January 30, 2008

Inventing a new poetic form

Inventing a new poetic form eh? Piss easy! All in a day's work!

We're onto the poetry section of the course now. Works different muscles, but the pain's the same. I think I'm by nature more of a poetry person than a prose person - in that I have a fondness for ridiculous adjectives and not making sense.

Without further blurb, I present this! A poem, interrogating a flower, in the Grid form.

I

pop

each

cupped

carpel

under

my

nose

have

you

steel

enough

to

fire

truth,

aside

seen

a

thing

slipping

the

heat

naked

guilt

succulent

pill

will

muck

air

up

and

you

vows

kept

spark

my

dredging

purging

skint

mind

mask

within

bearing

child

seed

now

grow

numb

your

brazen

heavy

root

and

crisp

tough

tongue

forge

buds

fruit

raw

self

cries

husk

eater

The rules are these: the poem must read down the columns as well as along the rows, and it must have eight words and ten syllables per line. The interrogator words are presented horizontally, and the flower's reply is vertical.

I suppose I was thinking about hardball corrupt-cop films. Endless cyclic conversations in the interrogation room, where you won't get anywhere until you say what they want you to say. I like the idea of the answer lying in the question. Good concept, but the execution needs some work...

Problems: You can't punctuate it - there's no way of delineating the punctuation of the vertically-read poem from the horizontally-read. This is a major disadvantage because without punctuation some parts look like a random string of words. When I read it out in class it sounded pretty abstract. Towards the end (the bottom right hand quarter) it gets desperate. I had these tricky syllable quotas to fill in both directions and in the end I had to compromise sense for form, and it shows. I am currently trying to rewrite it without the syllable restriction. Without it it will lose some of the tightness and attack, but it will become vastly more sensible and accessible. The trick is to make form seem like it isn't there.  At the moment it reads laboured.

Here it is written out more conventionally, with punctuation, just to give a sense of how it sounds in my head.

The interrogation. 

I pop each cupped carpel under my nose.

Have you steel enough to fire truth aside?

Seen a thing slipping the heat? Naked guilt.

Succulent pill will muck air up, and you.

Vows kept spark my dredging, purging, skint mind.

Mask within, bearing child seed, now grow numb.

Your brazen heavy root and crisp tough tongue

Forge buds, fruit. Raw self cries, ‘husk eater!’.

The response. 

I have seen succulent vows mask your forge.

Pop you a pill, kept within brazen buds.

Each steel thing will spark, bearing heavy fruit.

Cupped enough slipping muck, my child? Root-raw

Carpel, to the air, dredging seed and self.

Under fire heat up, purging now crisp cries.

My truth, naked and skint, grow tough husk,

Nose aside guilt, you mind-numb tongue-eater.


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