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ChrisD1 Profile
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A Solid Apparition


an ear like crystal catacombs, that is
to say, an ear for the sublime

out there tuning that precarious
piano right where the rambling prairie
ambles off the cliff

with the sun on his green visor
tall tickseed at his knees
wrecking the dark trouser crease

drenched in dandelion
bent like a rabbi to the book.

Last edited by ChrisD1, Feb/10/2010, 2:48 pm
Feb/10/2010, 11:29 am Link to this post Send Email to ChrisD1   Send PM to ChrisD1
 
Terreson Profile
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Re: A Solid Apparition


Not sure what the poem is after, Chris. But I respond to the images coming out of unexpected associations such as crystal catacomb, precarious piano, prairies ambling off a cliff, drenched in dandelion. And the last, strong, line grounds the poem in a very visual visual of the poem's subject.

Tere
Feb/10/2010, 7:38 pm Link to this post Send Email to Terreson   Send PM to Terreson
 
ChrisD1 Profile
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Re: A Solid Apparition


Thank you, Tere. This is how I envision writing poetry, one way I envision it: piano tuning at the edge of a cliff. I actually see this.

I find it interesting that the piano tuner is a guy, in that I'm a gal and all. Don't know what it means but I'm completely fond of this fellow.

Thanks for your response.

Chris

Last edited by ChrisD1, Feb/11/2010, 8:11 am
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culdesac101 Profile
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Re: A Solid Apparition


Hi Chris. Enjoyed "an ear like crystal catacombs, that is/to say, an ear for the sublime". the dramatization of the creative process works well for me. a sense of balance struck, the pivotal role of the maker. "precarious" seems be a tad unnecessary though especially with the cliff description following. maybe some other adjective? thanks -arka.
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Patricia Jones Profile
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Re: A Solid Apparition


I have loved thinking about this poem. The line that doesn't trip me, but makes me wonder is this one:


wrecking the dark trouser crease


The fact that a trouser crease doesn't quite fit with a rambling prairie, tickseed and dandelions, I don't think is accidental on your part.

Making a reader wonder is a good way to leave them.

Thanks!

Pat

---
"Don't you worry--I ain't evil, I'm just bad".
~Chris Smither~
Feb/11/2010, 1:05 am Link to this post Send Email to Patricia Jones   Send PM to Patricia Jones
 
ChrisD1 Profile
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Re: A Solid Apparition


arka,

Thanks for your response. It's good to know that this mostly works for you. About "precarious," you're right, its obvious/redundant, too easy. Thanks for pointing that out. I liked the sound of it with "piano" and liked the word "precarious" hanging off the end of the first line. thanks again.

hey Pat,

Thank you for your comments. Yeah, the piano tuner is not a primal character. He's a button-down kinda guy.

Chris
Feb/11/2010, 8:26 am Link to this post Send Email to ChrisD1   Send PM to ChrisD1
 
Zakzzz5 Profile
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Re: A Solid Apparition


ChrisD1,

This poem doesn't work for me. There are fine lines in it; I particularly like the second stanza, though I agree you might be able to kill precarious.

The rest of the poem is just too obscure, particularly the last two stanzas. Thanks for posting. Zak

quote:

ChrisD1 wrote:

an ear like crystal catacombs, that is
to say, an ear for the sublime

out there tuning that precarious
piano right where the rambling prairie
ambles off the cliff

with the sun on his green visor
tall tickseed at his knees
wrecking the dark trouser crease

drenched in dandelion
bent like a rabbi to the book.



Feb/12/2010, 4:37 pm Link to this post Send Email to Zakzzz5   Send PM to Zakzzz5
 
ChrisD1 Profile
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Re: A Solid Apparition


Fair enough, Zak. Thanks for dropping in.

Chris
Feb/13/2010, 9:47 am Link to this post Send Email to ChrisD1   Send PM to ChrisD1
 
SteveParker Profile
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Re: A Solid Apparition


Hi, Chris, I like obscure and imagistic poetry.

I wanted to disagree with everyone about 'precarious', but I couldn't. In fact, its not just 'precarious', but 'that precarious' that tunes me out there. I feel like using 'that' buys into a sort of known argot of the casual dramatic. It's like using 'just' or 'I guess' or something. There are ways that writers try to create certain effects to do with colloquy and closeness to the reader, and I think this is one of them.

My only other nit is the last line, which I feel brings this back to the conventional. It seems like a comedown to me after that woderful 'drenched in dandelion'. We pass from the magical-realist into the heavy classical didactic there, and the shift feels wrong and unnecessary to me. The penultimate line sparkles and the final one beats like a funeral drub. I'd lose it on those grounds, personally.

Other than that, I really liked it. I'd just quite like to see it become slightly more of what it is.

Cheers,

Steve.



an ear like crystal catacombs, that is
to say, an ear for the sublime

out there tuning that precarious
piano right where the rambling prairie
ambles off the cliff

with the sun on his green visor
tall tickseed at his knees
wrecking the dark trouser crease

drenched in dandelion
bent like a rabbi to the book.
Feb/13/2010, 4:12 pm Link to this post Send Email to SteveParker   Send PM to SteveParker
 
ChrisD1 Profile
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Re: A Solid Apparition


Steve,

Thank you so much for the critical look. As to the final lines--I was thinking juxtapose as opposed to shift--but I do appreciate your POV and will reconsider.

That's three strikes against "precarious."

Chris
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Terreson Profile
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Re: A Solid Apparition


Well, Chrisfriend, this is where a workshop setting can drive a poet to drink, if not over the cliff of poetry itself. Precarious piano not only works nicely on my ear, it works in a Dahlian sort of way on my picture-brain. And, as said above, poem's last line is like an electrical ground wire. And I can tell you why it works for me. It is solidly pedestrian. To me it is an everyman image. Now go easy on the bottle please.

On a slightly different note I hope you are as appreciative as I am of how every individual reader speaks up, gives the honest reaction cleanly.

Tere
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SteveParker Profile
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Re: A Solid Apparition


Yeah, let me focus that a little. I don't object to 'precarious piano' either, it is the 'that' that I don't get with, as it seems like a semi-conscious default into a known system of atmosphere. I hope that makes sense, as it sounds a bit arsey when I read it back! Haha, 'a semi-conscious default into a known system of atmosphere...'!!! Hahahahahahahahahahahaha!!!!

I can't believe this !@#$ comes out of me sometimes. I assure you I don't say things like that in real life. But it does sort of say what I mean.

Tere, I think this is the good thing about critique: you make the poet look again and decide what was conscious and what was not. What was firing and what wasn't. It's never about giving solutions or rewriting someone's poem, it's just about alerting the poet to various potentials, positive or negative. The responsibility then passes back to the poet, who (along with many other things) has to learn the skill of entirely ignoring the critique when it's not valuable. That's why it doesn't matter if 10 experienced and knowledgeable critics all line up and say entirely different things about a poem. In fact, that's probably better than them all agreeing.

Anyway, I'm not suggesting Chris has to learn anything here, or at least no more than the rest of us. We all have to keep learning all the time, don't we.

Steve.
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ChrisD1 Profile
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Re: A Solid Apparition


hi the two of you,

I'm not being driven to drink or over the cliff although I did fall on the floor laughing at Steve's "arsey" riff.

Thing is the choice was just that, a choice,
entirely conscious and not a default function. That doesn't justify it and I will rethink it.

I wasn't very inclined to lose the rabbi but he is strong seasoning; maybe he does overwhelm. I don't know now. Thank you both. Thank you very much.

Chris
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Katlin Profile
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Re: A Solid Apparition


Hi Chris,

I gather from your comment (I cheated) that this is a kind of ars poetic. Tere's equivalent of the highwire act, no net. I think I got that from S1 and 2 even before your explanation. I like precarious piano and hope you don't change it. I am not at all troubled by double precariousness of a piano at the cliff's edge. Like too the way the rambling prairie gives way to a big drop. Ha! Don't get too complacent? I might change the "that" to "a" though. Might also consider dropping A in the title. Reading the poem through, starting with the title, one less "a" sound would sound better to my tin ear.

S3 reminds me of an accountant, perhaps a blackjack dealer or, in the context of sun and tickseed, a golfer! Anyhow, someone trying to be more practical than the sublime piano tuner. I like thinking about how these two figures might work together to make a poem. The paradox of an apparition made solid.

Love "drenched in dandelion" (ubiquitous weeds, not pampered, hothouse petunias). More curious by the unexpected rabbi, but not the point I could say with confidence: he's gotta go. He invokes the sense of someone serious, also with an ear for the sublime but in a more deliberate, learned way. Bent suggests to me he (he?!?) is more worshipful than legalistic, but I don't know. Steve mentioned conventional. Maybe, but how does the conventional meet with the sublime?

Just some highly subjective observations, hope some one of them proves useful.
Feb/15/2010, 11:07 am Link to this post Send Email to Katlin   Send PM to Katlin
 
ChrisD1 Profile
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Re: A Solid Apparition


Kat,

Thanks. Rabbi went from soldier to sentry to scholar to rabbi. Was trying to capture a quality of close attention/a single pointed focus/sense of mission/duty.

I did have accountant in mind also. Interesting how the quality kept morphing into various images. Thanks for the lovely comments.

Chris
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zoe guilherme Profile
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Re: A Solid Apparition


Hi Chris

Good to meet and read you.

I like this mysterious little piece. It brought to mind the incident of the piano found in the woods in ’98, I think.

The mystery of that piano never reached conclusion, and I have often romanticised its existence.

I’ve read your explanation, and I’m not picking up on your intent, but it matters not to me, depends how important it is to you that you communicate your initial intent with the reader. Perhaps throwing some crumbs into the title might help.

For me, I like that this remains just out of reach.

I love this --

drenched in dandelion -- exquisite

Ok, I also have a bit of a problem with 'precarious'. I think I would prefer something that lends itself more to the aloneness of the moment.

Enjoyed the read, Chris.

Best to you

Zoe




quote:

ChrisD1 wrote:

an ear like crystal catacombs, that is
to say, an ear for the sublime

out there tuning that precarious
piano right where the rambling prairie
ambles off the cliff

with the sun on his green visor
tall tickseed at his knees
wrecking the dark trouser crease

drenched in dandelion
bent like a rabbi to the book.



Feb/15/2010, 6:10 pm Link to this post Send Email to zoe guilherme   Send PM to zoe guilherme
 
ChrisD1 Profile
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Re: A Solid Apparition


hi Zoe,

Good to meet you too. Thanks for the piano in the woods story. I didn't know about that.

I'm listening to a series of lectures on Lit
Theory on line. I like the rejection of authorial intent as a reference point for interpreting the text. That makes ultimate sense to me. However, this is a workshop and how can we help one another without knowing what the work in progress is attempting to be? Well anyway, Welcome and thank you for your comments, Zoe.

Chris
Feb/15/2010, 7:28 pm Link to this post Send Email to ChrisD1   Send PM to ChrisD1
 


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