Contagion (V7)

This is a serious poetry forum not a "love-in". Post here for more detailed, constructive criticism.
Post Reply
User avatar
Firebird
Moderator
Moderator
Posts: 2344
Joined: Tue May 21, 2013 9:46 pm

Contagion (V7)

Post by Firebird » Tue Mar 03, 2020 5:34 pm

V7
In
That Hotel,
guests avoided going
past That Room. In That City,
tourists and locals kept their distance. Across
That Country, visitors decreased. Around the world,
people from That Country were avoided, even as they avoided their
compatriots from That City. And everywhere more and more bought masks.


V6

In
a hotel,
guests avoided going past
a room. In that city, tourists and locals
kept their distance. Across the country, visitors
decreased. And in other lands, people from that country were avoided, while
those same people avoided their compatriots from that city. And more and more wore masks.


V5

In
That Hotel,
guests avoided going past
That Room. In That City, tourists and
locals started to keep their distance. Across That
Country, visitors decreased. And around the world, those people were
avoided, while they stunned their own from That City. And more and more wore masks.


V4

In
That Hotel,
guests avoided going
past That Room where That Student
had stayed. In That City, tourists and locals started
to keep their distance. Across That Country, the numbers of those visiting
That City decreased. Around the world, people from That Country were avoided, while
they in turn avoided their compatriots from That City, and more and more began to wear those masks.


V3

In The Hotel, guests avoided going past The Room where The Student had stayed.
In The City, tourists and locals began to keep their distance from The Hotel.
Across the Country the numbers of those visiting The City decreased.
Around the world, foreigners from That Country were avoided,
while they in turn avoided their compatriots
from That City.


V2

In the hotel, guests avoided going past the room
where the student had stayed.
In the city, residents kept their distance from that hotel.
Across the country, people avoided visiting that city.
In other counties, citizens avoided foreigners
from that country,
while foreigners avoided their compatriots
from that city.

V1

In the hotel, guests avoided going past the room
where the student had stayed.
In the city, residents kept their distance from that hotel.
Across the country, people avoided visiting that city.
In other counties, citizens avoided foreigners
from that country.
In foreign lands, people from that country,
avoided their compatriots
from that city.

NotQuiteSure
Perspicacious Poster
Perspicacious Poster
Posts: 2212
Joined: Wed Dec 28, 2016 4:05 pm

Re: Contagion (Or maybe a better title is ‘A Pandemic’?)

Post by NotQuiteSure » Tue Mar 03, 2020 6:15 pm

.
Hi Tristan,
promising start, but the end seems a little muddled and doesn't deliver
the punch I was expecting. I also thought the line lengths might be
reducing down to a single word.

Should it be 'that student' (or even The Student?) Though there
are a lot of 'thes' . Actually it might make the read easier were
it Room, Hotel, City and Country.

Wondered if it might be worth returning to the hotel at the end.
Either for decontamination, or for that fact that there was nothing
to fear in the beginning?

(Guests and room imply hotel, but I think you get away with it :) )

I think 'Contagion' is the better title.

In The Hotel, guests avoided going past The Room where The Student had stayed.
In The City, tourists and locals began to keep their distance from The Hotel.
Across the Country the numbers of those visiting The City decreased.
Around the world, foreigners from That Country were avoided,
and people from That Country shunned their compatriots
from That City. In That Hotel ...


Regards, Not


.

User avatar
Firebird
Moderator
Moderator
Posts: 2344
Joined: Tue May 21, 2013 9:46 pm

Re: Contagion (Or maybe a better title is ‘A Pandemic’?)

Post by Firebird » Tue Mar 03, 2020 8:12 pm

Hi Not,

Thanks for the help. Much appreciated. V3 is up. But I agree it needs a stronger ending. I don’t think the trace of irony at the end is enough to carry it. I’ll have a think about it, and hopefully come up with something.

Cheers,

Tristan

NotQuiteSure
Perspicacious Poster
Perspicacious Poster
Posts: 2212
Joined: Wed Dec 28, 2016 4:05 pm

Re: Contagion (Or maybe a better title is ‘A Pandemic’?)

Post by NotQuiteSure » Wed Mar 04, 2020 2:22 pm

.
Hi Tristan,

I agree that the 'trace of irony' isn't enough, it felt/feels like it's building up to something more.
I'd still nudge you towards 'shunned' (or similar) instead of the second 'avoided', it has, I think, the virtue of 'virtue signalling'.
I do like the resemblance to/reminder of those addresses one gave as children (which often ended in The World, The Universe)

Regards, Not.

.

ray miller
Perspicacious Poster
Perspicacious Poster
Posts: 6574
Joined: Wed Apr 23, 2008 10:23 am

Re: Contagion (Or maybe a better title is ‘A Pandemic’?)

Post by ray miller » Wed Mar 04, 2020 4:11 pm

I think you should go for That throughout, That Room, That Hotel, That Student...
Around the world, foreigners from That Country - foreigners is almost tautologous, I think people would be better.
As for the ending I'd go with something like And so people began to wear masks to avoid being identified.
I'm out of faith and in my cups
I contemplate such bitter stuff.

ton321
Prolific Poster
Prolific Poster
Posts: 429
Joined: Sat Feb 08, 2014 12:54 am

Re: Contagion (Or maybe a better title is ‘A Pandemic’?)

Post by ton321 » Wed Mar 04, 2020 8:16 pm

Hi Tristan

I agree with the others in that the ending needs to be stronger. Also what about starting with small lines and working up to longer ones, to mimic how the pandemic spreads/ gets bigger? Just a thought,
Tony
Counting the beats,
Counting the slow heart beats,
The bleeding to death of time in slow heart beats,
Wakeful they lie.

Robert Graves

User avatar
Firebird
Moderator
Moderator
Posts: 2344
Joined: Tue May 21, 2013 9:46 pm

Re: Contagion (Or maybe a better title is ‘A Pandemic’?)

Post by Firebird » Wed Mar 04, 2020 8:21 pm

ton321 wrote:
Wed Mar 04, 2020 8:16 pm
Also what about starting with small lines and working up to longer ones, to mimic how the pandemic spreads/ gets bigger?
Thanks Tony, that’s a really good idea.

Cheers,

Tristan

User avatar
Perry
Preponderant Poster
Preponderant Poster
Posts: 1052
Joined: Wed Jul 11, 2018 11:26 am

Re: Contagion (Or maybe a better title is ‘A Pandemic’?)

Post by Perry » Fri Mar 06, 2020 7:15 am

Firebird wrote:
Tue Mar 03, 2020 5:34 pm
V3
In The Hotel, guests avoided going past The Room where The Student had stayed.
In The City, tourists and locals began to keep their distance from The Hotel.
Across the Country the numbers of those visiting The City decreased.
Around the world, foreigners from That Country were avoided,
while they in turn avoided their compatriots from That City.
I'm coming on this a little late. I haven't read the other posts yet.

As you probably know, I feel that a poem should close with a meaningful ending -- a conclusion, a lesson, a moral, some kind of point to wrap it all together. But the trend in poetry (at least for some) is to let the reader draw his own conclusion. But the poet still has to guide the reader to it in some way, and I'm not sure where you're trying to guide us. Are you wryly reflecting back at us our human nature? That's the best that I can take from this poem. I have to say, though, it made me think -- "This is who we are."

Despite my natural tendencies, I like the poem. I did make one change -- I removed the final line break, which I don't think served a purpose.
If I don't critique your poem, it is probably because I don't understand it.

User avatar
Firebird
Moderator
Moderator
Posts: 2344
Joined: Tue May 21, 2013 9:46 pm

Re: Contagion (V4)

Post by Firebird » Fri Mar 06, 2020 4:13 pm

Sorry, Ray, I missed your post. Two excellent ideas, of which I’ve adopted both. Thanks!

Perry, I’m glad you liked it. Many thanks for commenting and reading.

Cheers both,

Tristan

NotQuiteSure
Perspicacious Poster
Perspicacious Poster
Posts: 2212
Joined: Wed Dec 28, 2016 4:05 pm

Re: Contagion (V4)

Post by NotQuiteSure » Fri Mar 06, 2020 4:55 pm

.
Hi Tristan,

Maybe do line length by number of words, 1,2,3 etc ? (Unless you find a good epidemiological model to follow :) ) Not quite convinced by the end, simply because 'That Mask' makes it seem like something, I, the reader, should know. That said, maybe "... and more and more of us began to wear That Mask" ? 'Avoided' three times?

Just a suggestion, cut the second reference to 'That Hotel' (don't think the piece needs it, and it adds a bit of tension.)

Purely because I'm not keen on the format ...

In That Hotel, guests avoided going past That Room
where That Student had stayed. In That City,
tourists and locals began to keep their distance
Across That Country the numbers of those visiting
That City decreased. Around the world, people
avoided people from That Country, who, in turn
avoided their compatriots from That City, and
more and more of us began to wear Our Masks.



Regards, Not

.

User avatar
Firebird
Moderator
Moderator
Posts: 2344
Joined: Tue May 21, 2013 9:46 pm

Re: Contagion (V4)

Post by Firebird » Fri Mar 06, 2020 7:15 pm

Hi Not,

Thanks for your continued help with this piece.

NotQuiteSure wrote:
Fri Mar 06, 2020 4:55 pm
Maybe do line length by number of words, 1,2,3 etc ?

I don’t think the lines have to increase by a regular number of words. I think if the lines just increase this gives a sense of the virus spreading: the overall form/shape of the poem conveys this I think.

Not quite convinced by the end, simply because 'That Mask' makes it seem like something, I, the reader, should know.

Well we all do know: they are the masks we see everyday people wearing on TV in China or on the underground in London or on campus at York Uni.

'Avoided' three times?

Not sure this really matters in a poem about something that replicates.

Just a suggestion, cut the second reference to 'That Hotel' (don't think the piece needs it, and it adds a bit of tension.)

Very, very good idea.

Just a suggestion, cut the second reference to 'That Hotel' (don't think the piece needs it, and it adds a bit of tension.)

Yes, I think that’s a good idea.
Many thanks!

Cheers,

Tristan

User avatar
Perry
Preponderant Poster
Preponderant Poster
Posts: 1052
Joined: Wed Jul 11, 2018 11:26 am

Re: Contagion (V6)

Post by Perry » Sat Mar 07, 2020 6:23 am

Tristan, if there is an obvious meaning to this poem that I've missed, please let me know. Sometimes I can be a little dense -- or more than a little dense.

Years ago I was with a group of people watching the telly, and a commercial came on that someone said we should watch. It showed nothing but people's feet, walking this way and walking that way, and also standing still. And then a brand name on the screen that I didn't recognize. After the commercial was over, I asked what the commercial was selling, and everyone laughed. The commercial was selling shoes.
If I don't critique your poem, it is probably because I don't understand it.

User avatar
Firebird
Moderator
Moderator
Posts: 2344
Joined: Tue May 21, 2013 9:46 pm

Re: Contagion (V6)

Post by Firebird » Sat Mar 07, 2020 10:26 am

Hi Perry,

I don’t think there’s much hidden meaning in this poem. It’s just a tale of how contagious fear is and how that fear can breed fear of those from different places. The end, suggested by Ray, uses masks to offer a type of solution to the problem: people using them so they can’t be identified and so that they don’t pass on the infection to others. It’s not a great poem, really. Not that much to it. I suppose it might be about how racism spreads too, but maybe that’s pushing things a little.

I’m still enjoying your excellent poem ‘The Search’. I hope you get some more feedback on it. It deserves it, IMO.

Cheers,

Tristan

NotQuiteSure
Perspicacious Poster
Perspicacious Poster
Posts: 2212
Joined: Wed Dec 28, 2016 4:05 pm

Re: Contagion (V6)

Post by NotQuiteSure » Sat Mar 07, 2020 11:25 am

.
Hi Tristan,

V5 (over V6) - I think, regardless of the visuals, it needs to be 'That Hotel' (and all the other 'Thats')

perhaps
Country, visitors decreased. Around the world, people
from That Country were avoided, even as they avoided their
compatriots from That City. And everywhere more and more wore masks. ?

wondered about 'bought' for 'wore' (not sure that last sentence is quite there yet
(personally, I'd still like the door of That Room to open and a new guest check in :) ).



Regards, Not.


ps. You could even try centering it :)

.

User avatar
Firebird
Moderator
Moderator
Posts: 2344
Joined: Tue May 21, 2013 9:46 pm

Re: Contagion (V6)

Post by Firebird » Sat Mar 07, 2020 6:34 pm

Hi Not,

Thanks for returning and staying with this poem.
NotQuiteSure wrote:
Sat Mar 07, 2020 11:25 am
I think, regardless of the visuals, it needs to be 'That Hotel' (and all the other 'Thats')

They are restored.

perhaps
Country, visitors decreased. Around the world, people
from That Country were avoided, even as they avoided their
compatriots from That City. And everywhere more and more wore masks. ?

Yes, I think that’s good.

wondered about 'bought' for 'wore'.

Yes, I like ‘bought’.

ps. You could even try centering it :)

Excellent idea.
Cheers,

Tristan

NotQuiteSure
Perspicacious Poster
Perspicacious Poster
Posts: 2212
Joined: Wed Dec 28, 2016 4:05 pm

Re: Contagion (V7)

Post by NotQuiteSure » Sat Mar 07, 2020 6:43 pm

.
Hi Tristan,
any way to restore the v4 line?
the numbers of those visiting That City decreased.
Not sure 'visitors decreased' works. That aside
looks done. :)

Regards, Not


.

User avatar
Perry
Preponderant Poster
Preponderant Poster
Posts: 1052
Joined: Wed Jul 11, 2018 11:26 am

Re: Contagion (V6)

Post by Perry » Sun Mar 08, 2020 2:39 am

Firebird wrote:
Sat Mar 07, 2020 10:26 am
I’m still enjoying your excellent poem ‘The Search’. I hope you get some more feedback on it. It deserves it, IMO.
How kind of you to plug my poem in your thread! Thank you!
If I don't critique your poem, it is probably because I don't understand it.

Post Reply