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Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Pale poem, restless rider remix

Why we should still
read Pale Horse, Pale Rider
[updated]

So, class, I kind of warned you, tonight we're going to listen to a little Bon Iver and work on this train wreck we started on last night. 
Here's the first draft you may have been unfortunate enough to read already:

Pale Poem, Restless Rider (first draft)

Pale poem, restless rider
turn track and head home:
This is not a journey
to be undertaken tonight --
the trace is drifted and
the fenceline obscured, and
the cold has left
a faceless ache where
words should be.

Pale Poem, Restless Rider (second draft)

Pale poem, restless rider
turn track and head home,
This is not a journey
you need take tonight --
the trace is drifted,
fenceline obscured, and
the cold has left
a faceless ache where
words should be.

Lines three and four are still a problem. The idea is there but the execution sucks. Perhaps you remember from yesterday I was fighting the word 'undertake.' An awkward, unpoetic word. I was wishing 'undertook' was a word, perhaps it is, but it sounds weird. Kind of like a dead Hobbit. And I don't want to be funny. Today we've redlined the undertaking (haha! it's so dead) but the line still begins with the weak 'This' and I keep feeling there's something better out there for these two lines. My brain keeps trying to recast it but hasn't taken the bait. I tried 'This is not a journey / for tonight' but that took the 'you' out and I like the inference that the poem is directed at someone. (Of course it is! Its own narrator. It's a meta poem in denial of itself, which is what I like the best about the whole exercise.)

You'll notice, as always, the editing out of various unnecessary words -- we Strunkify it!

In the first line, my favorite, I use the phrase 'pale poem,' which is what I call the kind of poems I write -- not quite doggerel but certainly not, you know, real poems. Kind of pale imitations, and we love ripping off real writers. And the 'restless rider' is the writer, of course, and you have the alliteration thing going on, as well as the slant rhyme with rider/writer, and so the inference. Apologies to Katherine Anne Porter, of course.

And the weather also being sucky, you know, polar vortex and everything, it seemed too easy to use that at the end blame it for everything! Kind of like brain freeze. The snow has hidden where this trip is supposed to go, and it's time to give it up and go home. There's not going big here. Just the home part.

I'm gonna keep working on those journey lines and you may be unlucky enough to see this one again.


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