Tuesday, November 27, 2007


We set three then jumped ship.
Little scuttles, flesh and blood

(post removed)


An Honest Man said...


Jane Holland said...

I like this very much. However, the ending isn't quite there yet. I think the problem may be that you suddenly mention the telly and static, when really the whole poem up to that point has been focussed on the comings and goings of mice, and your own horror at the process of catching them. What I find when endings go wrong for me is that I've often attempted to be smarter than the poem itself - or rather tried to, but ended up being less smart than the poem - because I haven't trusted what it's been saying.

So, at the end, the poem becomes rather like a joke I need to cap with a clever punchline. Yet the poem is capable of resolving itself perfectly well without my interference.

Sometimes that means just lopping off the last couple of lines and leaving it hanging out there, in the wind, daringly. Sometimes it means looking back to the beginning and asking myself where the poem was headed in the first few lines and did it actually get there? If not, what can I do to rectify that?

In other words, if it's a short lyric one-idea poem, stick to the one idea. Don't suddenly open the poem out at the end and try to encompass other ideas in your final flourish. That can work in some cases, of course! But if it feels wrong, it probably is.

I wasn't sure about the scream bit too. I think the creeping horror is perfectly conveyed by earlier lines and doesn't need to be reinforced at the end at all.

Sorry, ramble over. Feel free to be horrid to me in return. I like what you're writing here. You have a neat and rather surreal turn of mind that appeals to me. Keep it up - hope you're sending some of these out to magazines, not just posting them to your blog!


Sorlil said...

Hi jane, you've hit the nail on the head!
"I've often attempted to be smarter than the poem itself" - recently I've been trying to write beyond the subject matter of the poem, to find out what it's 'really' saying and trying to superimpose it on the actual content of the poem so your comments are apt!
Thanks very much for the crit, you've given me plenty to think about. Being a fan of your work I'm delighted that you like my poem and I appreciate the time you took over it!

Jane Holland said...

Don't mention it. I'm always interested in the way poems work and fit together, and how, if there's a problem, to fix that.

Typically though, I find my own 'problem' poems frustrating; other people's lines and endings are far easier to deal with, probably because I'm not as close to them emotionally!