3/16/2020 2:03:53 AM
This is my first ever poem. It is inspired by, as stated within, a dream. Having time to form it into word is a consequence of being unable to work and being stuck in China!
My background is Anthropology, hence the title being a verbal phrase formed of two Sociologists surnames - any knowledge of their work would really help clarify my intent - but after numerous revisions I hope this work: a) qualifies as a poem(!)b) has merit c) a message that is abstract yet discernible to the common reader d) a clear direction of time and coherent continuity.
Any sincere critique will be gratefully received. Many thanks.
I awoke this morning with a profound vision of a painting. A sort of Baroque ensemble of consequence, still lingering upon my conscience.
I've put it to pen, since it's quicker than painting. The contortion of life via exploitation, from sacred to the profane:
To live most natural is to imbibe from the elements of nature.
The canvas sets a scene of rolling hills from back to foreground untouched, except gaze. Some people admire the warmth of the sun, kissed by the rays. Peaceful, unadultered, not yet restrained.
To desire another is to co-opt, to milk, to press grapes with the other.
Across, others sip wine. Enrolled in playful acts of elation. Now seeing the reward natures vines of harvest provide them. No longer new. Able to take advantage of balmy days.
To groom the weeds of the idle think industry men. Striving to lay ownership of all in front of them.
In the lowest right of the work, barely within the frame. A darkened coloration of auburn, perhaps a trees shade. A wizened few smoke-rounded, toke in orchestration. Contriving and prioritizing alternative ways. There but not present. Daydreaming our dreams of past days away.
To metamorphose love into self-loathing. We now synthesize the serotonin.
Outside of the frame is the simulacra. The fought rights of the worker became frayed. We peddle our fortunes, distracted with nonsense. Killing ourselves to capture something. All of the while, running away. Business as usual, each to their own. Ignoring the troubles that lead us astray.
What is The End?
3/18/2020 1:05:06 PM
A) yes, qualifies as a poem
B) yes, has merit
C) yes, the style is abstract; wether or not a message is discernible will be directly dependent on the capacity of the reader to penetrate the abstraction
D) not sure what you mean about a clear direction of time; the scene appears to be non linear. Also not sure what you mean by coherent continuity; it feels like one poem, and doesnt seem to be disjointed.
“Was that the end?” - i found the final stanza to be the most compelling. It seemed to end just when it really got started.
I think it would do to point out the distinction between abstraction and impressionism, the latter still possessing a quality of clarity and imagism.
Your poem offers the reader two spaces, the canvas and outside the frame. The frame is a poetic boundary that divides the world of the canvas from the world of the gallery. I would segregate the content of your poem similarly - when we are in the canvas, let it be only images, color, motion, space, impressions of people and places; outside the canvas, the grey gravitas of abstract thoughts. There is the potential to lend these thoughts a quality of hyperrealism, though there are no images.
Your poem only flirts with true images, and its strength is really more a journalistic observation of human nature. Keep what images you have crystal clear, make them synnergistic to the thoughts. Let the poem’s sense of abstraction come from the ideological narration that creates the context for the images.
At the moment you have an admixture of abstraction in your canvas section.
Structurally, your anaphora “to live, to desire, to groom, to metamorphose” is very sound, and pleasing; however, each starts off the stanza in the abstract. It labors the sensual clarity of the stanza - it puts the mind in intellect-mode, so when the stanza transitions to sensory-mode, it has to make a little leap to switch tracks. These thoughts might be better at the end of the stanzas or outside the canvas beyond the frame altogether.
Because your poem is very thought oriented, I would pay special attention to how you present your images:
‘The canvas sets the scene of of rolling hills from back to foreground untouched...’
‘The canvas sets the scene...’ interposes itself between the reader and directly experiencing the image ‘rolling hill’, and is also redundanf because your colon at the end of the previous stanza indicates we are entering the canvas. In this line the canvas is the subject, and sets is the verb - it is not possible to imagine a canvas setting anything, not in a concrete way - it is an idea, an abstraction, almost a personification. Compare to:
Hills roll from back to foreground
Here the subject is the hills, the imagination goes right to them; rolls is the verb - while hills cannot literally roll, the physicality can be seen and felt in a concrete and sensous way. With the words back and foreground, it is perfectly clear we have entered the world of the canvas.
Verbs are the most powerful part of a line. Adjectives are, usually, the weakest part of the line. It is possible to write an entirely profound poem without adjectives; not so without verbs. Verbs are activity, verbs express the will, the want, the yearning of a thing, its spirit, its essence. Adjectives can be debased as the author micromanaging the perception of the reader, though sometimes they are absolutely necessary for the sake of clarity.
Saying ‘hills roll’, ever so subtly gives them a will, makes them a spirit, ever so softly suggests they are seeking something, are not satisfied with being still. ‘Rolling hills’ is simply a tableau, telling the reader they are; in a rather counter intuitive way, it is an objectification.
Saying ‘... untouched, except gaze.’ seems to be emphasizing something of particular significance, as it is natural that only gaze could touch the hills. It’s not clear to me what it signifies though.
You have an intriguing affinity for alliteration that I cant discern to be deliberate or accidental. In particular you seem fond of long a sounds, especially in the final word of phrases:
Painting, exploitation, profane, nature, gaze, rays, restrained, grapes, playful, elation, natures, days, lay, frame, shade, orchestration, ways, daydreaming, days, away, frame, frayed, away, astray.
In stanza 1 you have an interesting run of k sounds, p sounds, that all converge with the long a in the word ‘exploitation’
K - awoke, Baroque, consequence, conscience, quicker, contortion, explotation, sacred
P - profound, painting, upon, put, pen, painting, exploitation, profane
A - painting, exploitation, sacred, profane
K and p are essentially the same action of the vocal tract, but k is pronounced in the throat and p is pronounced with the lips; they’re both unvoiced consonants.
So, all in all my main suggestion is to allow the frame to have a geuine force as a boundary between imagery and abstract thought. The frame has no reality as a physical structure, but it can be given the illusion of reality as a geuine poetic structure.
Good luck. Hope something was useful. Take all with a grain of salt. Loved the thoughts in the last stanza; i think it shows your voice off best. You would make a great existential-journalist/ poet. Trust your strengths; craddle your flaws.
3/26/2020 12:28:04 PM
It seems I’ve misused the word alliteration. It seems the correct terms would be consonance and assonance.
No worries. All of it is just food for thought. You might try it out and decide you like the original better. Just ideas to play with. Have fun!
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