Raef: Task 1 from ‘Assignment Week 3’ handout

[We said we’d give some feedback on each other’s poems from last week, so I guess if we all post on here and comment below, that could work…?]

Currently Untitled

just outside
the main entrance
of the social club

cigarette limp in the fingers,
jaw limp in the face,
while their wedding
reception buffet
was leading the way
into a first dance

(third child becoming
rotund fact veiled
in white lace –
imminent, on its way
to join the world)

was the first time
I found out
about Chinese lanterns,
was the same night
I found out
I’m not 100%
sceptical
about UFOs

them: jellyfish on high
glowing like hot ash
fleet slow-drifting
across hushed fear

me: stock-still
just outside
the main entrance
of the social club,
betrayed! by five pints
into believing

end of the world
imminent, on its way

Sky Lanterns

just outside
the social club
main entrance

cigarette limp in the fingers
jaw limp in the face
while their wedding
reception buffet
was leading the way
into first dance

(third child becoming
rotund fact veiled
in white lace –
imminent, on its way
to join the world)

was the first time
I found out
about Chinese lanterns
was the same night
scepticism
dropped
several points
below 100%

them: jellyfish
on high
glowing like hot ash
fleet slow drifting
above car-park
on mute

me: stock-still
just outside
the social club 
main entrance
betrayed! by five pints
into believing

end of the world
imminent, on its way

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3 thoughts on “Raef: Task 1 from ‘Assignment Week 3’ handout

  1. ecopoetics

    This poem has a wonderfully self-contained measure–especially in the second stanza, the way it sequences the imagery and parses out the information. The control of the returning images is impressive. I love that pronouns are withheld in the first few lines to favor images as independent as the sounds of the lines: “cigarette limp in the fingers,/ jaw limp in the face.” The break between “wedding” and “reception buffet” is also effective, maintaining the independent feel of each line. I understand you are going for repetition (as per the prompt) but maybe the poem can be stripped down even more? The echoes are great (roundness, imminence, ideas about the world, aliens) as is the conceit at the end (the drunken vision of apocalypse): good use of exclamation! The pronouns and prepositions (I, them, me) slow the poem down for me–I wonder if so many of them are necessary? When working with this kind of measure, it’s the “little words” (as Zukofsky says) that are important. Despite the exclamation, I feel the visionary punch at the end doesn’t come forcefully enough. (Is it the literariness of “fleet slow-drifting/ across hushed fear” that slows things?) I think this poem worth reworking, in the way it carries itself to the end, with that question of “force” (being more primary than clarity). Maybe try removing “about UFOs” (which perhaps clarifies too much) and redo the last three stanzas more directly, with force in mind . . . oh, and what about a title?

    JS

    Like

    Reply
      1. ecopoetics

        Hm. I actually prefer the first version. I guess it still has more force. (Maybe you do need UFOs in the poem, after all!) Figuring out how to get force into language in a way that keeps the indirectness of poetry can be quite a challenge. Let’s look at this when we meet one-on-one.

        Like

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