poetry critical

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In the world I want,
she calls me and
hushes silly stories about her day.
I listen to the music of her voice,
happy to know her
in bits and pieces.
In the world I live,
she keeps me at arms length
and metes out her attentions
  from a distance
a few days a week.
I wait and wonder,
whether these days
spiral me to her,
  or circle
back to where I started,

21 Feb 07

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I really enjoyed this. I think you meant "world" instead of "word" in line 10? Maybe needs a comma at the end of line 1, a period at the end of line 3, and a comma at the end of line 6 and line 10. I love your descriptions and the story you tell.
 — Andiam

I'm not sure one can "meter out" attention (line 12); perhaps "mete out"?
 — unknown

Very good poem, I can easily relate to this. I dont know about the title but it did grab my attention
 — krookedsk8r

Thanks for catching my malapropisms.
 — rocket

i'm not in a mood to comment, but i just thought i would like to thank for for being a good person on this site.
 — unknown

It's good. I'm not sure about the last line. You tend to end abruptly with your poems. It ruins the flow for me.

Lose the title. It's reminding me of Tom Cruise. Not a good image for such a lovely piece.

"exhalation" on line 5 is a bit wordy and so is "brief clamor".

Sometimes, I think your word choice is vain, but then you could call mine simple.

You got me with this one...
 — jezkuh

Thanks unknown, I appreciate that.

Thanks for the comments, Jezkuh.

Yech, Tom Cruise. I don't like that association either, but the title fits the poem in an important way.

I picked clamor because it sounds loud, like distortion. I picked exhalation because...well, she's exhaling. Do you have a simpler word in mind or is it the way I structured the sentence that bothers you?

I'd be curious to hear more specifically which word selections you consider vain, especially if you're refering to this poem. Sometimes I pick words to try to write common things in a more interesting way. People do seem to like my simpler poems, but I'm not completely convinced that means they're actually better, just more accessible.
 — rocket

Hey rocket,

I'll try to answer this as best I can...

It's not your structure at all, I actually like the way you put your poems together. It's entirely your word choice. Maybe it strikes a chord with me because it's something I used to struggle with.

When I was in college, bombarded with the trappings of an English major's vocabulary, I felt compelled to use certain words simply for the sake of sounding smarter or well read. When I read what I wrote back then, I can see that I wasn't writing for myself or my peers. I was writing for Academia. I had something to prove...

Writing, now, is a process for me. I write as an outlet for all the nervous energy I harbor - I have an active mind.

But I write from my feelings, not from my intellect. In ways, maybe people can perceive this as "dumbing it down" but this is how I do it. Fortunately, I've found this honesty to be "more accessible" to my readers and that's very satisfying to me. I don't want to alienate anyone with what I put on paper, though it might be abstract. Lately I've been writing narrative, observational stuff and my friends connect to it. They were there sometimes but if I can make them look at something a little different, that part of my job is done.

It's an outlet when I'm writing but of course I want people to respond. It's too different things for me.

So back to vocab. I love words, but they can be alienating. There is a certain pride in writing but I'm not interested in being condescending. I'm justified in capturing a moment, a nuance, a feeling.

I'm not even sure if what I do is even considered poetry. Sometimes it seems to offend people here that I don't abide by whatever rules have been instilled. The truth is, I have a degree in Literature. I'm well versed in the topic. I've just taken myself out of that bubble and am on my own path. I still have a ways to go, but I'll get where I'm going.

I guess the question is, where are you off to?

Instead of "exhalation" I would use something like "breathe". I think "exhale" as a verb sounds nice, but as a noun it's plain wordy.

I have no problem with "brief" "clamor" or "distortion" alone, but the grouping of those words is just a tad too much. Choose carefuly what you're trying to say there. You will only need maybe one or two of them.

Hope this helps. Best of luck. And thanks for reading my stuff.
 — jezkuh

I understand what you're saying. I often criticize people when it seems like they're forcing words into the poem. There is no ego in my writing. I'm not sitting around trying to think of bigger words. This poem in particular was almost entirely stream of conscious.

I also write from my feelings. I often write late at night because it comes almost entirely from my subconscious.

As far as my motivation, I write to celebrate the music of language, to understand myself, to create, to use my gifts. I don't care particularly about being accessible to everyone. I find most of the poems here that are widely celebrated to be quite clumsy and poor. I do care greatly about the quality and sincerity of my work. I would say I'm definately on my own path. I started writing with no input or influence when I was 17, and although I am always try to learn from others I always feel very comfortably within my style.

Breathe to me is general, and could be inhaling. Since I was specifically referring to exhaling I chose the more specific word.

I agree with your observation, lines 5-6 are a bit overweight.

Thanks for sharing your perspective and the feedback, I appreciate it.

 — rocket

the last line is awful. bloody trite. the concluding stanza is weak.

the rest was an easily swallowed bolus
 — unknown

I thought it would be only fair if I gave a poem of yours consideration, so I'm glad I chose this one. You picked a good title for the piece, because from what I understand, you are adressing an earth of billions of worlds of subjectivity and when it comes to love it is like War and Peace. How is it ever possible to force an objectivie connection between two people in regards to one another? some real tough shit, it is. Some of my own distastes towards your poem though, lie in your wording and perspective choices. As an author, you have the ability to approach the poem from an omnipotent point of view, which I would have appreciated a bit more instead of you sort of reiterating what has already become apparent in your second stanza. Obviously if you want what you suggest in S1, then it isn't the case in reality, so maybe you could approach the situation from the opposite perspective, especially since it is a war you are talking about. And then the wording as I mentioned . . . it isn't bad and I don't find anything in the poem to be too cliche, but some of your diction is questionable, "Silly Stories"? It seems like you're forcing a perspective on the audience without allowing clear, unbiased reaction to your words, especially if this is a personal experience of yours. The idea of the spiral and the circle are a bit beyond me and I don't see how they relate to the picture you've painted with your poem, nevertheless I see it as despair vs. hope or soemthing and I think you should either elaborate upon it or omit it. I lean towards elaborating though because the last lines are relatively well said. I think my favorite line however is the part about exhalation on the telephone, you make a good image with those words.
 — Notecompsure

I love the voice in this poem, so soft and quiet.  
I do not enjoy the title.  I realize it has importance to you but cartainly there is a unique, personal way to suggest the same meaning.  Yes, Tom and his bogus movie come to mind, Scary Movie 4 and its stupid-funniness.  Sorry to go on but the poem is beautiful and the title mocks the sincerity of the poem.

I love "silly stories" as a biased thought.  Typically, truthfully a man (at times, and some more than others) pretends to listen to her chatter but what he's really hearing is her voice, her music.  Besides, girls tell silly stories and giggle in general and I think it's great.
L5 is nice.  L6 does not feel natural to me.  I find it harsh sounding/mouthing and doesn't explain or join L7 well.  What is its relevance?

I understand the spirals and circle perfectly.  Your ending brings me back up to the beginning again, love that.

 — jenakajoffer

Boy, the two of you put me in a tough spot. Notecomposure's favorite line is the one you suggest removing.

I made some changes. Ultimately, I think you're right Jen, L6 wasn't really an important detail. I still struggle with finding the right balance of writing in detail but working with the form of the poem.

You've all finally convinced about the title. I liked highlighting the contrast/tension between what I wish for and reality. This one will have to do until I think of something better.

I liked what you said about the music of her voice, I worked that in.

I revised the last stanza in the hope of being clearer. I'll have another look at this in a few days.

Thanks for your comments, very helpful.
 — rocket

actually rocket,
I didn't say I wanted you to remove the line notecompsure liked, I liked it too, about the phone exhaling, it was the one after, (L6).  Regardless, now that it is gone and a few of the sterile thoughts also gone (that was just my opinion), I think this says it all quite simply and beautifully!  
I can now really see and feel the lines, "the world I want", "the world I live".
I enjoy them very much.

I'm sure there will be help from others with the title or you'll get it on your own, (I'm no help in that department).  Thank you for changing it though.
Jen  =-)
 — jenakajoffer

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