October 25, 2007

some poem

Here is a poem I wrote week one when I was lonely since sometimes I write just to get stuff out.  California is very far away and it takes time to adjust :O I just do random free verse when I feel like it.  This is basically to show what I do when it's not an assignment.

I feel alone
Though students hurry all around me
chatter and noise
But in my room
there is only quiet

I sit alone
though I am chatting
It's good to stay in touch
through the intarweb
But you can't hug a computer screen

I love the food
And accents
And the excitement
of new things
New people to meet

I say hi
and know many names
and faces
but none are really close
None I can really talk to

I want to do more
Learn more
Meet more people
Keeping busy
At least keeps me from missing
what I miss

I miss the beach
the sound of the waves
And the sun
The gray here is typical
Not bothersome or a downer
But not energizing either
It just is 
And cold

I miss my friends
The ones I can be
Myself around
Where I can really talk
and do anything with

I hope I can find someone
I connect with here
and that I don't miss
too many adventures
While I have adventures
of my own here
far away

Afternoon and night
night and morning
Time zones change
so much
good morning
good night
I don't know what to say
Neither do you?

I'd say more
How I feel
But we are so far apart
So it doesn't matter
We can't do anything together
Either way
We're friends

Just let me get through
These months
Though I want
to enjoy my time here
far away from home
I don't want to waste it
Though I feel
this experience
is wasted on me
I'm too hesitant
or is it apathy

Let me live
life in the present
Enjoy now
you too

Home is where
the heart is
Which isn't here
I'll have to leave soon
So then if
This gets to feeling like home
I'll just miss it
I loose either way

I don't want to be lonely
Help me get settled
Be careful
Relationships are so hard
Making friends
is a lot of work
Sometimes I just
want to sleep

Make time go
It flies
Let me have fun
But then let me go home

- 6 comments by 2 or more people Not publicly viewable

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  1. I hope you don’t take this the wrong way, you’re just making a common mistake.

    What’s essentially wrong with this poem is that you are “telling” us stuff. Readers don’t like to be told stuff, they want to be “showed” stuff. Because you are just telling us stuff, it is uninteresting. I’d suggest you try writing about an object, or a scene. It will tell us a lot more interesting stuff about yourself than the long list of cliches you’ve just posted.

    As it stands this can’t be called a poem. It’s not “doing” anything and it’s too self involved.

    25 Oct 2007, 18:45

  2. George Ttoouli

    Hi Kristen,

    You seem to have a few ideas here that point towards poems (or stories) I think you should pursue. Such as:
    - about someone hugging a computer
    - about the waves/beaches (no need to say you miss them, make it detailed enough and that will come through, like Claire says)
    - and maybe something about the culture clash, which is a recurring theme in this piece, but isn’t given enough definition – you point towards how people say hello/goodbye, food, weather. I really like the break on: “The time zones change / so much” which could be an opener for a ‘list poem’.

    26 Oct 2007, 14:59

  3. I think the poem was hinting as some anxiety towards reverse culture shock too, and think that may be an interesting thing to develop, as it highlights the difference in culture, only the other way around from how we might expect :) good luck

    27 Oct 2007, 11:29

  4. It’s a lonely poem indeed, but I do agree with Claire, it isn’t subtle. Still, sometimes poetry is for the writer, not for the reader.

    Good use of “intarweb” by the way – geek colloquialisms for teh win.

    And I’m afraid that Britain is only going to get greyer and colder – you really hit something quintessentially British with that line. Fear not though, we do have a summer. Of sorts. You just have to watch out for it – take a nap at the wrong time and you’ll miss it.

    30 Oct 2007, 13:34

  5. I’m gonna have to disagree with Claire here. I think this does qualify as poetry, though it’s clearly not to everyone’s tastes. But the difference between showing and telling is inflated (on a purely semantic point, could one not argue that the poem is ‘showing’ or depicting an emotional state?) – after all, if poetry and art is supposed to be purely mimetic, where does that leave conceptual art or poetry? Subtlety isn’t always desirable, because subtlety and tact can leave room for ambiguity, which isn’t always desirable. Certainly the idea of poetry as a purely descriptive medium I find quite limited, even galling. I would also disagree with such a blanket statement as ‘it’s not doing anything’. It certainly did something for me, and the others have pointed out bits that they did connect with, which is not to say it couldn’t bear some polishing. But I like the almost haiku-like/comic panel style aesthetic of it, where each line contains just a single compact thought or emotion, or even half of one (which you complete through the enjambement). ‘I lose either way’ certainly leapt out at me, and the whole exercise reminded me slightly of Lost in Translation. Anyway, just thought I’d defend the poem’s status as a poem.

    14 Nov 2007, 00:39

  6. Your first point seems to be that a poem that “shows” is purely descriptive, and mime’s nature as it were. In my experience, a poem that does its homework well will always let emotion through. It isn’t ambiguous if, again, the poem has been well crafted. Hence the agony that can go into decisions over word-choices. For me, poetry is a way of expressing the innexpressible, and a way to do that is through the concrete. The abstract, which is often a domain of the “telling” leads nowhere because it leaves the reader out in the cold. By “showing” you give the reader the tools to understand where it is you are going. Obviously, rules are made to be broken, and occasionally “telling” can be put to effective use. But to me this is only effective when it is the conscious decision of a poet surveying his toolkit, rather than the default option-tick of a first-timer. This is why i’d recommend begginers to start with the “showing” first before spreading their wings.

    15 Nov 2007, 18:19

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