poetry critical

online poetry workshop



Gaslight
Virgil

a tone bathing
 1
all organs:
 2
 
 
light without wick
 3
brimming in the paper
 4
ribcage of a moth
 5
 
 
without need to
 6
respire or expire
 7
 
 
it whisks the fixed air
 8
searching for its soul
 9
mate among the stars
 10

3 Dec 08

Rated 10 (8.4) by 5 users.
Active (5): 10, 10
Inactive (13): 1, 1, 7, 7, 7, 8, 8, 8, 9, 9, 10, 10, 10, 10, 10, 10

(define the words in this poem)
(81 more poems by this author)

(6 users consider this poem a favorite)



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Comments:

This is beautiful writing.  I love L's 3-5 and 9 & 10, however, I wouldn't split "soulmate" in the last two lines; I'd either hyphenate it or keep it as one word on one line.  Your call.  Ribcage of a moth is commendable as it tickles the imagination.  You are GOOD!  :-)
 — starr

...and look who it is!  I am impressed and delighted!  Great little piece.  :-)
 — starr

this is amazing...love the paper rib cage of a moth...
 — brother_sun

good poem
 — unknown

This is like a sepia picture but in words.  I like 'paper ribcage of a moth,' very nice line.  Just wondering if you need 'artificial' before stars.  Because gaslight isn't a star?  
 — Isabelle5

woah, feedback, o_O. thanks for the ratings, I'm glad you enjoyed and appreciated this.

starr, I was tied between which word to actually use for maximum benefit... I'll probably change it.
Isabelle, this is the second time you've compared one of my poems to a picture - I'm starting to wonder if that's my poetic fingerprint :) . And line 10 refers to actual stars, not the gaslight.
 — Virgil

hmm, very nice.
: )
 — fractalcore

Yup.  It's the chili.  I can't even fuckin' write tonite!  LOL.  What I MEANT was...
It's an awesome, beautifully crafted WRITTEN GROUP of sweetly spoken words.  Okay...bedtime.  I'm exhaust-a-ma-cated.  Nite!  :-)
 — starr

Virgil, nothing wrong with painting word pictures.  That's what I try to achieve when I write.

Maybe just mate.  Moths find each other by scent, not sight.  But whisks does sort of imply that, I think, if you know about moth love.  

Fine poem.
 — Isabelle5

Yeah, I didn't think you meant it as an insult :p

...hm.. moth love.. very interesting and euphonic combination of words there...
 — Virgil

a moth to the flame, aspired
 — AlchemiA

'light without wick', but light has no wick or filament. you're working the vulgar notion that a physicality 'comes' from something. in fact, it's an effect. that's a much stronger concept and potential image than you're offering us. probably this small conceit, too, is what's forcing you to never ground the words in this out of an actual image or vision. supposing that the words themselves represent 'poetry', then why do you need the artificial line breaks. what you've invented, by freeing poetry from image, is prose -- at least until you find the internal relationship between the words themselves -- the phrasings -- and let the phrases fall in a natural manner. supposing that you simply want this to be 'playful', then why isn't it more evocative? it's circular -- either you weren't clever enough to envision the poem, or the poem simple isn't here -- isn't worth envisioning.

the leanness of the wordings force each word to carry much more significance than their tired and cliche'd dictionary definitions allow. if i were you i'd invent my next poem rather than re-arranging an A.E. Houseman for easy reading.
 — geckodrome

This is a good poem except for the last two lines, they don't fit the tone of the poem.
 — oakspringer

wick is also a verb
line 8 twists my tongue
i think line 1 really does set the tone (!) for the rest of the poem
this one is pleasantly perplexing
 — chuckle_s

I'm glad you enjoyed this, AlchemiA, oakspringer, and chuckles.

chuckles, whisk is the only verb that could have worked here. hopefully the cacophony isn't too intrusive, heh.

oakspringer, the last 2 lines are the most important ones in the poem. can you tell me more specifically about what you find wrong with them?
 — Virgil

geckodrome:

1. "'light without wick', but light has no wick or filament"
Light can mean either light itself or the light source. I think that's where your confusion lies.

2. "[you] never ground the words in this out of an actual image or vision."
All of this actually did come naturally out of a nucleating inspiration (i.e. the glimpsed vision and metaphor.) And you can have poetry without a grounding image or vision - it simply isn't as convincing or good. If you disagree with me on the proper distinction between poetry and prose, I'd prefer to discuss it in the message board, as the talk here would clutter up the thread.

"why do you need the artificial line breaks"
which linebreaks seem artificial to you?

3. "the leanness of the wordings force each word to carry much more significance than their tired and cliche'd dictionary definitions allow."
I doubt there is such thing; If the dictionary does not "allow" a particular poetic phrase, then absolutely no metaphor or analogical association can be found, or is even capable of being found. But there are obviously limits to what constitutes a tolerable and clear analogy.

If you think some of the words and connections I use are too difficult to grasp or visualize, by all means point them out to me.


I'd also like to know what your problem is. You obviously have an axe to grind against me--for personal or aesthetic reasons I have no idea--but being a little more civil and a little less sardonic (toward everyone) would be appreciated (by everyone), as trolling is a really unbecoming habit at your age.
 — Virgil

(not to be cruel or anything, I'm just making a point)
 — Virgil

I like this pretty poem but wonder why you need to say "fixed"; this word seems to cause a problem.  Read without it, feels really soft.

Nice poem indeed.  Love the paper ribcages, of course.
=-)
 — jenakajoffer

virgil, i have nothing personal against you. this writing really isn't anything more than poetry clubhouse poetry, and i'm here in this site as a critical site. i don't think you get my crit, and i think that's because you've cheated on this 'poem' -- hoping nobody would notice where you faked out 'authenticity'. you're sincere, i guess, but that doesn't automatically carry over into writing a poem. it's as though you'd 'set down to write another poem'. that's suicidal for the muse.
 — geckodrome

one other thing is that the reason i write about your writing is that you have an edge that comes out which suggests talent. most of the stuff here that's posted doesn't cause me to think about much of anything except 'finish the read', and i don't post any crit on that kind of writing. as for anything in the  forum, you just have to take anything i say there to you as part of the dialog. otherwise, why post in the forum.

i have seem a couple of good lines of yours, and maybe you'll remind me of the poem or two of yours i liked?
 — geckodrome

Being a filmmaker more than a poet, I crave any poem that presents me with stunning or provocative imagery (which gecko only ever does with his comments, not his work).  You certainly provided that here.  Thank you.
 — aurelius

your kind of film making sounds like cimino's 'heaven's gate', and my kind of film making is more like early stan brackage. i know which one i'd like to live with, and i suppose you know what you'd like to live with too, and that's nice. this isn't a particularly imagistic poem. i don't think it's meant to be -- the word-set is simply out of description talk, words which only point to but don't texture of evoke more than cell-phone chat. i think what you're doing, Aur- apart from just being mean cause i didn't like your precious, is reading the description and filling in the empty space with your own image. the imaging in this poem is meant, i think, to be subsumed to the 'sound of talking makes this believable' move, where you're supposed to be argued into the poet's space.
 — geckodrome

I have no problem with you not liking my precious, baby.  Sometimes you do like it, or at least the mike personality did (I can't keep up).  But I understand you've got to have a clever retort any time you hear your name.
Cell phone chat?  Are you sure you're not confusing the dozens of other clunky, talkative poems on PC?  Or even your own confused, sputtering, letter block poems one set of binary numbers away from reading like a Patriot Act report of Andy Dick's circle jerk circus?
And I thought filling in the space with my own image was called inspiration.  I thought that was a good thing.  Sorry.
 — aurelius

Stan Brakhage is a good comparison for you in the messy 70s experimental sense, but a terrible one if we're comparing innovation and influence on one's field.  I think you're more David Lynch.
You think I'm as egotistical as Michael Cimino?  I'm truly very hurt.  I always hoped you'd at least see me as a Gerard Damiano.

ha
 — aurelius

And finally, you seemed to miss the backhanded compliment.  Go over it again.
 — aurelius

brackage was '50's first, aur, and he made some really beautiful color sixteen mm. pieces back then. there's a DVD out, and the one i really like is where he's just making a kind of Atget in color movie of this pregnant woman being bathed by light. i think you'd really like it.
 — geckodrome

Yeah, on splitting 'soulmate', you get the nice ambibuity of finding its 'soul' and mating with the stars, (which seems like what light without a wick should do,) but these meanings are kind of like riddles, and might force more cogitation than you want in the reader.  This is a nice, graceful poem.  I was okay with the split.  Maybe a hypen, like starr suggests, that might get you both.

Maybe it's just me, but the 'organs' in the second line kind of jarred me, and I had to move past it to get to the grace of the poem.  

thanks for sharing this poem with us.
 — johnjohnson6

Wow! beautiful..."tone" :) Perfect length to describe the grand beauty in its tiny subject.
 — elDICE

I, also agree with those saying to keep the "soul" in L-9 and "mate" in L-10 split. The way I see it, you get to great images/ideas for the price of one.
 — elDICE

this is a beautiful poem. the words really flow nicely.
line 5 is my favorite, nice piece overall.
 — unknown

thanks
 — Virgil

rubbish
 — unknown

perfectly concise
 — nemissk8

Fantastical imagery

Larry
 — unknown

This one made be stop stare at the ceiling... thinking.. i love it.
 — john

* This one made *me stop, stare at the ceiling... thinking.. i love it.
 — john

i like the colorful, descriptive, simplicity of it.
 — Anachocolata

last two lines really ruin this for me
 — joshcoops

I like your poem-
short but very descriptive
the whole thing is strong but fave line is 8
nICE lee dunn...
 — JKWeb

As a poetic genius I must ask:  "what is this poem's purpose?" A poem without a purpose is purposeless. ~Henry 7/10
 — Poe

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