My Magnum Hopeless

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coffeedodger
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My Magnum Hopeless

Post by coffeedodger » Tue Jul 13, 2010 12:29 am

Please ignore the tiny blue dots beween some words, it was the only way I could format the spacings how I want them!

My Magnum Hopeless

This was going to be the one. that changed. the world.
An opera of imagery so profound its. standing ovation
extends beyond the stars into magma and past infinity.
It would carve the edges off continents and slide. them
into one symmetrical shape,one symmetrical humanity.

It. started well, self-publishing its ambitious manifesto
in the form of blank verse neatly arranged into stanzas
shadowing the shape of the carved continents I craved.
I wanted to avoid cliché and allude to words as Genesis
recreating the Earth in my imagery yet accessible to all.

Unfortunately my ego. took over and the poem became
autobiographical, dispensing with its. universal. appeal
and sinking. under the weight of personal reminiscence.
The urgings of the writer's need to be known. imploded
into. two Saturdays. My wedding and my father's death.

And much as I tried to avoid the artificial constructs of
rhyme, I failed hopelessly. to exhale my father's breath.
The more I wrote, the more self-indulgent it became as
I stumbled on carnage. dropped into Genesis by divorce.
The seas I envisaged eliminating have drowned my face.

ray miller
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Re: My Magnum Hopeless

Post by ray miller » Tue Jul 13, 2010 5:08 pm

I can see the trouble you've gone to, bit like putting a jigsaw together. It's an intriguing result, I like the One World, squaring a circle idea, the title, and the last line is good. Mostly though, I'm left wondering about the two Saturday's!
These lines I didn't understand:

I wanted to avoid cliché and allude to words as Genesis
recreating the Earth in my imagery yet accessible to all.


I stumbled on carnage. dropped into Genesis by divorce.
I'm out of faith and in my cups
I contemplate such bitter stuff.

clarabow
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Re: My Magnum Hopeless

Post by clarabow » Tue Jul 13, 2010 6:34 pm

I wrote a comment, and then lost it! So this is the short version. the 1st stanza takes me to opera and the universe, in the 2nd it became clear this was a poem about a poem; but as it went on the universal became constricted, and finally reduced to the writer contemplating that his ambitions have come to naught. I wasn't sure about this at first, but there is a pathos coming through the rather highfalutin language, and for some reason this touched me. There are cliches but you almost prepare us for this with I wanted to avoid cliché so not sure if they are deliberate? Normally I would find this sort of poem rather abstract and distant, but it feels like there is a human trying to get out and I will read this again because I think you have achieved something here.

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Re: My Magnum Hopeless

Post by Arian » Wed Jul 14, 2010 7:03 pm

ray miller wrote:I can see the trouble you've gone to
Me too. Except, in my case, I can't see why you did. To me, it brings nothing to the piece, except a slight sense of Pseud's Corner artifice.

Which is a pity. Because I also think there's some genuinely nice things about it, too. Introducing an element of recursivity (writing, as Clara says, a poem about a poem) is a hard thing to do with any wit, but I think you've made a pretty fair stab, and I enjoyed it (once I'd negotiated the line-length contrivance). I very much like the way, almost from the start, you use increasingly purple, almost manically excessive (and meaningless) images, only to reveal that it's all an intentional irony with:
The more I wrote, the more self-indulgent it became
I honestly smiled.

In short, I think it's got a lot going for it. My recommendation would be to lose the forced line length, though.

Cheers
peter

coffeedodger
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Re: My Magnum Hopeless

Post by coffeedodger » Wed Jul 14, 2010 8:55 pm

Thanks all. Yes, it is deliberately contrived in an attempt to show that poetry is always a contrivance in my opinion. No matter how much we may like to think we are writing something free of our personal idiosyncrasies, experiences and biases we always are shaping our writing even if subconsciously from those elements. Otherwise everyone would write the same thing in the same way!

It is easy for people to claim that rhyme is a contrivance (which it is), but also that 'free verse' without a set shape is not a contrivance when in truth it is every bit as contrived! After all, we are saying things in ways that are unnatural in that a 'good' poem is something which deliberately makes a simple message complicated by using convoluted language! It is condemned for using familiar phrases aka cliches which people understand without having to think. In any other aspect of life 'plain speaking' is lauded rather than derided! So poetry is a contrary means of communication and the people who read and write it are a bit weird frankly!. :P

The other thing (which we try to deny) is that all poets are egotists who like to think that their creation is something special, unique and wonderful that the rest of the world NEEDS to be aware of. Everyone else's stuff can be an an engaging way of passing a few minutes, but is a transitory experience worthy of no more than a passing thought and perhaps a few kind words. We are all geniuses in our individual tiny minds. Hence the existence of forums like this where we can show lesser beings the amazing 'I' and the amazing 'I' is also evident in the masses and masses of poetry submitted to publishers by people who never buy or read poetry books but believe there is a market for theirs!

Ultimately, in my case, poetry is something I do to try and justify my existence, but I know it will never really mean anything to anyone else, that no one gives a damn about my failed marriage, failed career, that I miss my dad (I got married on a Saturday in 1998, dad died on a Saturday in 2007). Such experiences pollute my poetry with a degree of self-pity that means I will never achieve anything beyond being able to move words around in ways that interest me, amuse me and make sense to me. My Genesis (creativity) is damaged by memories of bad experiences (and good ones) dropping into my mind as I write which skew my attitudes and influences from the objective to the subjective. I think if we are honest, that is a universal trait of people who write, but normally we go out of our way to disguise that truth with poetic camouflage and pseudo 'free form' rather than expressing it implicity and then explicity in the way I have tried to do with my magnum hopeless.

The contrivance of the equalisation of the lines is intended to be further evidence of the pedantic, self-indulgent and absurd lengths that we go to in trying to create a masterpiece, whether we paint word pictures of intense realism or total abstraction, we are deluding ourselves that it has a purpose beyond conceit. Even this lengthy discourse I am writing now is a self-indulgent and rather pathetic attempt to try and impose some meaning on my day by flopping my deflated ego into the empty graves of poets who are still alive.

Rather than enabling our true selves to be liberated, the writing of poetry is to a large extent an introspective, time consuming, solitary pursuit evident of a personality that has a need to avoid life and experiences rather than embrace them. That is why I have tried to convey a blend of sadness and humour through my writing to show that I am aware of the absurdity of it all, but even so, I can't seem to stop myself from trying to connect with something or someone that I don't give a damn about and know is ridiculous!

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