Wednesday, 15 October 2008

Critiques of my poetry on National Poetry Day.

Thank you to everybody who took the time to look at my experimental poem "A Recurring Dream" and pass comment on it. It has been a most interesting exercise. I would love to do it again - any chance of forming a group to use the internet as a means of improving our poetry?
Thanks in particular to Dick, Dave, Crafty Green Poet, Tina, Rachel, Arija, Dominic, Reader Wil , Pamela and several others. Here are some of the suggestions:
Title too long: Rhyming Scheme too complicated; too many cliches (is there an acute symbol on this keyboard - it looks such a funny word without an acute sign over the e); beware adjectives; look at the last two lines again - and as somebody said "let the axe fall heavily in those last two lines" (like that comment).
Well - thanks to you all - I have worked long and hard on it. I make the following points:- I agree about the title being too long, although it has been a recurring dream since my early childhood; I also agree about the rhyming scheme. I have been trying to write to a rhyming scheme and find it very hard. It is difficult not to make it appear contrived. However, having started with a rhyming scheme I have found it impossible to break away from it in this particular poem. So much so that last night I had the dream again and this time, in the middle of the dream, I found myself in Rome, with somebody saying "you have to come to Rome because it rhymes with home." That is the absolute truth!! I also agree about the cliches - shimmering trees and sparkling water are not good images, are they? So I tried to rewrite that bit; altering the end I found hard and it did lead me to ask myself what I was writing the poem for. If I am writing it for myself - i.e. in some way to try and exorcise the dream as sometimes it can be quite a scary dream - then the last two lines have to stay the same because that is what I feel - I wake up distressed because I have lost my way, Or, on the other hand, do I alter it to make it a better poem? Well here are the two versions. Have I made it better or have I over worked it and made it worse?
A Recurring Dream

The road was long, and I
would follow it, and see
familiar faces with no name.
And sometimes there would be
a house I'd visited in years gone by.
Tall trees would shimmer in the haze
and sparkling water shine;
and as I walked the road became
another road of mine
I'd known from childhood days.
I'd walk until it came to me
with chilling certainty -
I walked this rambling road alone
and never would it lead me home.


The road was long, and I
would follow it and see
familiar faces with no names.
And sometimes there would be
a house I'd known in years gone by.
Tall poplars then defined a shore,
dark water, still and wide
and as I walked the road became
a narrow pot-holed lane that I'd
climbed many times before.
And, climbing it, it came to me
with chilling certainty.
This road would never lead me home.
I had to journey on alone.

Thanks again!


Sandra Evertson said...


Rachel Fox said...

Yes...I like it a lot more in the new version...especially the middle section with its poplars and pot-holes.
Personally I think it deserves a more interesting title than just 'Dream'. You don't need to come up with it right away...but keep it in mind. The title can make a real difference...maybe it shouldn't but it does.

Lucy Corrander said...

Gosh, you are brave doing this!

And I'm going to mess things up by saying I like the first version best.

I agree 'sparkling water shine' is a bit awkward but 'still and wide' seems just as conventional and has the disadvantage of introducing distractions - how still? how wide?

Can you have a 'rambling' road? Don't they stick to the route?

Hope it's ok to add comments at this late stage but, Weaver of Grass, you have leapt to the top of my list of heroes.

To invite comments on your writing is well . . . just incredibly brave. And to invite comments on your poetry is doubly incredibly brave.

And what wonderful readers who coming to your blog, take you seriously when you ask for constructive criticism.

(I've got 'The Road Through the Woods' in my head.)


Mad Bush Farm Crew said...

I like it! You write such great poetry. And have a great blog

The Weaver of Grass said...

Thank you Sandra. Your surname is interesting - take out the s and it is my mother's surname before she was married.

The Weaver of Grass said...

I agree with you Rachel - the title is always important and often tells a story before you begin to read the poem. Thanks for your comments.

The Weaver of Grass said...

Thanks Lucy - if one does not invite criticism of one's work then it is not likely to improve (you are not forced to take it but at least you can think about it!)
Re the rambling road - my father used to quote a poem (can't remember the poet) which said "the rolling English drunkard made the rolling English road". I think some roads - e.g. motorways - go straight from A to B whereas others ramble to and fro. That is what I meant. Thanks for your comments.

Crafty Green Poet said...

I prefer the second version though the lines
' a narrow pot-holed lane that I'd
climbed many times before' is perhaps a little clumsy, though that perhaps matches the pot holes... I agree with Rachel about the title too but that can always be changed later.

I think inviting critiques is admirable, I've generally not done it on my blog because there are some people out there who abuse the invitation. Also in terms of offering criticism there are too many bloggers who get angry when you don't praise their work and in fact one blogger banned someone from her blog for this. But you're right genuine critique does help improvement and understanding of ones own work.

Red Clover said...

Smiles! I would love to see more of your poetry.

acornmoon said...

I can't make up my mind which I like the best but I have enjoyed reading them.

The Weaver of Grass said...

Thanks to all of you. It has been so interesting and I have enjoyed it. If I get stuck on a poem again I may well do the exercise again.