The Hobbyhorse
#1
I am seeking a critique for a poem I did for NaPoWriMo this year. Need fresh eyes on this one. Title is a working title. Will change it soon.


The city sleeps and so do I, I make time for tea.
The hour sits on an axis and rotates around in my head.
There is a hard tug in the rope I play with my brother.
The rope snapped, I collapsed on the floor laughing.
There is nothing so glorious as a first chuckle or fall.
I swear on my life, I will never remember that again.
 
The smell of tea, compels me to drink, I take little sips
While lying on the cotton floor, so lovely and smooth.
I feel like I am touching a lion’s fur, but I’m slowly dying
From the fact I have to gather my books to the store.
Things are looking grim, the city outside caught in a crowd,
Of people going from place to place in search of nothing.
 
I think they may be wandering for love or the news,
Of women falling from the window in dreadful pain.
I wonder; if I need to fall in love with others here.
The city where I inhabit keeps me on my toes.
And the intention of gathering my friends in the city.
Makes me feel horrid inside like a murder spree.
 
But after all this confusion with the city gentlemen.
And Gothic architecture keeping me enticed.
I think being bemused would be a suitable choice.
Since I cannot understand this ancient, dense, city.
I would much rather ride on my hobbyhorse.
Like I little kid, I’d rather ride on a horse on a stick.
 
But after gathering my books to the antique shop.
I think I might have stumbled on a future best friend.
Or at least a good friend, I have to get her to shout
My name, I want her to shout for the sake of shouting.
And smell my Boss cologne, perhaps just for today.
She should shout since we are both sick of this city.
#2
(05-02-2021, 10:29 AM)Majestic Sun Wrote:  I am seeking a critique for a poem I did for NaPoWriMo this year. Need fresh eyes on this one. Title is a working title. Will change it soon.


The city sleeps and so do I, I make time for tea.  I itch to add a foot here for rhythm - for example, "...I make some time for tea."
The hour sits on an axis and rotates around in my head.  perhaps "revolves" vice "rotates," for the stress.
There is a hard tug in the rope I play with my brother. perhaps "on" vice "in"
The rope snapped, I collapsed on the floor laughing. "snapped" and "collapsed," nice internal rhyme
There is nothing so glorious as a first chuckle or fall. a nice line
I swear on my life, I will never remember that again. referring to the previous line? Or the actions in the verse?
 
The smell of tea, compels me to drink, I take little sips again, perhaps "demands I drink" vice "compels me to..." for rhythm, perhaps
While lying on the cotton floor, so lovely and smooth.  perhaps "a" for "the"
I feel like I am touching a lion’s fur, but I’m slowly dying  maybe cut "a" and condense - "I fell I'm touching lion's fur..."
From the fact I have to gather my books to the store. "For I must gather," for example
Things are looking grim, the city outside caught in a crowd,  drop "a", perhaps?
Of people going from place to place in search of nothing.  this line is a bit of a letdown... perhaps change to imply they don't know what they seek?
 
I think they may be wandering for love or the news,  drop "the" ?
Of women falling from the window in dreadful pain.  perhaps "its" vice "the" referring back to the city?
I wonder; if I need to fall in love with others here.  why semicolon?  Otherwise, excellent line
The city where I inhabit keeps me on my toes.  drop "where" and cliche warning for "on my toes"
And the intention of gathering my friends in the city.  "And the" weak; maybe "And my intent to gather..."
Makes me feel horrid inside like a murder spree.  Impactful closer.
 
But after all this confusion with the city gentlemen. no period, I think
And Gothic architecture keeping me enticed. or here, either
I think being bemused would be a suitable choice. needs a little smoothing, but good line
Since I cannot understand this ancient, dense, city.
I would much rather ride on my hobbyhorse.  Important line, could rearrange for impact - "I'd much rather" or drop "on"
Like I little kid, I’d rather ride on a horse on a stick. this line also needs work - smooth and compress
 
But after gathering my books to the antique shop.  "gathering" an odd choice for verb - "carrying" or "laboring?"
I think I might have stumbled on a future best friend. no period?
Or at least a good friend, I have to get her to shout "must" vice "have to?"  Even "must get her..."
My name, I want her to shout for the sake of shouting.
And smell my Boss cologne, perhaps just for today.
She should shout since we are both sick of this city. Important line - perhaps "because" vice "since?"

Hard to find a critic for a longer work; this one is interesting (detail notes above).

In moderate critique, please don't take the detail notes above too much to heart - suggestions even when specific.

The reading seems somewhat choppy to me.  The story meanders, but if you established a rhythm it could meander better (in my opinion).  Often the way to that is dropping "the" and other words; they say contractions suggest forcing to a meter, but they can also improve flow (again, to my way of thinking).

Lastly, some (including many on this board) consider capitalizing the start of each line archaic.  I don't entirely agree, but in the case of this poem so many of the lines are properly ended with a period that those which need lower case due to sentence structure would benefit from not being capitalized, to emphasize that they continue the thought or phrase.  There are places (4th stanza, in particular) where line-ending periods are out of place since the sentence continues.

That's all I have - try it with only required capitalization, watch sentence structure, smooth and compress.  Have fun!
feedback award Non-practicing atheist
#3
(05-02-2021, 11:50 AM)dukealien Wrote:  
(05-02-2021, 10:29 AM)Majestic Sun Wrote:  I am seeking a critique for a poem I did for NaPoWriMo this year. Need fresh eyes on this one. Title is a working title. Will change it soon.


The city sleeps and so do I, I make time for tea.  I itch to add a foot here for rhythm - for example, "...I make some time for tea."
The hour sits on an axis and rotates around in my head.  perhaps "revolves" vice "rotates," for the stress.
There is a hard tug in the rope I play with my brother. perhaps "on" vice "in"
The rope snapped, I collapsed on the floor laughing. "snapped" and "collapsed," nice internal rhyme
There is nothing so glorious as a first chuckle or fall. a nice line
I swear on my life, I will never remember that again. referring to the previous line? Or the actions in the verse?
 
The smell of tea, compels me to drink, I take little sips again, perhaps "demands I drink" vice "compels me to..." for rhythm, perhaps
While lying on the cotton floor, so lovely and smooth.  perhaps "a" for "the"
I feel like I am touching a lion’s fur, but I’m slowly dying  maybe cut "a" and condense - "I fell I'm touching lion's fur..."
From the fact I have to gather my books to the store. "For I must gather," for example
Things are looking grim, the city outside caught in a crowd,  drop "a", perhaps?
Of people going from place to place in search of nothing.  this line is a bit of a letdown... perhaps change to imply they don't know what they seek?
 
I think they may be wandering for love or the news,  drop "the" ?
Of women falling from the window in dreadful pain.  perhaps "its" vice "the" referring back to the city?
I wonder; if I need to fall in love with others here.  why semicolon?  Otherwise, excellent line
The city where I inhabit keeps me on my toes.  drop "where" and cliche warning for "on my toes"
And the intention of gathering my friends in the city.  "And the" weak; maybe "And my intent to gather..."
Makes me feel horrid inside like a murder spree.  Impactful closer.
 
But after all this confusion with the city gentlemen. no period, I think
And Gothic architecture keeping me enticed. or here, either
I think being bemused would be a suitable choice. needs a little smoothing, but good line
Since I cannot understand this ancient, dense, city.
I would much rather ride on my hobbyhorse.  Important line, could rearrange for impact - "I'd much rather" or drop "on"
Like I little kid, I’d rather ride on a horse on a stick. this line also needs work - smooth and compress
 
But after gathering my books to the antique shop.  "gathering" an odd choice for verb - "carrying" or "laboring?"
I think I might have stumbled on a future best friend. no period?
Or at least a good friend, I have to get her to shout "must" vice "have to?"  Even "must get her..."
My name, I want her to shout for the sake of shouting.
And smell my Boss cologne, perhaps just for today.
She should shout since we are both sick of this city. Important line - perhaps "because" vice "since?"

Hard to find a critic for a longer work; this one is interesting (detail notes above).

In moderate critique, please don't take the detail notes above too much to heart - suggestions even when specific.

The reading seems somewhat choppy to me.  The story meanders, but if you established a rhythm it could meander better (in my opinion).  Often the way to that is dropping "the" and other words; they say contractions suggest forcing to a meter, but they can also improve flow (again, to my way of thinking).

Lastly, some (including many on this board) consider capitalizing the start of each line archaic.  I don't entirely agree, but in the case of this poem so many of the lines are properly ended with a period that those which need lower case due to sentence structure would benefit from not being capitalized, to emphasize that they continue the thought or phrase.  There are places (4th stanza, in particular) where line-ending periods are out of place since the sentence continues.

That's all I have - try it with only required capitalization, watch sentence structure, smooth and compress.  Have fun!

Thank you Duke! I needed this, I will revise this piece carefully. To your question: I did mean the actions in the verse on line 6 Stanza 1. 

P.S: would it be better if it were blank verse?
#4
Quote: ...

P.S: would it be better if it were blank verse?

I'm not sure it would.  You can try it, but I don't think you'll be able to easily reduce it to a consistent line length.   A more easily read rhythm, maybe, without trying to make it completely consistent or all line lengths the same.
feedback award Non-practicing atheist
#5
(05-02-2021, 10:20 PM)dukealien Wrote:  
Quote: ...

P.S: would it be better if it were blank verse?

I'm not sure it would.  You can try it, but I don't think you'll be able to easily reduce it to a consistent line length.   A more easily read rhythm, maybe, without trying to make it completely consistent or all line lengths the same.

Ok, I will try to see if it works.
#6
Majestic, Dukealien has done such a thorough job of critique, I will wait until I see a revision, but I wanted to add my second to Duke's first comment, that this is an interesting poem.  I kind of like the meandering aspect, but that is going to annoy other readers.  But every stanza has some good lines as D pointed out.

Anyway, looking forward to the revision.
“All persons, living or dead, are entirely coincidental.”  Kurt Vonnegut
#7
(05-04-2021, 06:31 AM)TranquillityBase Wrote:  Majestic, Dukealien has done such a thorough job of critique, I will wait until I see a revision, but I wanted to add my second to Duke's first comment, that this is an interesting poem.  I kind of like the meandering aspect, but that is going to annoy other readers.  But every stanza has some good lines as D pointed out.

Anyway, looking forward to the revision.

Thanks Tranquil, I think the revision though may ruin the poem. What do you think?
#8
Duke said "I'm not sure it would.  You can try it, but I don't think you'll be able to easily reduce it to a consistent line length.   A more easily read rhythm, maybe, without trying to make it completely consistent or all line lengths the same."  I agree.

Here's my suggestion.  First, do or at least consider all Dukalien's suggestions for word changes etc.  He has given you a lot of good suggestions.  Use them.

As for blank verse, I don't write to metric formulas, so I'm the wrong person to ask.  I would say read it aloud (AFTER you make changes Dukealien suggests), break the lines where you pause while reading it aloud.  I don't know if that's free verse or what.  But it leaves room for rhythym within and between the lines.  I can't tell you how to make it more rhythmic uintil I see what you do next.
“All persons, living or dead, are entirely coincidental.”  Kurt Vonnegut
#9
(05-04-2021, 08:53 AM)TranquillityBase Wrote:  Duke said "I'm not sure it would.  You can try it, but I don't think you'll be able to easily reduce it to a consistent line length.   A more easily read rhythm, maybe, without trying to make it completely consistent or all line lengths the same."  I agree.

Here's my suggestion.  First, do or at least consider all Dukalien's suggestions for word changes etc.  He has given you a lot of good suggestions.  Use them.

As for blank verse, I don't write to metric formulas, so I'm the wrong person to ask.  I would say read it aloud (AFTER you make changes Dukealien suggests), break the lines where you pause while reading it aloud.  I don't know if that's free verse or what.  But it leaves room for rhythym within and between the lines.  I can't tell you how to make it more rhythmic uintil I see what you do next.

I see, I will take Dukealien's advice to heart, and I will read it aloud.




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