Author Topic: Skylarking Under Water  (Read 2381 times)

Offline Paper tiger

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Skylarking Under Water
« on: October 09, 2008, 07:41:08 PM »

Under
     Under the
               Under the water
                               Under the water I
                                                     Under the water I can
                                                                                   Fly.
                                                                        I can fly.
                                                                     Like a
                                                            Like a  bird
                                                    Like a bird in
                                        Like a bird in the
                                    Sky.
                                       In the sky.
                                                Gliding
                                                      Gliding with
                                                                 Gliding with ease
                                                                                   Gliding with ease and
                                                                                                             Grace.
                                                                                          Ease and grace.
                                                                                     Skylarking
                                                                   Skylarking through
                                                       Skylarking through inner
                                                  Space.
                                                        Inner space
                                                                    Water
                                                                          Water and sky
                                                                                          Gliding
                                                                                                Gliding and grace
                                                                                                             Water gliding
                                                                                                                          Sky grace
                                                                                                                               I
                                                                                                                        I  can fly
                                                                                                                   Through
                                                                                                        Through a place
                                                                                                      I fly
                                                                                through inner space.
                                                                           Bird
                                                                              Bird’s skylarking. 
                                                                                               Like
                                                                                                 Like she’s singing
                                                                                                           Skylark singing.
                                                                                               In a peaceful place,
                                                                                         skylark's grace,
                                                                               swimming and
                                                                 moving through the
                                                            water.
                                                                 Skylarking I    
                                                                             I can fly.
                                                                                     Like a grace
                                                                                             Like a grace bird
                                                                                                          Like a grace bird - gliding.
                                                                                    Gliding gliding gliding...
.


« Last Edit: October 10, 2008, 04:07:53 AM by Nick »

Offline Alice, a Country Gal

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Re: SKYLARKING UNDER WATER[color=blue][/color]
« Reply #1 on: October 09, 2008, 07:44:57 PM »
I'm sorry. I'm sure you feel your formating adds to your words. But all it did for me was to stop me from even trying to read.

Sorry if this is a downer.
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The universe is made of stories, not of atoms. -Muriel Rukeyser, poet and activist (15 Dec 1913-1980)

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-Mohandas K. Gandhi

Offline Paper tiger

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Re: SKYLARKING UNDER WATER[color=blue][/color]
« Reply #2 on: October 09, 2008, 07:48:09 PM »
That's okay, but try harder... you might like it  ;)

Offline Akeith (Gray)

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Re: SKYLARKING UNDER WATER[color=blue][/color]
« Reply #3 on: October 09, 2008, 11:31:54 PM »
This is interesting. However, I am not sure I (and this is only my opinion of course) would consider this a poem. What with the coloring of the fonts, the over-the-top repition of the same words without any particular substance of ideas being provided, and the arrangement of the words on the page, I would be more inclined to consider this a picture, or sort of bizarre performance art. It seems to me that the only effect you are going for is strictly a visual one. Poetry is an art form of sonics.

I don't know if any of my comments have any value for you or not.

Gray

Offline Paper tiger

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Re: SKYLARKING UNDER WATER[color=blue][/color]
« Reply #4 on: October 10, 2008, 03:13:57 AM »
Thanks Gray
You may be right! What I am trying to do is create visual and word play.
The formatting represents water and waves and is linked to the idea of swimming in the sea. I got the idea of skylarking under water when I was diving in the Med. I was swimming above some underwater cliffs and I thought 'this is what it must be like to be a bird.'
I would be interested to hear what others think about word play and repetition. Is it is poetry? Another idea I had in mind when I was creating this was performance poetry. Maybe it works better live than on the page!


Offline John Yamrus

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Re: Skylarking Under Water
« Reply #5 on: October 10, 2008, 08:18:33 AM »
i have to agree with Gray...visual poetry like this unfortunately relies on tricks and crutches and in the effort to maintain your visual effect you let the meat of the poem (the WORDS) get away from you.  take notice how often it is that people who are either new to poetry or getting back into it rely on a trick or a crutch to help bolster  their poetry...it could be by hanging the words on a rhyme scheme or a specific form like the sonnet or haiku or something visual like this.  it gives the author something to think about and worry about beyond the words themselves.  i've used this poem by bukowski many many times to illustrate this substitution of form in lieu of inspiration...he said it best:

art

as
the
spirit
wanes
the
form
appears.

Since 1970 John's published 2 novels, 18 books of poetry, and had more than 1,300 poems published in mags around the world.   His new book, (his 20TH) called CAN'T STOP NOW! is available here:

http://www.epicrites.org/

Offline eric

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Re: Skylarking Under Water
« Reply #6 on: October 18, 2008, 06:16:07 PM »
What John said.  In general, he's exactly right (though I might disagree about the demerits of all forms, eg haiku and sonnet).  To me, it's in very small part a matter of degree--to the extent that Yamrus is not entirely right, which is a really limited extent indeed.

A poem is a collection of words that accomplishes a linguistic goal, auditory in nature not primarily visual, one that speaks to the emotions in sounds and meanings.  There are  visual poems, you can find a poem about a box in the exact shape of a three-dimensional box in the archives of this forum, and my once-upon-a-time girlfriend wrote a rather beautiful poem about a bird swooping that won a (formal) contest once--it did swoop to an extent on the page.  But that poem, just for an example, was composed of words made from the last syllables of the previous word--and fit together to make an aural image of birds in flight that was quite engaging sonically as it evoked the emotional freedom of the skies (and, one infers, her freedom from me--we'd just broken up, heh).  So the form was secondary to the words, which it always has to be.

The idea of just cramming words into a form, on the other hand, has little to do with poetry as such and a lot to do with being lazy.  There are plenty of examples of that on these boards.   I would lean to John's view in these meadows.

Yours does try to make a point, but instead of evoking emotions in the reader that are different from the meaning of the words used to evoke them, you simply describe the motion and tell the reader you can fly, etc.  All very univalent.  Worse, you use repetitions with a profligacy apparently borne of either too much drugs, constricted vocabulary, or simple lack of anything else to say.  Your evident intent was to replicate the wooshing of swimming strokes in the water, which is very nice but it doesn't get you anywhere at all.  That you cram it into a swishy format does not assist the value of the piece in any way, in fact the form detracts from the words for the reasons Yamrus stated.

If you want to make this a performance piece that's all well and good, but this is not the place for it.  Poems should be read aloud, but I don't care to see you swim.

Best to work on poems with a flat left-handed margin for a while, as a kind of dharma.
« Last Edit: October 19, 2008, 12:35:27 AM by eric »

Offline Paper tiger

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Re: Skylarking Under Water
« Reply #7 on: October 26, 2008, 02:58:56 AM »
Thank you Eric and John for your thoughts, which I found interesting. This piece was an experiment, and the only one I've written in a format. I enjoyed writing it but I can see that the repetition and formatting ideas have not gone down too well with you. Maybe the only way to convey the physicality of the sea in a poem is through refined poetic description, but it would be an interesting development to use every available possibility. I wonder if the conventions of poetry can sometimes limit our imaginations?
« Last Edit: October 27, 2008, 03:30:45 AM by Paper tiger »

Offline Amie

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Re: Skylarking Under Water
« Reply #8 on: October 26, 2008, 03:41:44 AM »
This is actually an established form - it's called 'concrete poetry' (which is rather unfortunate, because usually when we refer to 'concrete' we're talking about things that you can experience with your senses - to differentiate from 'abstract' - so using the same term sort of confuses things). So, when you speak of conventions of poetry, you are in fact conforming to one of them by using an established form. That doesn't necessarily have to be a bad thing, I'm just saying is all :)

I'm not a big fan of concrete poetry (this type that is - normally I'm all clamouring for people to make their poetry more concrete), but I think you did well here. I got what you were trying to achieve, and I felt that wave-like sensation you were trying to create. I held back commenting for a long time between being a) very busy lately! and b) not sure whether or not I liked it.

The fact that I wasn't sure whether I liked it though I think suggests that you've done a really good job with this - concrete poetry is absolutely my least favourite form and I don't think I've ever liked one that I've come across before. So, well done - you've done the equivalent of preparing liver in a form that doesn't make me gag :) (I really don't like liver, if you haven't guessed, and I think it would take a pretty skilled chef to cook it in any way that would make me swallow a mouthful)

I think my end conclusion is - it's sort of nice, but too much like a poster that you might find at Athena or The Smarter Image. It's just not my kind of thing. But, even so, I think you should paint this on a big big canvas. People who like this kind of thing would probably love it. Or - if you know anything about printmaking or silkscreening, maybe you could make several - print it out on t-shirts and that kind of thing. I think it would sell well.

Although john has a helluva a lot more experience that I do and (as you can see from his footnote) is a prolific and successful poet, I have to disagree with the comments on form being inversely proportional to quality. This is very frequently the case, as people who don't know how to express themselves and have never read any good contemporary poetry will often allow their words to be further mangled by the strictures of form - so I certainly don't recommend that any beginning writer shackle themselves with form. But saying that form must necessarily destroy poetry is like saying that freeform boogie is always better to watch than ballet. Yeah, a novice ballerina (or even worse, a self-taught novice ballerina - which would be more apt with this analogy) is probably not going to be so lovely to watch - whereas the honest and enthusiastic boogie will be much more interesting and engaging - particularly if they make you part of it! - but in the hands of people with skill, training and experience, forms can be beautiful too IMO.
« Last Edit: October 26, 2008, 04:01:03 AM by Amie »
"You do not need to leave your room. Remain sitting at your table and listen. Do not even listen, simply wait, be quiet still and solitary. The world will freely offer itself to you to be unmasked, it has no choice, it will roll in ecstasy at your feet." - Kafka

Offline Paper tiger

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Re: Skylarking Under Water
« Reply #9 on: October 28, 2008, 06:17:40 PM »
Thanks Amie for your thoughtful comments and analogies. I'm glad you liked it, even though concrete poetry  isn't your favourite form. I really liked your idea of putting this poem on a big canvas and even googled 't shirt printing,' which came up with a large number of possibilities. I think it's great that you compared poetry to other types of artistic endeavour, which I think is spot on. I certainly find that art, singing, dance etc sparks off my imagination, which can lead to a poem or a story. No doubt the same is true for poetry, which inspires other artists.
By the way have you ever tried chicken liver rissoto... it's very nice.

Offline eric

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Re: Skylarking Under Water
« Reply #10 on: October 30, 2008, 09:40:39 PM »
I used to hate liver as a child, but I loved it when mom made liver and bacon, sometimes with fried onions.  The onions I could take or leave, but I wrapped each bite orf liver in bacon and it wasn't half bad.  Then for seconds I would have bacon.  Then for thirds I would have bacon. 

Thanks for the educ about concrete poetry, Amie.  I think most of what I said still applies.  Would like to see more of p. tiger's other work, though.
« Last Edit: October 30, 2008, 09:42:29 PM by eric »