A fictional disparity (was - On reading separate books)

This is a serious poetry forum not a "love-in". Post here for more detailed, constructive criticism.
Nash

A fictional disparity (was - On reading separate books)

Post by Nash » Sun Dec 04, 2011 10:18 pm

.


1st rewrite

I glance across at you from the gloom
of a mid 20th century back-alley,
stark and hunted,
to see an aristocratic attitude;
thoughts of ribbons and Regencies
surround your half of the room.
And though, for a moment, we’re displaced,
our legs still entwine on the small settee.





original

Although our legs entwine on the small settee
we temporarily inhabit different worlds.
I glance across at you from the gloom
of a mid 20th century back-street,
stark and hunted,
to see an aristocratic attitude,
thoughts of ribbons and Regency balls
fill your half of the room and all is music there.

Between us a sleeping terrier twitches
and growls blindly at the day’s adventures.





~
Last edited by Nash on Tue Dec 06, 2011 8:40 pm, edited 1 time in total.

brianedwards
Perspicacious Poster
Perspicacious Poster
Posts: 5375
Joined: Tue Jul 22, 2008 7:35 am
antispam: no
Location: Japan
Contact:

Re: On reading separate books

Post by brianedwards » Mon Dec 05, 2011 12:07 am

Do we really need the dog at the end? I think it works better ending with the music. L8 a little too long?

Something special brewing here Nash.

B.

brianedwards
Perspicacious Poster
Perspicacious Poster
Posts: 5375
Joined: Tue Jul 22, 2008 7:35 am
antispam: no
Location: Japan
Contact:

Re: On reading separate books

Post by brianedwards » Mon Dec 05, 2011 12:29 am

Forgot to mention, does the title need to mention the "separate books"? It quickly becomes clear in the poem doesn't it?

B.

Mic
Preternatural Poster
Preternatural Poster
Posts: 1758
Joined: Tue Jun 02, 2009 10:58 am
antispam: no
Contact:

Re: On reading separate books

Post by Mic » Mon Dec 05, 2011 6:37 am

This is a lovely idea Nash, but I think it slightly lets itself down in the execution. Not too much though. Could perhaps be tightened up a bit. At first I liked the idea of the dog also being absorbed in his world, but I'm inclined to agree with Brian that perahps it would be better to end with the music.

And the extended shape of that first stanza, with the mirroring (almost) of the lines top and bottom is very nice.

I think I feel differently from Brian about the title. There is something quirky about the 'separate' books that will get this one more reads in the anthology.

Like it very much.

Mic
"Do not feel lonely, the entire universe is inside you" - Rumi

brianedwards
Perspicacious Poster
Perspicacious Poster
Posts: 5375
Joined: Tue Jul 22, 2008 7:35 am
antispam: no
Location: Japan
Contact:

Re: On reading separate books

Post by brianedwards » Mon Dec 05, 2011 7:15 am

Mic wrote:
And the extended shape of that first stanza, with the mirroring (almost) of the lines top and bottom is very nice.


I think the bottom line has too many monosyllables, causing a stuttery effect that made me feel the line was too long. L1 is much smoother by comparison.

User avatar
twoleftfeet
Perspicacious Poster
Perspicacious Poster
Posts: 6761
Joined: Wed Dec 07, 2005 4:02 pm
Location: Standing by a short pier, looking for a long run-up

Re: On reading separate books

Post by twoleftfeet » Mon Dec 05, 2011 11:52 am

Nash,

It's a cracking idea.

As it stands it's a pleasing picture of contented domesticity because you are happy to "give the game away" in the title. but

what if you were to:
Drop the "dog" lines or move them to the beginning
Move L1 & L2 to the end
Finish with the the title(-ish) ?

- that would have confused the hell out of me and created a false tension where none really exists. :)

Just a suggestion, and I still like it very much as it is.

Geoff
Instead of just sitting on the fence - why not stand in the middle of the road?

Suzanne
Perspicacious Poster
Perspicacious Poster
Posts: 4898
Joined: Sun Oct 19, 2008 4:46 pm
antispam: no
Location: Land of the Midnight Sun

Re: On reading separate books

Post by Suzanne » Mon Dec 05, 2011 2:19 pm

Nash,
Wonderful. Very inviting. And so gentle.

I would ditch the dog. I think the poem says much about the N's relationship to fellow reader and the dog only adds scenery where none is needed.

And while I think Geoff's idea of a switch is quite interesting, I think that poem is really pleasing as is (sans dog).

The title? Hmm... I shrug. It's okay but it suggests, on living separate lives, on taking separate roads... I know that is not what it says but it puts a distance between the two readers deeper than what the poem conveys. Just my opinion.

Nice poem.
Suzanne

User avatar
twoleftfeet
Perspicacious Poster
Perspicacious Poster
Posts: 6761
Joined: Wed Dec 07, 2005 4:02 pm
Location: Standing by a short pier, looking for a long run-up

Re: On reading separate books

Post by twoleftfeet » Mon Dec 05, 2011 2:31 pm

Suzanne wrote:
The title? Hmm... I shrug. It's okay but it suggests, on living separate lives, on taking separate roads... I know that is not what it says but it puts a distance between the two readers deeper than what the poem conveys. Just my opinion.

Nice poem.
Suzanne
Hmm.. yes, maybe there is some real tension there after all.

It's open to interpretation - and that's no bad thing.
Instead of just sitting on the fence - why not stand in the middle of the road?

Suzanne
Perspicacious Poster
Perspicacious Poster
Posts: 4898
Joined: Sun Oct 19, 2008 4:46 pm
antispam: no
Location: Land of the Midnight Sun

Re: On reading separate books

Post by Suzanne » Mon Dec 05, 2011 2:42 pm

Oh! yes.... ahhh

and then the dog actually represents an underlying twitching growl.
I take bad some of what I said.

Nice poem, Nash.

Tim Love
Persistent Poster
Persistent Poster
Posts: 138
Joined: Fri Nov 04, 2011 9:55 pm
Contact:

Re: On reading separate books

Post by Tim Love » Mon Dec 05, 2011 3:03 pm

Without the dog it's a pleasant enough, but the dog (a terrier, and the N's hunted) adds an edge, symbolising the relationship between the people - something currently dormant. The dog's dreaming about the day's reality. The people are escaping from their days' adventures into different dreams. Perhaps they're entwined only because a small settee is all they have. The title isn't "On reading different books".

Nash

Re: On reading separate books

Post by Nash » Mon Dec 05, 2011 6:16 pm

Thanks very much all.

I think I may have been a bit hasty in posting this. It was a first draft, pencil sketch of a moment sort of thing and I was pretty happy with it at the time.

Good call on the title Brian (sorry Michaela, I think I agree with Brian here), I've got another title in mind now. Good call on that monosyllabic line too.

I like your ideas for changing the order of the lines Geoff, I'll definitely take that into account with the rewrite.

Thanks Suzanne, I may well let the sleeping dog lie with this one. The idea of the dog, as Tim (hello and thanksTim, I don' t think we've met before) sort of suggested, was to serve as a juxtaposition. The dog living in the moment acting as a pivot between the two readers living in their separate made-up worlds. Not sure if that's really necessary though and I may well do away with the dog (in the poem, not the real one!)

Cheers folks, I'll have a play around with it, I may try and flesh it out a bit more too.

Nash.

JohnLott
Preponderant Poster
Preponderant Poster
Posts: 1326
Joined: Tue Feb 22, 2011 9:35 pm
Location: Devon

Re: On reading separate books

Post by JohnLott » Mon Dec 05, 2011 6:53 pm

The dog is integral to their lives, the dog links the dichotomy of we are together but we are apart -public space, private space. It would be a pity to put him down, so to speak.
Good poem.

:)

J.
Before you shave with Occam’s razor - Try epilation or microlaser

David
Moderator
Moderator
Posts: 13716
Joined: Sat Feb 18, 2006 4:40 pm
Location: Ellan Vannin

Re: On reading separate books

Post by David » Mon Dec 05, 2011 7:25 pm

I like this as it is, Nash, but I think it's going to get better, so I look forward to seeing your revision. And I like the title as is.

Cheers

David

Arian
Perspicacious Poster
Perspicacious Poster
Posts: 2718
Joined: Tue Aug 11, 2009 8:41 am
antispam: no
Location: Hertfordshire, UK

Re: On reading separate books

Post by Arian » Mon Dec 05, 2011 8:15 pm

Yes, good stuff. A new take on the idea of putting human concerns in their place. Well put, too.

An aside, but I couldn't help wondering about irrelevant detail. You're reading ...who? Barstowe, perhaps, or Braine, or maybe even Orwell. She's reading who? Austen strikes me as a likely name. But could be one of lots.

But, no matter. Good idea, generally well executed. I like the dog.

I'm not a fan of the title, either.
cheers
peter

Nicky B
Prolific Poster
Prolific Poster
Posts: 497
Joined: Fri Oct 01, 2010 8:39 pm

Re: On reading separate books

Post by Nicky B » Mon Dec 05, 2011 9:15 pm

Hey Nash,

Great idea, I love being together apart, or is it apart together?

Yup, agree on losing the dog, and changing the title - you say you already have ideas for this so I won't interfere - yet!

It's got the makings of a good 'un, and I'll be very interested to see the edit.

Cheers ears,

Nicky B.

Antcliff
Moderator
Moderator
Posts: 6602
Joined: Thu Nov 24, 2011 1:35 am
Location: At the end of stanza 3

Re: On reading separate books

Post by Antcliff » Mon Dec 05, 2011 9:24 pm

Hi.
I like the warmth and domesticity of this. I wonder whether it could not be increased. After all the dog is doing similar thing, so why not let it fall within scope of "our" at start - and add the two lines on. Why is the dog not "our" as well.
We fray into the future, rarely wrought
Save in the tapestries of afterthought.
Richard Wilbur

ray miller
Perspicacious Poster
Perspicacious Poster
Posts: 6535
Joined: Wed Apr 23, 2008 10:23 am

Re: On reading separate books

Post by ray miller » Tue Dec 06, 2011 11:34 am

I think it's a great idea and I'm sure you'll improve upon the poem as it is. The 8th line is too long, as others noted,I think the 2nd is too. You don't really need "temporarily". I'd go for "inhabit wholly different worlds. I don't think the short line "stark and hunted" works very well, either. I'd keep the dog, though - and it's not often I say that.
I'm out of faith and in my cups
I contemplate such bitter stuff.

David
Moderator
Moderator
Posts: 13716
Joined: Sat Feb 18, 2006 4:40 pm
Location: Ellan Vannin

Re: On reading separate books

Post by David » Tue Dec 06, 2011 11:47 am

If line 2 is too long - and I'm still not sure it is - I think Ray's suggestion is good, or you could say instead "we have lost ourselves in different worlds."

I definitely don't think line 8 is too long. It's long, but there's a formal stateliness to it - it's practically an alexandrine, isn't it? - which seems completely appropriate.

I'm still amazed you've got away with describing what Mrs. Nash reads as Regency balls, however. It's not Georgette Heyer, is it? The womenfolk of my family, when I was growing up, used to devour them.

Nash

Re: A fictional disparity (was - On reading separate books)

Post by Nash » Tue Dec 06, 2011 8:49 pm

Thanks very much John, David, Peter, Nicky, Ant and Ray.

I've had a little bit of a rewrite, taking everyone's comments into consideration (especially Geoff's). I think that I'm going to keep this one in the 'work in progress' file for a while. I might like to flesh it out it a bit sometime, it feels like it wants to be longer.

Peter - Graham Greene and Frances Burney (Mrs Nash really doesn't like Austen).

David - I hadn't noticed the disparaging remark on Regency novels! It was unintended, so I've removed the balls.

Thanks all,
Nash.

User avatar
bodkin
Moderator
Moderator
Posts: 3181
Joined: Sun Dec 21, 2008 9:51 pm
antispam: no
Location: Two inches behind my eyes just above the bridge of my nose.

Re: A fictional disparity (was - On reading separate books)

Post by bodkin » Tue Dec 06, 2011 9:25 pm

Preferred the original title, but get the point of the change.

"Two stories" ?

"Separate stories" ??

Do think the new version has more punch, but I wonder if "displaced" is the right word at the end.

Liking it...

Ian
http://www.ianbadcoe.uk/

Arian
Perspicacious Poster
Perspicacious Poster
Posts: 2718
Joined: Tue Aug 11, 2009 8:41 am
antispam: no
Location: Hertfordshire, UK

Re: A fictional disparity (was - On reading separate books)

Post by Arian » Tue Dec 06, 2011 9:53 pm

Nash wrote:Graham Greene and Frances Burney
Ah, Greene. Yes. I wondered about him. As I write this, in my study, I look out on the school he attended, and where his father was headmaster. Don't know why I mention it.

FB didn't cross my mind.

The poem - I much prefer the origianl - mainly becasue the rhythm of the opening few lines is more assertive. But its resolution, dog and all, is more satisfying, too, to my ear.

Cheers
peter

ray miller
Perspicacious Poster
Perspicacious Poster
Posts: 6535
Joined: Wed Apr 23, 2008 10:23 am

Re: A fictional disparity (was - On reading separate books)

Post by ray miller » Wed Dec 07, 2011 10:09 am

I much prefer the original. The title was better, I liked thoughts of ribbons and Regency balls. I think you need to place yourselves and the settee at the start.
I'm out of faith and in my cups
I contemplate such bitter stuff.

Suzanne
Perspicacious Poster
Perspicacious Poster
Posts: 4898
Joined: Sun Oct 19, 2008 4:46 pm
antispam: no
Location: Land of the Midnight Sun

Re: A fictional disparity (was - On reading separate books)

Post by Suzanne » Wed Dec 07, 2011 11:51 am

Nash,
I definitely prefer the original. Even the dog. And the title.

Oh, editing is a challenge!lol.
I'm beginning to think they are mostly evil.

lol.

David
Moderator
Moderator
Posts: 13716
Joined: Sat Feb 18, 2006 4:40 pm
Location: Ellan Vannin

Re: A fictional disparity (was - On reading separate books)

Post by David » Wed Dec 07, 2011 7:29 pm

Alas, I agree with all the other original preferrers. And I feel guilty for having misled you as to the balls. The reading I referred to was certainly present, but not overwhelmingly so, and "Regency balls" is much better than "Regencies".

Mea culpa, Nash. I have screwed up.

JohnLott
Preponderant Poster
Preponderant Poster
Posts: 1326
Joined: Tue Feb 22, 2011 9:35 pm
Location: Devon

Re: A fictional disparity (was - On reading separate books)

Post by JohnLott » Wed Dec 07, 2011 10:50 pm

Some of the warmth of 'contented couples' emotion is now missing: Homely has been replaced with a slightly colder 'clinical'
Sorry

J.
Last edited by JohnLott on Fri Dec 09, 2011 10:14 am, edited 1 time in total.
Before you shave with Occam’s razor - Try epilation or microlaser

Post Reply