The Big Issue

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

Re: The Big Issue

Postby David Smedley » Sat Dec 16, 2017 3:27 pm

Is his the filthy blanket hid amongst the bushes in the park ?,
those kids have used it for a toilet, soaked it in their nasty larks.

If you don't know his blanket is hid in the bushes, how do you know the kids have pissed on it? Edited to clarify the lack of clarity in the above question when couplet six starts with, "Now that his bedding is so soiled I wonder where he’ll sleep tonight." which gave rise to my confusion about how "N" knew the blanket had been soiled. "In line five "N" does not know who's blanket it is, but in line 11 he does.

imposed upon by his misfortune, self indulgence now regret.

The imposition in the first part of this quote is felt by "N," the second part (for me) needs more wording to make sense, and also that the focus of the last 4 words is not a follow on from "N" feeling some imposition, it is something that "N" supposes the big issue seller feels, ( from I presume, a life of debauchery). ( Why do I think I know what you are trying to express but others may not? Because I read quite a lot of poetry and come across lack of clarity where the sequence of thought has to be filled in).

I just had another thought about those last 4 words, that "N" is familiar to the big issue seller as intimated in lines1, 2 and 3 and that maybe the "self indulgence" was the narrator buying an issue or two in the past that he now regrets because it has set him up for further imposition in the future (obviously this is just a guess). As I say clarity needs to be brought to bare here,


If the whole thing is a scenario played out nationwide, then I ask myself if you have given me a new angle on the scene or cliché after cliché, and it's the clichéd feel I get from this not a fresh angle.


For me the work is more than a little insensitive to the plight of the homeless whose situation is hardly a subject for mockery or patronising reference. I can't help feeling that in part the poem, however tongue in cheek, expresses prejudice and a lack of empathy.
David.
 
Last edited by David Smedley on Sat Dec 16, 2017 10:04 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: The Big Issue

Postby David Smedley » Sat Dec 16, 2017 9:33 pm

fortytwo said.
How come if the poem is so cliched you didn't understand any of it.


Sorry FT, but I understand all of it only too well, there is nothing difficult here, except the places in the poem that I have already pointed out.

My post here does not have to be "supportive," I am not a social worker. This is a workshop not a vanity site!

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

This is what it says on the front page of the forum. My post is constructive, it tells you where I think your poem went wrong, period.

As for the last bit (in bold text) that includes the words "expresses prejudice and a lack of empathy" they are your own words (which you wrote a few weeks ago) thrown back at you, see here: viewtopic.php?f=20&t=23031 they are slightly modified to fit this poems theme, I thought they were apt to use at this moment to show your hypocrisy, and how crass you were to use them in the first place.

I would like to apologise to other readers and writers on this forum for having to reply in this way to fortytwo.

David
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Re: The Big Issue

Postby 1lankest » Sun Dec 17, 2017 5:16 am

I found it an honest, reasonably nuanced investigation into the bigotry surrounding attitudes towards the dispossesed. It made me consider my own attitudes too. The conflicts in one's conscience are explored with a direct satiricism that I don't think can be confused for bigotry on behalf the author.
That said, apart from some effective line breaks and a compelling metre, I didn't find too much poetry here. But perhaps that wasn't the point. It isn't a subject to overly render in florid words so you were probably right not to try.

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Re: The Big Issue

Postby ray miller » Sun Dec 17, 2017 2:57 pm

I've no particular problem with the tone of the poem and I wouldn't necessarily expect it to represent your own views. Trouble is, this kind of thing has been done to death, Streets of London etc. and there's little enough that's novel. Anyway, to details.

fortytwo wrote:Here once again he pesters me, steps into my world where I’m set - maybe "steps in my world and I'm beset"
fair, imposed upon by his misfortune, self indulgence now regret. - to make the rhythm work I'd suggest leaving out "fair"

He always seems to be around, whichever street or square I walk
jabbering loudly in my ear, I make clear I don’t wish to talk.

Is his the filthy blanket hid amongst the bushes in the park ?,
those kids have used it for a toilet, soaked it in their nasty larks. - toilet seems a bit prudish, the rhythm is crying out for piss/ shit, summat of that nature

The little money that he gets who knows if it is wisely spent,
he may well blow it all on drugs, he’s on the streets for missing rent.

Most likely he's a total waster blaming some infirmity,
he's claiming that his autism is lifelong since his stepmum's knee. - a weak line, I think, "mumbling about his autism, adoption and anxiety"

Now that his bedding is so soiled I wonder where he’ll sleep tonight,
not of course that it's my problem, sure someone else will see him right,

Much better purchase his “Big Issue”, nullify my conscience clean, - "nullify my conscience clean" is not very well put
his kind always fall by the way, we are wealthier than we’ve ever been !
- "we're richer" would fit the rhythm better
I'm out of faith and in my cups
I contemplate such bitter stuff.
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Re: The Big Issue

Postby Macavity » Tue Dec 19, 2017 9:56 am

Now his bedding is so soiled I wonder where he’ll sleep tonight.
Not of course that it's my problem. Someone else will see him right.


I wondered FT of there would be an option to vary the pace in the poem by using a full-stop on occasion?

I've noticed at this formalist site that posters tend to 'soften' the rhyme by using punctuation:

https://www.ablemuse.com/erato/showthread.php?t=28903

I thought the voice in the poem provokes a reaction and therefore is not stale.

The Guardian is running an appeal for Christmas:

https://www.theguardian.com/society/201 ... in-10-days

best

mac
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Re: The Big Issue

Postby David Smedley » Tue Dec 19, 2017 6:16 pm

FT said.
For better or worse constructive dialogue has led to this revised version. I like it better now.
The poem is about "everyman" prejudices and little cruelties, intentional and unintentional therefore is aimed to touch YOUR prejudices.
Please do not mistake common experience for cliche.
I also reject the idea that because a subject has been focused on by other writers we should reject it. If that was the case the vast body of nature poetry would be pretty thin. Misconceptions about "originality" in poetry are widespread hence the rejection of rhyme. It is no coincidence that the supposed revitalise interest in poetry has coincided with its exposure on the media in the Nationwide advertising campaign. I think some of those frustrated novel writers who jumped onto the "modern poetry" bandwagon" could yet be left standing in an outworn and unfashionable suit.
For me originality isn't in the choice of subject but in the choice of context and expression.
My poem isn't me regurgitating what I have heard or read but me relating a first hand experience with someone I knew and taught as a child.

I also reject the idea that because a subject has been focused on by other writers we should reject it.

If you read the replies to your poem you will see that no-one has suggested rejecting a subject that has been "done to death," what your first reader actually said was that the poem you gave us was clichéd in its content, and that the content should be presented to us in a fresh way. See below.
If the whole thing is a scenario played out nationwide, then I ask myself if you have given me a new angle on the scene or cliché after cliché, and it's the clichéd feel I get from this not a fresh angle.


Your second reader put it thus.
Trouble is, this kind of thing has been done to death. Streets of London etc, and there's little enough that's novel.

Note the words, "there's little enough that's novel" it means the same thing as "there is nothing fresh here."

For me originality isn't in the choice of subject but in the choice of context and expression.

Exactly!!!. Now ask yourself if your "context" and "expression" here are "original" in any way, shape or form, or just cliché for the subject.


Had a go at different punctuation and line structure. Odd word added or taken away.

David.


Once again he pesters me, tramples my world so I'm upset,
imposed upon by misery, my self indulgences I regret.

He's always around, whichever street or square I walk,
misfortune's voiced loud in my ear, despite him knowing

I wont talk. I see his filthy blanket pulled from bushes
in the park, that the kids have soaked with streams of piss

in bored amusement as a lark. And the little money that he gets
who knows if it is wisely spent? He may well blow it all on drugs,

he’s on the streets for missing rent. Most likely he's a total waster,
hid behind infirmity; complaining about autism, adoption and anxiety.

Now his bedding is so soiled I wonder where he’ll sleep tonight,
not that it's my problem of course, someone else will see him right.

Much better I purchase his “Big Issue,” keep my conscience clean,
not my fault he's in the gutter with folk denying the whole scene!
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Re: The Big Issue

Postby JJWilliamson » Sun Dec 24, 2017 9:11 am

Hi ft

I was drawn to the title because I often feel a sense of embarrassment when I'm asked to buy a copy. "No thanks, mate" is the stock reply.

I see this is an ironic examination of prejudice, stereotypes and common misconceptions rather than an attack on homeless people etc.

We've all wondered how a person ends up on the streets and why they haven't sought government help, but facts are facts. The streets are
full of homeless folk in every UK city, and even though every citizen is entitled to help the problem still exists.

I'm not in command of the full facts so I can't, with any certainty, say why this has happened, but I do know the reasons are many and varied.
If we could only remove blame from the equation we might find an answer. By "we" I mean all citizens from all ethnic and political sectors.
We have a collective responsibility.

A good one for Christmas, I'd say.

Best

JJ
Long time a child and still a child
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Re: The Big Issue

Postby Firebird » Fri Dec 29, 2017 1:34 pm

I like it FT. It’s a good character piece, showing the prejudices associated with homelessness. My main crit is that the whole piece is badly in need of some full stops/semi-colons or just better punctuation. Some specific points below.


fortytwo wrote:Here once again he pesters me, steps into my world where I’m set (for me, ‘set fair’ a strange expression here. ‘set up’ would make more sense I think)
fair, imposed upon by his misfortune, self indulgence now regret.

He always seems to be around, whichever street or square I walk
jabbering loudly in my ear, I make clear I don't want to talk .

Is his the filthy blanket hid amongst the bushes in the park ?, (no comma needed here)
those kids have used it for a toilet, soaked it in their nasty larks. (‘Larks’ seem slight wrong here. Maybe it’s that ‘nasty’ and ‘larks’ seem a bit incongruous)

The little money that he gets who knows if it is wisely spent,
he may well blow it all on drugs, he’s on the streets for missing rent.

Most likely he's a total waster blaming some infirmity,
he's claiming that his autism is lifelong since his stepmum's knee. (Run on sentence)

Now that his bedding is so soiled I wonder where he’ll sleep tonight,
not of course that it's my problem, sure someone else will see him right,

Much better purchase his “Big Issue”, nullify my conscience clean,
his kind always fall by the way, we are wealthier than we’ve ever been !


REVISED VERSION

For better or worse constructive dialogue has led to this revised version. I like it better now.
The poem is about "everyman" prejudices and little cruelties, intentional and unintentional therefore is aimed to touch YOUR prejudices.
Please do not mistake common experience for cliche.
I also reject the idea that because a subject has been focused on by other writers we should reject it. If that was the case the vast body of nature poetry would be pretty thin. Misconceptions about "originality" in poetry are widespread hence the rejection of rhyme. It is no coincidence that the supposed revitalise interest in poetry has coincided with its exposure on the media in the Nationwide advertising campaign. I think some of those frustrated novel writers who jumped onto the "modern poetry" bandwagon" could yet be left standing in an outworn and unfashionable suit.
For me originality isn't in the choice of subject but in the choice of context and expression.
My poem isn't me regurgitating what I have heard or read but me relating a first hand experience with someone I knew and taught as a child.

Here once again he pesters me, tramples my world so I'm upset
imposed upon by misery so self indulgences regret.

He always seems to be around whichever street or square I walk,
misfortune's voiced loud in my ear despite him knowing I wont talk.

I see his filthy blanket there pulled from the bushes in the park
that kids have soaked with streams of piss in bored amusement as a lark. -

The little money that he gets who knows if it is wisely spent,
he may well blow it all on drugs, he’s on the streets for missing rent.

Most likely he's a waste of space just hid behind infirmity,
complaining about autism, adoption and anxiety.

Now his bedding is so soiled I wonder where he’ll sleep tonight,
not of course that it's my problem, someone else will see him right.

Much better purchase his “Big Issue”, that way keep my conscience clean,
not my fault he's in despair with folk denying the whole scene !

Thank you to all contributors and special thanks to Ray for a much improved line.
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