Once Works Well was pure technology. Now it seeks merely to divert.
Pansy subjects - Verse! Opera! Domestic trivia! - are now commonplace.
The 300-word limit for posts is retained. The ego is enlarged

Monday, 30 March 2009

Bird thou never wert..... wert?

The Stanley Tools System of Versification is aimed at aspirant poets who’d be better off waxing their cars. Like most ill-conceived tuition it is based on analogy. The completed poem is seen as a wall built from multi-coloured flexible bricks which can be elongated and compressed. The poem’s dynamics are simulated by a wave form which ripples continuously along the wall, creating a rhythmic base and highlighting mismatched bricks.

An early graduate of STSV I embarked months ago on a four-verse poem in iambic pentameter. Since I know little poetry, don’t read it much and know nothing of its making I was, to use a cant phrase, outside my comfort zone. But I felt disadvantaged, surrounded as I was by those who were producing sonnets in industrial quantities, tossing off haikus and terza rima and translating from the Czech.

My proposed poem sprang from juxtaposing a three-syllable adjective with a single-syllable noun. A month later I devised a phrase which summarised particle physics. After a further month I discarded the particle physics phrase. Brick building proved to be a snare. Flemish Bond unites bricks well but makes for monotonous poetry: di-di, di-di, di-di.

The incomplete poem lay rusting on my hard disc, the first two verses apparently unbridgeable. With what now seems like unmitigated gall, I asked Julia if she could help. After deferring to the greater skills of Lucy and Eleanor she agreed but simply publishing this request stirred my somnolent muse and an idea for the link occurred. I presently play with elongatable bricks. “Dodecahedron” takes up half an iambic line and I find that encouraging.


Julia said...

Time to publish? There seems a lot of hemming and hawing going on here, which makes me believe it might be better to get it out on the page and amend it once there. (Is this me being a forthright American or Czech, I can't decide?)

And I thought your request a compliment myself, so no worries!

Barrett Bonden said...

Ever tried to carve something out of toothpaste? I've just been back, recognised both an untruth and an infelicity, and the whole second verse squelched into shapelessness. But, thank goodness, it opened up something new. You're right to suspect I've got cold feet but I it's not that that's holding me back. What's on the screen is no better than a psychoanalyst's notes on the state of my noggin.

But something has changed. By agreeing to take a clinical look at it (even though I didn't take you up) you've left me compelled to finish the thing so that I can pass it to you in a plain brown paper bag.

Check out the comments on Lucy's latest. I used the phrase The Prague Polymath and she used it back in her response. Can't be long before it becomes the universal sobriquet. Time to translate it into Czech.

Plutarch said...

Such modesty does not not become you.

Julia said...

My husband is now calling me the Prague Polymath. Pretty embarrassing but nice of you guys ;-).