poetry critical

online poetry workshop

Photo Rejlander

O. G. Rejlander never wrote
a poem without the agency
of light and silvered paper.
Here we find a carbon print
made as if by Oscar Gustav
"Speaking of my good friend
Lewis (that we are) alike in our
wishing poses on young girls
I translate from life as I do best;
I dodge the shades when there is sun
inside this cone-shaped studio
where a Rosewood Cyclops eyes
my cat that's set in the big-end
to serve as the exposure meter.
Eyes are slits if you're the cat
placed near to where the sitter's at
and if your pupils narrow, good
—sufficient Sol to make a poem
better yet than Lewis could.
And Carroll does his best to cheer
though casts as slight as mine
are mere cat eyes in the gloom
—for few will pay for portraits
to take home little girls un-done
in mimsy shadows where
the light is fading. Where
irises dilate as wide
as baby oysters opened
yet uneaten."

13 Feb 06

Rated 10 (7.4) by 4 users.
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This is rich with allusion and intellect.  The tone is right and the language mostly apt.  I would like to come back to this and comment fully when I have more time.  The poem deserves serious attention.  Give it you best effort when rewriting.
 — mcverse

mcverse, thanks.  The poem was made only two days ago- I'd seen the famed portrait of Lewis Carroll (by OGR), so I looked up the man via google.  

Found this, and saw a poem with novel conceit:
Rejlander was an inventive person. His studio was unusual; shaped like a cone, the camera would be in the narrow part, the sitters at the opposite end. The camera was in shadow so that the sitters were less aware of it. It is said that he used to estimate his exposure by bringing his cat into the studio; if the cat's eyes were like slits he would give use a fairly short exposure. If they were a little more open than usual he would give extra exposure, whilst if the pupils were totally dilated he would admit defeat, put the lens cap on the lens and go out for a walk! This interesting man must surely be the first person to use a cat as an exposure meter!

--Today I was perusing Wikipedia.   Articles link between the two figures.  Carroll purchased OGR's portraits of young girls.   They were indeed friendly and corresponded.   This poem wrote itself.   I had hardly researched for it at all.
I wonder if it can be improved?   If you return, please, by all means, offer specifics.
The poem is much too fresh to consider "done", but at present- it seems to read all right- and infers nothing but for what the reader may mistake from fading daylight in that studio where all work was conducted in whatever daylight was at hand.
 — netskyIam

A photo illustrated thread tying these men together
as nearly as  The Walrus and the Carpenter
http: //www.firesides.net/phpBB2/viewtopic.php?t=66
 — netskyIam

revised to make very clear the transformation of poet-to-subject-as narrator.
It was a confusion before.   Do you beleive in metaphysics?  I do, but only in this sort of form: the writer becoming the "artist volunteer".  Go to the linked thread to see splendid pictures and whimsey and a walrus and a carpenter.  Thanks,  reid
 — netskyIam

Oh for Gawd's sake, Netsky. Get over Lewis Carroll. Not everyone wants to enter his deluded world. Stop pushing so hard. Leave us to our own obsessions.
 — unknown

thanks for the thoughts.
 — netskyIam

Such good flow
 — unknown

nice poem. 10.
 — noodleman

Love the final image
 — opal

omfg u r a god i bow down and worship u buddy dude reading that poem 4 filled my day.....shot!!!!!!!!!!!!
 — crazykiller

dis poem seems to me in my thinking of ways is one big lazy platitude

it indulges in lazy reference at low altitude

boring gossip

nasty innuendo

and pathetic simile

well. i'd say that's bloody perfect

Say cheese

 — unknown

Oh Man!.. that's fucking class.
 — gingerdave

Hi Netsky,

You have certainly improved by leaps and bounds, since your recent excursion to the The Critical Poet site.

This is another very enjoyable and readable exercise.

Line 10, confused me, maybe I need to read the history of the scenario.
I just felt that sell was inappropriate to the ambiance of the setting, and would have felt happier if you had incorporated sense instead.
Nevertheless, another nice effort.

 — Mor

The photographer now expresses gratitude
for the public's patronage of this exhibition.
Prospective sitters are encouraged
to call upon his London studio.
No prior arrangements necessary.
The best results are obtained
on crystalline and brighter days.
 — netskyIam

Hi Mor, I think you raise a very fine point about "sell".   It's there because he depended on sales of prints and portraits for his living.  There's enough innuendo in the poem to make "sell" a bit over-obvious and jarring.  I see that now.   I'll think about replacing it.
L 11 is a coded reference to Carrolls actual surname.   Thanks to Mor!

Warmest thanks also: to mcverse, noodleman, opal, gingerdave, and so on:
to all who've been here to -just even read- the poor man's portrait poem.    
 — netskyIam

edit:L 10  was
I sell my poems as best I can

reminder to new visitors: an exihition of OGR's work is found at
http: //www.firesides.net/phpBB2/viewtopic.php?t=66
wherein Carroll is also met, and the walrus and the carpenter
walk back up the briny sands alone.
 — netskyIam

edit:L22, was "poems"
 — netskyIam

trimmed title, took "Oscar Gustav" from L1 and replaced it with his surname.
"that we are" to "this we are" (friends and both interested in photographing young girls in adult poses.
"near as good as Lewis would" to "better yet than Lewis could"= because Rejlander was the supreme photographer.   His ego needs to show up to this extent, at least.

any problems remaining?  Let me know please. I"m motivated to perfect this poem insofar as possible.  Your ideas, even negative reactions are all good.  

Spurs alter coursings.

  thanks, r.
 — netskyIam

pastiche is a low form of art
 — unknown

Wowsirs!  this AM this old poem was number 13 on the top rated list.
Now, a few hours later, it's bumped entirely off the top 80.

Trollettes are at work.  Heh heh.

I wonder what is pastiche in the pome?  

Oh reidy, pack it up. You're a poet bad to debone.

Trolls are....witless

 — netskyIam

Revised, new strophe scheme, 27/7/07.
Thank you for your helps, all.
 — netskyIam

I think the concept is askew ( a photo isn't "poetry"), but I admire that you've been able to create a myth of a rather ordinary photographer out of your feeling for the photographer -- everyone else seems to think photographers, even artists, are just there to show posterity and grandma what people look like. Personally, I much more admire Jullia Cameron as a photographer, so I'm very pleased that you've made me see photo values in Rejlander that I'd simply glossed over before. It may be that the form itself of the poem, especially now, reflects the actual work itself? -- I did a poem once on Oscar Schlimmer and I tried to write it "like" one of his paintings. I don't mind the Victorianisms in this, even though they're not really bon tone, but I think they show the lurid cutsey of Carroll in contrast with the hyper-pronounciations of Rijlander's images, and give this a mental instability that can only work in poetry.
 — joey

Thank you for the thoughts.  Rejlander was an inventor of photographic technique: he created the concept and first executions of the composite ("Photoshopped") photograph. Also, just found:

"Finally, I must have the pleasure of expressing my obligations to
Mr. Rejlander for the trouble which he has taken in photographing for me
various expressions and gestures."
Charles Darwin
"The expression of the Emotions in Man and Animals" (1872).
 — netskyIam

A new reading of the current form
http://tinyurl.com/2j5qsm< br />
Eastman House offers a few of his portraits
http://tinyurl.com/369kck< br /> (girl with mirror, 1855)
http://tinyurl.com/2vbuza< br /> (index of Rejlander photos)
 — netskyIam

 — netskyIam

I have a B.A. in art history, with several courses in photo history, and, in U.K., I have actually examined these kinds of photo at private sittings, on a table, say, in a university's collection. I also have an M.A. in art, in photo, and I have 12 images in the Getty Museum in L.A., and probabably 15 at MOMA new york, I've never asked what images were given or sold to them by the collectors who bought my work.

so, again, i'd like to say that photography isn't poetry. it's only an hypothesis, but one which you're addressing in your verse, whether you think it or not. The construction of this verse of yours is episodic over the page, as R-lander and Walt Whitman. That attempt at magic space -- in either of their cases -- doesn't equal "evocation", just admiration for the artist's cleverness. Both their contents are pretty silly.
 — joey


Rejlander considered his work to be visual poetry.
That being his metaphor, should offer sufficient justification
for "his" so-terming his work.  His work broke new ground:
"The father of art photography".  His portraits portray allegory,
hope, loss, evanescence of life, morality, with subtle casts
mere words are at a loss to capture.   His work was visual poetry.
He so-made, and is recalled.  And your opinion to the contrary
is an opinon you need not justify by recounting all that you've
donated, "I have 12 images in the Getty Museum in L.A.,
and probabably 15 at MOMA new york".  The poem is not about you.
 — netskyIam

again,  the recitation

http://tinyurl.com/2j5qsm< br />
joey, the speech is of a man telling of his craft
first with fact, then humor, then turning depressed
by the reality that critics ((like you)) will be his undoing.
Indeed, your carping over a mere term, denigrates the man
after death, just as you would have done had you been around when he was alive.
It would be a benefit if you would just forget about him.
 — netskyIam

Yah, and Mussolini thought stuff too. The work of an artist is to make art, and what we say to joes who ask... people who aren't able to understand that a photo isn't anything but what it is, and that art is something that isn't a photo or poetry at all... doesn't really mean to any scholar or critic that the artist was really saying what he thought. what he in fact thought, if he was in fact an artist... Rejlander wasn't... was thought in his art. Julia Cameron is an artist. She said lots of shit about what she was doing in her images, but her images are very beautiful and don't need my approval to be so. Rejlander always has to be apologized for.

You don't "donate" to the "getty" or "moma", retard. They buy, and they buy mostly from collectors. Getty doesn't even like living artists, and MOMA thinks we're all primitives. But, you know this, right? I mean, you've done more than just look a picture? You've actually talked with scholars and collectors? And you've made the best of it, just like you're making the best of it with me -- the chance to talk to someone actually involved in the art world and art scholarship? Just like you've read Yeats, but didn't think he had anything for you, because he didn't show much "feeling" about roadkill and global warming?
 — joey

grandiose rantings of an pen-name who addresses not the poem,
but only excoriates the poet, and elevates himself with florid claims
about his wonderful-self.
 — netskyIam

again,  the recitation

http://tinyurl.com/2j5qsm< br />
Let's hear your critique of the narrative and my diction?
(or not)
 — netskyIam

highlighting nonsense, insanely disjointed nonsense:

"...people who aren't able to understand that a photo isn't anything but what it is, and that art is something that isn't a photo or poetry at all... doesn't really mean to any scholar or critic that the artist was really saying what he thought. what he in fact thought, if he was in fact an artist... Rejlander wasn't... was thought in his art. Julia Cameron is an artist."
 — netskyIam

What poet? This is sometimes similar to poetry, but you flinch from the core of truth. Are you a poet or a newspaper reporter covering the sunday cinema?
 — joey

You said that photography is neither poetry nor art.
Then you say that Julia Cameron "is" an artist.  She is dead.
BTW, her works were superior to Rejlander's, yes, most generally.
But she was a successor, a builder from the foundations Rejlander
constructed. Moreover, she worked at her leisure, had money.
Rejlander was self-made through great struggle, then slowly starved to death.
There is pathos in his story. Unlike Julia, he did not much write up his work
Only in one notable instance of ego-injured self defense did he
lower himself to prose.  And never did he cast words as poetry,
and he was admired by poets more immortal than yourself.
 — netskyIam

"What poet? This is sometimes similar to poetry, but you flinch from the core of truth. Are you a poet or a newspaper reporter covering the sunday cinema?"

Try addressing the poem and the reading of the poem, or get off the box,
why don't you? (you won't)
 — netskyIam

he says about the poem (I hope) : "you flinch from the core of truth"

How is that, joey? How is the poem a "flinch from the core of truth"?
 — netskyIam

because it just talks about how clever you are -- and rejlander is just the sort of object which people like you latch on to -- someone simply clever, who's easy to talk about because all you have to talk about is his biography -- there's no mystery in his art, because there's no art there.

this verse of yours invents your emotions over this thing you've seen -- i'm not sure where you've seen these images, though, and i don't feel you in this really touching the images with your eyes, as though you really loved photography for what it was. the parts of rej that are interesting are the decompositions between negatives, the false conjunctions. that's the sort of thing that photo lovers look for. rejlander for you is this story teller, and i think this weakens your verse because i think you think you have to tell a story, and you don't talk about him, you talk about how you feel about him, and that's not interesting unless you invent feeling with poetry -- invent emotion, that is, whether hot or cold.
 — joey

From L6 onward, it is Rejlander speaking, not myself.  It was very late in his life--what year was that Carroll poem published?  And Rejlander died in '75.  He was long-past his early success in making, presenting,  serious "art" prints; he was struggling against declining health and against fading business: the man made his bread by portrait work--and that was not paying the bills.   And so he died without credit enough to be buried.  His friends took up a collection.   That's what it is about--at the end, his eyes dilate in resigning, in death, just as it happened.

So, how is that "talking about how I feel about him"?  It is of his fall, of himself.
 — netskyIam

But, don't you see that repeating his words isn't him speaking them but you conveying them... and, as Wittgenstein said about Augustine, it's not necessary that Augustine may explain the problem he's speaking of, but that he thought to talk of the problem in the first place.

Again, this really isn't about you personally, but about how the poem "appears" to the reader. You're not here beside me as I read this to show cue signals and "meaning" dialog balloons so that I can know your intention.

In a sense, "intention" is the meaning of the poem, but the poem is a kind of show and invention of the writer's consciousness, and has to be theatrical -- much like Rejlander's choice of how the characters "look" to the viewer.
 — joey

Art gets us out of our personal time/space habit patterns; lifting us in awe to the greater nature of life. So it is that Nature reflected in Art moves us beyond our tunnel realities, whilst the subjective forms chain us to our habits of seeing and hearing, or provide us a diversion at best.
 — unknown

"In a sense, "intention" is the meaning of the poem, but the poem is a kind of show and invention of the writer's consciousness, and has to be theatrical -- much like Rejlander's choice of how the characters "look" to the viewer."

OK, I'll agree with that.  It is as it must be.   Would you say there can be any other way for a confessional poem made by a proxy?
 — netskyIam

I think that what we do is become the artist ourself. I gave up on these kinds of portraits because, even though, at that time, they allowed me to "say some private stuff" through the artist's "content" -- the artist I was writing of, I wasn't doing anything more than saying "I like this artist because..." and it wasn't my own art... I wasn't able to free myself of his costume so that i could dance naked... which seems to me to be the only reason to do my kind of classical poetry.
 — joey


WHAT a terrrrrible P.O.S.

Why, Reid, am dismayed by your former "netskyIam" poem-thing above.

In order to put you and IT into its place, have just given it a "one",
so that others' works can be in the "top rated" list.

Really, this =was= at number fourteen for so many days...
and YOU are such a shite-eater, and this poem: it drinks stop-bath water.

Go over-expose yourself at MatchSicks? THEY deserve your kind of 'work'.

Splizzit personality?  
yes, in a way, for I am, yr.s, truly, the author of the above,
 — R_Reid_Welch

one :)
 — Sequiturist

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 — jharrison

no, we've got you now to take his place. one lamer poem about a photographer reid could not understand as photographer, and one lamer poem from you name-dropping man ray, who let the camera do his work for him, and then cheated in the print when the camera let him down.
 — bmikebauer

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Shut up Mike, you entirely pointless human being :)
 — jharrison

see... now, if you could copy out some shitty poem by some obituary poet from the nineteenth century, then post links to insipid films inspired by opiates, you'd be completely reid.
 — bmikebauer

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