Exercise#5: Fat and thin

Beat writers' block here.
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bodkin
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Exercise#5: Fat and thin

Post by bodkin » Sat Mar 08, 2014 9:36 pm

An exercise to explore the space around a poem and generate a different take on it.

Take some poem you aren't progressing with. Rewrite it twice:

1) Fatten it up, pump extra words into it and make it really obese. Don't use just any words, they have to have relevance, but do not respect the original conception or sensibilities of the poem either. Add:
  • adjectives, adverbs
  • clauses, sub-clauses
  • asides, tangential remarks
  • whole extra sentences on subjects peripheral to the core...
  • you get the idea
Feel free to violate the line-lengths and play with aberrant meters during this process.

2) Then... you guessed it. cut the poem down again. Not back to where you started, but by taking what you now have as a start-point. e.g. carefully consider what you have, and what it now says, and slim the poem down to strengthen and emphasize that. If it is the same subject matter as originally, fair enough, but it probably won't be handling it in the same way...

Post both poems below here, either together or days apart if that's how long it takes and we can make a list of our top slimming tips when we're done!

Ian
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Re: Exercise#3: Fat and thin

Post by Jackie » Tue Mar 11, 2014 4:53 pm

Well, I don't know if this is what you had in mind, but :?

Hymenocallis (thinned down from fat)

The rains had come. Seasons wore long
on the caliph. He'd been taught patterns but lacked
a perennial eye. Outside his chamber,
rain on the patio had woken the old bulb;
proliferated its green into white-tipped spears.

One dusk Lily burst
dusted orange, in a white-veined gown. She crossed
to the caliph. Walked in presenting, telling
of eras long storied, but till then unsung.
Through the night he listened.

Long after she'd begun, half way to the door
—her story undone—she faded in the dawn.
He tried but couldn't grasp her. That morning a maid
picked one spent blossom off the patio floor.
And each dusk a bud opened. Lily told stories

throughout the rains. When the dries came
all seasons wore long on the caliph. He'd been taught
there were patterns but lacked a perennial eye.


Lily (thin)
by Jackie » Wed Mar 05, 2014 6:37 pm
At dusk you erupt
lily

in an ethereal
orange anther headtie.

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Re: Exercise#3: Fat and thin

Post by bodkin » Sat Mar 15, 2014 5:40 pm

That's the idea Jackie!

Although I wonder whether, given your fat version, you couldn't have fed the thin one a little more?

Maybe a size one rather than size zero?

Enjoyed both tellings as they are however.

Ian
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Re: Exercise#3: Fat and thin

Post by bodkin » Sat Mar 15, 2014 7:18 pm

This is a _great_ exercise : thus far it has made me work on five separate poems...

...none of which resemble what I asked for in any degree :-(

Ian
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Re: Exercise#3: Fat and thin

Post by Jackie » Sat Mar 15, 2014 8:32 pm

Ian, here's where the original gets lost:
do not respect the original conception or sensibilities of the poem either
.

I feel I must apologize to the sensibilities of my original poem. I had no intention of spinning a tale.

Jackie

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Re: Exercise#3: Fat and thin

Post by bodkin » Sat Mar 15, 2014 9:54 pm

Jackie wrote:Ian, here's where the original gets lost:
do not respect the original conception or sensibilities of the poem either
.

I feel I must apologize to the sensibilities of my original poem. I had no intention of spinning a tale.

Jackie
8

This was the idea, to take a poem somewhere it would not otherwise have gone...

...but to do that I need to start with something that works well enough for the exercise, but which i am not so attached to I don't mind butchering it. And so far everything I've tried I've ended up thinking "actually this could work as it was..."

I'll get there, give me some time...

Ian
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Re: Exercise#3: Fat and thin

Post by bodkin » Sun Mar 16, 2014 12:34 pm

OK, I have a fat version:

Boundary conditions

This is Stanley in his hat still standing--rain or shine--beneath
the dark green portico where every button gleams so brightly
and all day Stanley intercepts the guests who land nonplussed
upon the hotel's strangest shore; and more, Stanley
also cheerfully will fashion rafts from limousines and taxicabs,
come time for shipwrecked conferenceers to cast adrift.

Stanley has never been as far as the lifts beyond the potted palms
and has qualms on every aspect of the isle's interior
let the bellboys risk their selves for a few discoloured coins
and their phobia for weather. Somehow the callow youths can never
grasp the mental nettle and mettle-up to realise that only Sun and cloud
are real, and only time spent in reality is lived.

Which is why the woman in the spangly dress, who gushed
and pressed his hand with the over warm and slightly clammy
double roll-over cheque could never understand
that all he planned was to stand--rain or shine--beneath
the portico. He gets his morning coffee brought now
--he doesn't miss a moment--and his buttons really gleam

because this is Stanley in his hat
which is all that need be said.
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Re: Exercise#3: Fat and thin

Post by Antcliff » Thu Mar 20, 2014 9:27 pm

Looking forward to seeing what happens when it thins, Ian.

Interesting exercise this..

Seth
We fray into the future, rarely wrought
Save in the tapestries of afterthought.
Richard Wilbur

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Re: Exercise#3: Fat and thin

Post by Jackie » Fri Mar 21, 2014 6:23 am

Ian, I don't suppose this is connected at all to Jeff Brown's Flat Stanley books for children? Just asking, in case he gets too thin.

Jackie

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Re: Exercise#3: Fat and thin

Post by bodkin » Fri Mar 21, 2014 9:29 pm

Antcliff wrote:Looking forward to seeing what happens when it thins, Ian.

Interesting exercise this..

Seth
Yes, I must get around to doing the other half. I've been a little busy, however...

Ian
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Re: Exercise#3: Fat and thin

Post by bodkin » Fri Mar 21, 2014 9:29 pm

Jackie wrote:Ian, I don't suppose this is connected at all to Jeff Brown's Flat Stanley books for children? Just asking, in case he gets too thin.

Jackie
Well I hadn't thought of that...
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Re: Exercise#3: Fat and thin

Post by bodkin » Thu Mar 27, 2014 10:36 am

Narrow boundary conditions

this is Stanley in his hat
the portico, the strangest shore
the limousines, the taxicabs... more,
the shipwrecked conference goers cast adrift

Stanley never sees the lifts
lets bellboys risk their lives for coins
but hollow youth can't grasp
that only Sun and cloud are real

that when the woman in the spangly dress
pressed to his hand the cheque
she never understood
why still he planned to stand

this is Stanley in his hat
and all that need be said
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Re: Exercise#3: Fat and thin

Post by Antcliff » Thu Mar 27, 2014 6:07 pm

Enjoyed this...especially..

"Stanley never sees the lifts
lets bellboys risk their lives for coins
but hollow youth can't grasp
that only Sun and cloud are real"


I do not know what it means. I like "hollow" as an alternative to the usual "callow" youth.

seth
We fray into the future, rarely wrought
Save in the tapestries of afterthought.
Richard Wilbur

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Re: Exercise#3: Fat and thin

Post by bodkin » Thu Mar 27, 2014 7:12 pm

Thanks Seth,

Yes, I found myself typing "callow" and I thought "really?" so I went a slightly different way.

Ian
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