Mike Snider's Formal Blog and Sonnetarium :
Poems, mostly metrical, and rants and raves on poetry and the po-biz.
Updated: 1/24/06; 10:26:10 PM.



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Wednesday, January 18, 2006

I've finally realized that even the 20" screen on my iMac isn't big enough for me to see how poems should be grouped for submission, so I've fired up Pages for the first time, used it to make a submission template, and printed 54 poems all properly formatted so I can see the things and not just hear them in my head. I firmly believe this is not cat-vacuuming (scroll to section 3.17) and Will Lead to Publications.

Another kind of not-cat-vacuuming I do is reformat poems, much as I rewrote terza rima narrative into ottava rima. Here, for instance, is free verse turned sonnet:

Casual Conversation

He said he was an angel
but he didn't look so good.
Asked him what was up
"Not me, man—
This job sucks."
So I bought him a draught
and settled in. "I thought
the percs'd be pretty good—
I mean, unless you're
somebody's guardian angel—
I'd hate to be mine."
"I do hate it, man."
And he drained his mug
and stood up—"See ya, pal."

Some Stranger

3 beers before he'd tell me what he did,
And I just laughed. An angel? Cherub, right?
He lost those rosy cheeks. May God forbid
You meet their kind. You'd wither in that light.

When I heard that the booth got smaller quick.
It made me wonder if beer was all he'd had—
So pale! I asked him was he feeling sick.
He shook himself, and grinned, Not near as bad
As some will feel
. Now that was really weird.
I played it safe and asked about his work—
Not bad to live forever, be revered,
Unless you're guardian to some wise-ass jerk …
You got it, pal. He drained his mug and stood.
I'm damned if I know how to do you good.

And here's a sonnet turned triolet:

Mysterious Ways

I found her on my porch one night, half stoned,
Black-eyed, and broke. I had a sofa-bed,
Where passing out "Will I be safe?" she moaned—
I figured while she snored she wasn't dead.
Next morning came the tale. It was her son
Who'd beat her up and robbed her for cocaine,
And daughter who, not to be outdone,
Had dropped her off with whiskey for her pain.
"No cops," she said before she slept again,
But I called anyway. Much good it did.
That fall the hurricane took everything.
Staying next door, she drained her glass and said,
"My Kenny stole so much from me God swore
To send a storm so he can't steal no more."

Mysterious Ways

My boy just took and took from me till God
Said That's enough! and washed away my house.
I reckon it's because I spared the rod
My boy just took and took from me till God
Had had enough of him and gave His nod
To the hurricane to stop the thieving louse.
My boy just took and took from me till God
Said That's enough, and washed away my house.

I learn a good deal from this kind of thing, but it's not just an exercise or an experiment: Auden was right that poets, unlike painters, don't do sketches. Every one might be the real thing. Usually it ain't.

Blogging, on the other hand, may very well be cat-vacuuming.

8:28:36 PM    comment: use html tags for formatting []  trackback []

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2006 Michael Snider.

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