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A. Baez

[CA]

 

I saw the fault lines in our common ground,
But wavered—loath to estimate the force
And timing of the tremors they foretold;
Why test this fragile paradise we’d found,
Perhaps provoking nature’s wildest course—
Or dig for rifts when random knolls gleam gold?

I never yet have walked a tract of earth
Without a flaw: some harbor muck below
That muddles building; some hide barren soil
Plowed far too long to nurture crops of worth;
And some lie cold, inhumed beneath the snow.
Why, then, should minor faults make us recoil?

But you would probe our playground to the core—
Unsettled by fears of earthquakes laid in store.

 

Revision: S2, L3 "muddles" for "hinders"

 

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Tinker

A.B.,   Great first impression!   A modification of the Scupham Sonnet turning the rhyme from abccba deffed gg to abcabc  defdef gg  and creating a clear turn or volta in L10.  Not only written beautifully embodying the soul of the sonnet but also a fascinating extended metaphor through out.   Awesome!

Talk about showcase, this poem can be presented as nothing less.    

~~Tink


~~ © ~~ Poems by Judi Van Gorder ~~

For permission to use this work you can write to Tinker1111@icloud.com

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A. Baez

"The soul of the sonnet"--I like that term, and it's a concept that I respect. Some poets like to stretch the form to the breaking point, at which virtually nothing of its historical "soul" remains, but I think that that "soul" is what makes the sonnet most precious. I'd never heard of the Scupham Sonnet, but since there are only so many ways to create rhyme schemes within a sonnet form, it's not surprising that I inadvertently came close to following an existing one in creating this. I actually had simply developed the above form organically in the process of creating my poem, as I was attempting to suit its intended message and tone as well as possible. I also wanted to challenge myself by trying a new sonnet scheme beyond the safe, relatively easy Shakespearean form that I'd leaned on most heavily over the years. I find that when I attempt to religiously follow preestablished poetic forms, it tends to straightjacket my message, but I do like studying those forms to seed my mind with a sense of the possibilities so I can spontaneously create my own custom constructions as the need arises. And yes, I love extended metaphors--I trained myself into them after being critiqued several times for mixing metaphors! I wasn't about to ditch metaphors, so extending them was the only solution!

I'm wondering how you feel about my use of the word "inhumed." I've gotten feedback from a couple other poets that it has a distracting archaic feel and that I'd be better off using "entombed." However, I looked up "inhume," and it's considered a literary, not an archaic, term. I know some poets even object to using literary terms in literature--lol! But I prefer "inhume" over "entomb" in that it has a lighter, wispier sound that seems better suited to the idea of snow burying something. Am I being too self-indulgent here?

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Tinker

A.B.,  With that last name, I tend to think Joan, when I see it.  I hope A.B. is OK.  🤔

There are an infinite number of named sonnet forms mostly connected to rhyme schemes.  This form however is unique in that it is written in 2 sixains followed by a rhymed couplet. I think it was a winner in some sonnet contest a couple of decades ago.  

To the word, "inhume", I like it. I agree it is lighter and yet provides the appropriate image in my mind.  I like the use of "out of the ordinary" words, even if "archaic" or "literary".   Words are amazing things, they challenge us, make us stretch, give the images character.   With the internet it is nothing to google a word that we don't quite understand and in the process we grow.

~~Tink 


~~ © ~~ Poems by Judi Van Gorder ~~

For permission to use this work you can write to Tinker1111@icloud.com

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tonyv

Your meter in this sonnet is impeccable and presents a pleasing mix of end-stopped lines and enjambment, notably in the second stanza. Your rhymes are unobtrusive and right there. I also like how you pay close attention to punctuation. How you've used these tools confirms a level of careful craftsmanship found in fine writing.

I can appreciate the speaker's contemplative analysis of the personal relationship. I'll break it down and present my take, my point of view.

1. "Fissures" are cracks, generally perceived to be not good. I would posit that this does not mean they are necessarily bad or fatal flaws.

2. The speaker comes across as a practical person mature enough to understand that no one is perfect and that no relationship is one hundred percent perfect. By the way, that's how I see myself: practical, mature, etc.  😀 But is she analyzing realistically or she rationalizing, trying to convince herself? Is she rational? After all, people continue to build and to live their lives in areas that have fault lines, and it's true that an earthquake may never happen, at least not during the course of those peoples' lives. The speaker seems flexible, ideal even, but I wonder what ratio of people are like her as opposed to her other. I like the unknowns when it comes to this in the poem. Intriguing.
 

1 hour ago, A. Baez said:

I'm wondering how you feel about my use of the word "inhumed." I've gotten feedback from a couple other poets that it has a distracting archaic feel and that I'd be better off using "entombed." However, I looked up "inhume," and it's considered a literary, not an archaic, term. I know some poets even object to using literary terms in literature--lol! But I prefer "inhume" over "entomb" in that it has a lighter, wispier sound that seems better suited to the idea of snow burying something.

While there are plenty of bad examples when it comes to each, I find neither archaic nor literary to be inherently objectionable. English has a very rich vocabulary, and "inhume" is a fine word. One of my favorite poets, Edgar Bowers1, often used words and expressions which have been characterized as slightly removed from everyday language. His contemporary metrical poems are world class.

There are people who would object to your use of capital letters at the beginning of each line. While most of the time I don't capitalize the first word of every line, I don't find the practice objectionable. See another favorite sonnet of mine, Philip Larkin's "Friday Night in the Royal Station Hotel."2 Again, world class contemporary writing.

I think too many people out there are merely repeating the do's and the don't's pursuant to fads and what happens to be in vogue at the time. Continue to write as you please. You have a fine style.

Thrilled that you're here,

Tony
 

1. Edgar Bowers
    "The Astronomers of Mont Blanc"

2. "Friday Night at the Royal Station Hotel" by Philip Larkin


Here is a link to an index of my works on this site: tonyv's Member Archive topic

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A. Baez

Tink: Ha! It's okay to think "Joan Baez" when you see my name, because she's my cousin. But "A.B." is more than fine, and faster than "A. Baez"! The only reason I don't use my whole first name here is that I don't want to be too easily Googled by people I'd just as soon not be peering in on my poetic pursuits. (I've tried using outright aliases before, but it makes me feel too deceptive). 😀 You're right, sixains are relatively rare, I suppose. The Scupham Sonnet form certainly looks doable, and hopefully I'll be able to write something in that form someday, too. I'm so relieved that both you and Tony like "inhumed" and are embracing of unusual words, well used. I agree with you completely, pandering to the lowest common vocabulary is throwing away valuable growth opportunities for readers. Frankly, unusual words are one of the main things that attracted me to poetry in the first place, which is why I felt sort of ransacked when two people on another forum both urged me to ditch "inhume." That happened to be the word I'd liked the very best in the whole poem! The feedback here just goes to show that it pays to stick to one's convictions, once having determined what they really are.

Tony: I'm really pleased that you, too, responded well to the poem. It's been through some workshopping, so some credit is due to a number of other people for some of the words and phrases used here, as well as some editorial concepts that I adopted in my own way. But the technical aspects that you mention are mine by origin! I'm especially thrilled that you honed in on and astutely appreciate the ambiguity that I deliberately built into this poem. I did so because it reflects my experience. The truth is that with the relationship in question, sometimes the interpersonal fractures seemed of trifling concern, and at other times damning. I was never sure how much or how little denial I was in about their severity or what they boded--it always seemed to depend on the moods of myself and the person in question, and the circumstances surrounding us at any given time. (Hence "fragile paradise.") And as you've noted, isn't it so with fault lines, as well? As you might have guessed, in the end there was a quake. But we are still friends in a distanced way. While this poem arose out of a particular relationship, I have seen the basic dynamics play out in so many relationships, both of my own and others, so I felt a universality there that made it seem like poem material.

I'm so excited to hear you reference two contemporary poets who use unusual language to (what you and many feel is) good effect. I will definitely check these links out and report back. I agree that scalping English of all of its more obscure words leaves it quite a dull beast indeed; to me, allowing poems to use only the bare stuff that remains practically defeats the whole purpose of poetry. Indeed, I feel a sense of mission to prevent the extinction of certain fine words--I am passionate about "verbodiversity!" After all, avoiding using words that are already slightly underused feeds a vicious cycle that makes others feel even less entitled to use these words than they did before. I've gotten feedback about the preference for lower case beginnings of lines (except at the beginnings of sentences) as well, but I don't feel the desire to go there, either. I prefer to preserve a sturdier bridge between my work and that of the forbears who have inspired me. 

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Tinker

OK, I actually didn't even notice the all caps at the beginning of the line or I might have responded to it unfavorably.   Since I didn't notice it in this poem, it didn't hamper my read and so it is all a matter of the poet's discretion.  But often Capping the beginning of each line in my singular opinion can throw off the rhythm of an otherwise nice flowing piece. It tends to stop me, pause me when reading and often makes me backtrack.  So clearly my personal preference is not to cap at the beginning of each line.   But that doesn't make it wrong, just more difficult to read in my opinion.  But then so does looking up unknown words and yet that doesn't bother me, it challenges me and gives me an opportunity to grow.  I don't however see an upside in capping the beginning of each line.

~~Judi


~~ © ~~ Poems by Judi Van Gorder ~~

For permission to use this work you can write to Tinker1111@icloud.com

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tonyv
2 hours ago, A. Baez said:

the ambiguity that I deliberately built into this poem. I did so because it reflects my experience. The truth is that with the relationship in question, sometimes the interpersonal fractures seemed of trifling concern, and at other times damning. I was never sure how much or how little denial I was in about their severity or what they boded--it always seemed to depend on the moods of myself and the person in question, and the circumstances surrounding us at any given time. (Hence "fragile paradise.")

It is the way ...
 

2 hours ago, A. Baez said:

I'm so excited to hear your reference to two contemporary poets who use unusual language to (what you feel is) good effect. I will definitely check these links out and report back. I agree that scalping English of all of its more obscure words leaves it quite a dull beast indeed; to me, allowing poems to use only what remains practically defeats the whole purpose of poetry. Indeed, I feel practically a sense of mission to prevent the extinction of certain fine words--I am passionate about "verbodiversity!" I've gotten feedback about the preference for non-capitalized first lines as well, but I don't feel the desire to go there, either. I prefer to preserve a sturdier bridge between my work and that of the forbears who have inspired me.

I think you'll love Bowers. Do check the topic. The first and second poems in the Bowers Favorite Poets topic are especially noteworthy. And when I went back and looked, I noticed he uses the caps, too. (IIRC, much of his work is from the '60s.) While I understand Judi's point about the capitals' effect on the read, I am used to them. And as I mentioned, I myself don't generally use them in my own work, but I don't find their use objectionable.


Here is a link to an index of my works on this site: tonyv's Member Archive topic

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badger11

Enjoyed the read AB, a nicely crafted soundscape.

Capitalisation doesn't both me because this is a feature of both historical and contemporary poems.

'inhumed' is seamless in the poem and was not an issue.

Quote

I saw the fault lines in our common ground,
But wavered—loath to estimate the force

Liked the gear change.

Quote

Without a flaw: some harbor muck below
That hinders building; some hide barren soil

Perhaps a stronger sonic to couple with muck?

best

Phil

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A. Baez

Tinker--I can appreciate your point about caps. I guess I have occasionally reacted the way you describe to capped beginnings. Maybe it's a function of the way the poem is written--whether or not some sort of emphasis or pause in thought is naturally built into the ends of enjambed lines. Perhaps it was so enough in mine that you didn't notice the caps?

To me, the upside of capping is that it visually--and thus, hopefully, psychologically--ties one's work to the long tradition of poetry in which that was standard. There is a certain sense of dignity and ceremony that comes with the caps and seems to help elevate the poem's message above the mundane. But some poems' messages are mundane, and for them, lower case would be quite appropriate! Tony says he's used to the caps, and that's the reaction I'm hoping for and counting on. 

Tony-- " It is the way ... "? Yes, I'm looking forward to checking out the poems--I'm just waiting for my next free span of time, stillness and clarity so I can really enjoy them. I spent so much time on this website this weekend that now I am rushing to catch up with the nuts and bolts of life! 😮

Badger--Thank you for the affirmation on several points. It's very encouraging! I agree--I think that beginning-of-line capitalization is still more standard than not.

I think you have a point about "hinders"--it's something that crossed my mind when I adopted "muck" in lieu of "rock." But then I thought, "Well, 'hinders' does sound good with "building." But I do think it's more important for the verb to align with "muck'," if possible. I couldn't think of a suitable sub before, but since you raised the point, I've thought of "muddle." I've popped it in place of "hinders"--what do you think?

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tonyv
1 hour ago, A. Baez said:

Tony-- " It is the way ... "?

Well, it is often the way it is when it comes to relationships ...


Here is a link to an index of my works on this site: tonyv's Member Archive topic

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dr_con

L .dy my learned cohort make comments about forms;-) Personally, all I can say is : Damned good, bordering on brilliant. Loved every bit of it.

 

Many Thanks!

DC&J


Join the Voodoo rEvolution. Classes forming now: http://www.integralvoodoo.org/

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A. Baez

Tony--I see. C'est la vie, in other words.

dr_con--Wow! Thanks! That means a lot to me. I am so happy that you responded to it so well.

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Tsunami

Interesting piece, there's nothing much to say about and I don't think this piece deserves a critique since I cannot find anything wrong with it, it's intriguing don't get me wrong but still I am not sure about it much.

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