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Full Version: Todd on "Stability" by reppindetroit
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I think Todd really offers enough support and encouragement balanced with specific things to work on in this poem:

Original post: http://www.pigpenpoetry.com/thread-17238...#pid191718

Hi RD, welcome to the site! Since you're thinking on using this for a scholarship, I'm going to be even more direct than normal. It's all about the poem and trying to help you make it better I hope some of this helps. This is serious critique, don't lose heart even if there's a lot of criticism I think you can develop this into something workable. Here goes:

Your title isn't exciting. It doesn't demand that I read the poem. Spend some time thinking about your theme and give it some more attention. You repeat stability throughout the poem which cuts the effectiveness of the title. When you use simple titles you want the poem to explode outward with the title anchoring how people interpret the imagery and language. This sort of poem needs a more evocative title.

(2 hours ago)reppindetroit Wrote:  I am a first time poet after reading poetry for my 17 years of life. However, a teacher recommended I submit this for a scholarship. Feel free to tear it apart (just try not to make me cry).

This isn't a rule, more of a sound guideline, try to punctuate like you would in prose. You can avoid the conventions but if you do and your work isn't known to your reader they will assume you don't know what you're doing. Again since you're going for a scholarship I would recommend going the more normal path with punctuation--think of it all as sentences. 

When one’s being is controlled--This feels formal and awkward for an opening "one's being" feels overwrought.
Crisp and collected, as the pages of a book--I'm having trouble with this while paper may be crisp and while ideas might be collected in books or on the pages of a book I don't see how this implies control. The image as it's stated feels a bit murky. If you went with some idea like: "When you feel controlled as if your destiny were written in a book" or some such that would make more sense. I'm not suggesting that as a change per se, I'm just trying to show where it breaks for me.
Scraping through--Scraping through seems odd as opposed to simply reading. There is also an issue with line breaks. This may be too much to get into right now but for now try to rearrange your lines as stand alone ideas not choppy fragments. There will be more to do with them after you've rearranged them, but for now that would probably be a good first pass.
Word by word--You're trying to give a repetitive sense with this and dawn below, maybe consider parallel structure "word after word" to match "dawn after dawn"
With fingers so deftly
Or desperately 
Pushing them through--This sequence also seems a bit odd. I don't see you how with your fingers actually push words through. It's confusing.

When the sun rises in calculated motion--I sort of like calculated motion. It gives a sense of predestination or resignation.
Dawn after dawn, meeting its delicate horizon--delicate is just a modifier which is not as effective as imbuing the horizon with delicacy through a better crafted image. Thematically, delicate seems out of place anyway with what you're trying to convey which seems more machine-like and deterministic.
Perfectly in cue with the clock on the wall--Maybe instead of in cue, in sync, or synchronized.

There is a sense of Stability that is understood--Why capitalize stability? Lines like this require proof from the build up. If instead you combined with "There is stability when the sun rises (line break) in calculated motion" You allow the image to prove the statement.
Devoured with the utmost passion
For nothing is more celebrated than Stability--These last two lines don't add anything. This needs an image of some sort to prove what you are saying. How can you show these ideas in imagery?

But what is seen and heard is not always the forefront of truth--How can you show this without stating it. You're using natural ideas (the sun, time, etc) so how does nature demonstrate your idea?
Not always what it seems to be
For the heart is incessantly watched by the softest eyes and heard with the most delicate ears--Who is doing the watching and hearing? You haven't brought us here naturally so it just seems like a declarative statement.
Known by the faintest of minds
But never understood--appearance of wisdom but doesn't say much.

And this man has a being 
That is forever seen, eternally known
His being, his meaning
Is crisp, collected
So it seems--Really wordy just to make your point. Again, pare this down to the essentials and try not to get mystical about it even if you use the word. Simple expression will really help you.

Yet his slumber scrapes through like a book--Not clear enough. Scraps still throws me off.
Tainted with stains--sin of some sort. Tainted doesn't feel like it goes with the book imagery. Pages stained, pages discolored, etc
Beaten mercilessly as the pages are ripped--Again stick with the image. Beaten mercilessly shouldn't be here.
Word by word
By filthy fingers with dirty bruises
Deftly--Not a good line. Adverbs are often your enemy. Try to remove as many adjectives and adverbs as you can and it will likely read much stronger.
Fingers that grasp for Stability
Desperately--Again not a good one word line.
And his screams are unheard
Word by word--This repetition loses power each time you use it.
The clock never stops its jesting with each click
For it is Stable
So it seems

But this is merely slumber
So when the sun meets its horizon
And the tormenting clock 
Is now singing its praise
It is reminder that the day must begin
Dirty pages must turn
He will wake
He will smile
He is Stable
So it seems

I think you might have an idea you can develop. It just seems weighted down and hard to see. Try paring down to the essentials and then see what you have. I'm sure this is probably more overwhelming than helpful, but I hope you can use some of it.



todd has good clarity when giving feedback...good choice milo.
Todd has graciously helped me with so many of my poems. His critiques are loaded with suggestions and delivered fairly and respectfully, as illustrated in this particular highlight./Chris