Wednesday, June 18, 2008

First draft of a bit of an experimental piece!

Voices from the Land

Hawthorns form a palisade,

(post removed)


Jim Murdoch said...

This is an evocative piece. Not really my style or subject matter so I'm struggling to connect with it. The first section of the piece is the kind of poetry that is hard to do well and the bad attempts give poetry a bad name. When I was young I'd write stuff about "sloe-eyes" but I really couldn't pull it off and I, wisely, moved on to safer subjects. To be fair you've had a decent stab at it. It flows well and your word choice is intriguing. That she was Polish grabbed my attention. I hadn't expected a Pole.

The second part tripped me up because you move to first person and I wondered who was doing the talking. Could it be the woman in the first section? Is this what she is saying? The rhyme scheme is also well done. The 'glass hull' puzzled me. I'd expect that on a ship in the Caribbean not north of Scotland.

In the third section we've moved back to the narrator, the watcher of Part I. He meets her and they head towards a house.

I expected the last section to be in the house but it's not unless this is the inside of the ruin.

There are some lovely images in this piece. I especially liked the 'mirror men'. If there's a weakness, for me it's the twisting tenses. Even in Part III: 'We glide over the road' followed quickly by 'I came / across the body / of a house' – where does she disappear to?

I'd be curious to hear what you had in mind when you wrote this.

Sorlil said...

hi jim, thanks very much for reading and spending time over it, I really appreciate it.

I've been reading up recently on the different poetic movements which have influenced British and American poetics, trying to understand how they have developed and the major differences between them. In doing so I discovered the Symbolist movement and its effect on modernist poetics which seemed to me to bring together what I find most attractive in poetry.

So this was my first attempt in trying to write within that tradition where, according to my interpretation, the linear narrative of the poem takes a back seat to the power of words to affect the senses - sonically, rhythmically and the use of certain words / phrases to tap into inner consciousness.

It's interesting and valuable to read your interpretation of the writing. The poem is really made up of dreams and snapshots of nature which, when I brought them together, seemed to me to be about Scotland - my perceptions, memories and thoughts identified with the mystical notion of this land/country. I thought the different parts were all different voices speaking but now reading it through your eyes I see something different. You're right about the tenses, I need to sort that out.

This kind of writing is, in some ways, as much a mystery to me as it is to anyone else reading it. Okay so maybe I'm being a little ambitious but you learn through failing, right?!

Jim Murdoch said...

I suspected you were attempting something along these lines. My main problem with this kind of poetry (and it's something you have no control over) is that the reader – most readers anyway – will try and impose meaning on the piece, like I did, making up a story of a man who meets his Polish lover in a country setting where she tells him of her dream before leading him back to a ruined farmhouse where she lies down in the flowers in readiness for him.

On one level you did succeed though, the imagery is good and the poem reads well. I personally had a problem with where the line breaks fell but I can never figure out half the time why poets structure their pieces the way they do – it seems so arbitrary most of the time.

I mentioned 'the mirror men' in my last comment but I think it is a very powerful image (I'm half tempted to misappropriate it myself) and worth looking at again even if you decided to do nothing more with this piece which I think would be a mistake.

Dave King said...

They just get better and better. I'd like to pick out bits that wowed me, but I can't, each verse is a magnet for me. Just keep 'em coming, there's a love...

Sorlil said...

hi jim, thankyou, I really like your interpretation and I don't have a problem with people making their own sense of it, that's part of the purpose of this kind of writing.

thanks dave, I'm glad you like it!

swiss said...

you shifted that one too quick! i was still thinking about it! lol

Sorlil said...

I can email it to you if you want

Rachel Fox said...

I liked the mirrormen too...and now they've disappeared. I found the first section...certainly the least immediate (which I know isn't necessarily a bad thing)...I felt you got going more after that.

Sorlil said...

thanks rachel, I know what you mean about the first part, seems a bit trying too hard.