -- I've read less of his work, but "taunting farewell steps behind a cloak/of broken glow and whispering cigarettes" sounded like him. I wouldn't have made a bet on it, but I am pleased I got it right.

Ambrosia, you fooled me completely. I never guessed that one was yours.

Steppe, I guessed you by the process of elimination. I wouldn't have put money on it, but if I had, that would have been the one. None of the other poems sounded like you. This one doesn't look quite like your usual style either, but more so than the others. And "watched frozen rivers silver on the windows" had your ring to it.

Weirdly enough, despite having seen none of her poetry, I guessed Shakey's correctly, though again I wouldn't have bet on it. I don't know a damn thing about how she uses language in a poem. But I've read tons of her posts, reps, PMs, etc., and somehow it sounded like her. I'm rather delighted with myself for that one.

 
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Kylabelle

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Good score there, Cass. I also recognized William's poem, and skelly's. However, I didn't pick anyone else's correctly, at all.

One of my top favorites, though I didn't end up voting for it, is # 20. strangers in ennui, by _city_ . I found it strong, poignant and moving, and with no false notes. In the end it didn't get a vote from me largely because it had a much more oblique relationship to the theme than my other favorites -- in my sense of things!

I confess I gave a vote to skelly's poem, # 3. Prehistoric Animals, because I utterly love the memory of the Viewmaster. Invoking that ancient bit of toydom in a way I could recognize it impressed me no end.

I wanted to be surprised, and I wanted the poems I chose to open a space inside me. I think part of how I chose what to vote for was how big a space the poem opened up! Of course that is entirely subjective, and I did not even consider trying to decide which poems were the "best" or "better" according to any standard but subjective ones. I may have had opinions about that, well, I did have, but that was a deeply secondary consideration when it came to it.
 
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Ambrosia

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I didn't play guess the poet at all. I just read the poems and tried to arrive at some method to begin eliminating them from the group so I could choose only three. It was a very tough contest for me as a reader because the poems were just so good. When I had it narrowed down to 7, I saw light at the end of the tunnel. When I got down to 5, I thought, "there is no way I am going to be able to do this!" At 4, I thought I was in hell because I had a decision to make that I didn't want to make--at all.

I still say 3 is too few to vote on. I would set it at 5. But then, with the caliber of poems in this contest, I imagine if the number was 5 I would still have felt cheated limiting it to "just" 5. No way around it. It was tough for me.
 

shakeysix

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I had a feeling that K-belles was hers. Don't know why. I never guessed Swanny as the Mahler Redeemer. I sent Demeter's poem to a friend but I plan to memorize that one. It's what people used to do before there were screen shots. I enjoyed every one. Choosing only three was tough.

There are no other poems by me. This was the first poem I have written since college. I dread submitting stuff but the feedback made it easier. I enjoyed the contest more than I thought I would. I'm pretty sure I'd do it again. --s6
 
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Kylabelle

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Shakey, your poem is delightful!

Ambrosia, I agree, it was a rich field of choice.
 

lacygnette

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Shakey - I didn't know you had submitted but your poem was Kansas. And the last lines fantastic.

I loved the ViewMaster poem. And Kyla's took some parsing, but I thought it superb. The "song" had a beautiful rhythm and the whole poem led to the last line.

Anyway, congrats to all, winners and not. This was fun!
 

CassandraW

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Good score there, Cass.

I didn't play guess the poet at all.

Heh. I was certain I'd pick most of the regulars out immediately. I was somewhat chagrined that no one popped out at first read; I felt a bit better after William and Mag jumped out and said hello to me. I feel like I should have guessed Kyla's, but I didn't, though that was one of the possibilities for me.

Playing guess the poet was one way for me to hone in the language and style. And it's fun!

I must admit I gave no weight at all to how well (or whether) the poems adhered to the theme.
 

Kylabelle

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We need DISCUSS_BOT now.

Where is everybody???
 

CassandraW

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voters are all alike. two or three quick votes, and then they're out with the other voters to boast and brag.

pfft. discussion.

ETA:

after today, I'll probably be pretty much gone until Monday night. They'll all be devastated they missed this opportunity to discuss with me, but it serves them right.
 
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shakeysix

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I started by approaching them like grading on the 6 trait rubric. I subbed imagery for word choice; cadence and rhyme for conventions. And then I thought WTF shake???? Poems ain't essays.

So then I decided on choosing the three that most caught me behind the knees-- Playlist did that, and the sleeping in a sweaty bed with a cat (SO MY LIFE), and the one about never running fast enough really slapped me in the face because I never try hard at anything till the last minute, like this wretched contest, who knew they were all going to be so good? .... then I thought WTF, shake? How subjective can you get? This is POETRY! A poem should be motionless in time--not my line by the way--not influenced by the individual readers sphere of experience.

So then I decided to go for the most concise, crispest presentation of images. Of course that was easy for me--the untitled one about the office space--but then there was the only one space suit poem and then they all started being concise and crisp in their own way. And so I thought SCREW IT. I'm not voting.

Then I thought well, that's not fair to everyone else.... and then I thought, I'll sleep on it. It will come to me in the morning. That didn't help, although I did dream about dinosaurs and suicide.

So how did I come up with my choices? Damned if I know--s6
 
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Kylabelle

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Shakey, thanks for participating and for voting! I am terribly curious about why some who entered didn't vote. I mean, I mean....

*confused*

Also, Cass, have a great weekend and if we're gone when you get back, well, that will just be one more of life's little mysteries won't it? By now, they've added up, if you're anything like me, to the kind of jumbled pile that begins to be highly ignorable.

Until I stub my toe on it again.
 

Ambrosia

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My only criterion when I started narrowing down poems was that it must have the word "space" either in the title or in the poem. I know I eliminated good poems with that criterion, but I had to start somewhere or I would still be pulling my hair out trying to make a decision.

After that, it got more difficult.
 

CassandraW

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My only criterion when I started narrowing down poems was that it must have the word "space" either in the title or in the poem. I know I eliminated good poems with that criterion, but I had to start somewhere or I would still be pulling my hair out trying to make a decision.

After that, it got more difficult.

Heh. I often, when writing a poem, set myself the challenge of writing about a concept without ever using a particular obvious word or words, just to see if I can make my meaning clear without it. (e.g., when I wrote "unfelled," which centered around a tree image, I did not use "tree" "branch" "limb" "roots", etc.) If I decide that the poem cries out to use any of those words, I'll at least know I'm not just being lazy in using them.

So alas, you likely would have eliminated me in the first cut! I'll have to keep that in mind if I ever do enter a contest. I'll bet you're not the only one who did that.

(hospice uses the word "space," of course, but that was never going to be entered in the contest. I didn't set myself any clever challenges in writing that one, and oddly enough, despite not planning to enter, the contest and the word space acted as a catalyst for my writing it. Inspiration is a weird thing!)
 

Sarita

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My only criterion when I started narrowing down poems was that it must have the word "space" either in the title or in the poem. I know I eliminated good poems with that criterion, but I had to start somewhere or I would still be pulling my hair out trying to make a decision.

After that, it got more difficult.
I hadn't even considered this, mostly because the theme was so broad and space could be inferred by the poem, but not stated in it.

I did an initial read through with a list of numbers. I put a star next to the ones that made me want to read them again. Before throwing the others out, I read through them one more time, because often I'm too thick to see things on my first read. From there, I had 8 poems and continued to whittle. I wasn't looking for familiar styles, but it was hard to deny a couple of them.

cbronco, I thought it was interesting that we both chose to use Greek mythology as a base for our poems, my friend :)
 

CassandraW

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I hadn't even considered this, mostly because the theme was so broad and space could be inferred by the poem, but not stated in it.

I did an initial read through with a list of numbers. I put a star next to the ones that made me want to read them again. Before throwing the others out, I read through them one more time, because often I'm too thick to see things on my first read. From there, I had 8 poems and continued to whittle. I wasn't looking for familiar styles, but it was hard to deny a couple of them.

This is similar to what I did.

I eliminated a good half on the first read. (and no, I shall not say which half!) I gave them all a second read, but didn't change my mind on any I'd eliminated. But for the rest, my reaction to them evolved on the next few reads. A couple had a strong appeal on round one that waned as I began to consider them in more depth (no, I won't say which ones!), while others appealed to me more and more on each read.

And as part of the process, I had fun listening for voices I knew. That wasn't my basis for choosing, but I do think it helped me focus in on the poems.
 
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Kylabelle

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Personally, I want to know everything. Always. Who voted for whom, why, how many votes each poem got, all that. (Not that I expect to find out much of that.) Although I felt solid in my choices I would probably have a hard time saying why, beyond the "opened up a good sized space inside" criterion I already mentioned. But I could do it.
 

Kylabelle

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The old god, too, writes aureate poetry
In tarnished modes, maundering among the wastes,
Fair chronicler of every foul declension.
Age, and ages of prose, have uncoiled
His talking whirlwind, abated his excessive temper
When words, like locusts, drummed the darkening air
And left the cobs to rattle, bitten clean.

Ouija
 

Sarita

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I've had this grandiose plan that I would comment on each poem, much like WH did, providing details about what I liked, but I haven't had the time yet. What's the hive consensus? Would I post that here? Or somewhere else for the poets to see? I've had a few personal comments about my poem and I've sent a couple, but I'd like to be inclusive and take my time. And it would be nice to actually, you know, discuss the poems. Now that we can't influence votes. ;)
 

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