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Old Glory (Concrete) by Richard
/----------------------------------------------------------------\ | O L D | not a name to be used, taken lightly, casually | | |------------------------------------------------| | G L O R Y | it comes from within but humbly asserts itself | | |------------------------------------------------| | B R A V E | tiding, good omen for oppressed people worldly | | |------------------------------------------------| | S Y M B O L | this a new nation meant for, and by the people | | |------------------------------------------------| | A Y O U N G | man pledges daily allegiance, piously, serving | | |------------------------------------------------| | N A T I O N | earning its name through pride, and assistance | | |------------------------------------------------| | S E R V I N G | without regard for race, creed, origin, or God | | |------------------------------------------------| | F R E E D O M | the most basic human right to live, and breath | | |------------------------------------------------| | H O N O R | those who came before and those yearning daily | |----------------------------------------------------------------| | For a life without subjugation or a lingering death to slavery | |----------------------------------------------------------------| | Standing tall as a beacon of hope, soaring higher than tyranny | |----------------------------------------------------------------| | Raised by those whose hearts are full of expectation for peace | |----------------------------------------------------------------| | Colors, never running, waving honorably in the wind of freedom | \----------------------------------------------------------------/

Down the ladder: Dawn Jig

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Votes: (green: user, blue: anonymous)
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Arithmetic Mean: 5.571429
Weighted score: 5.153681
Overall Rank: 5201
Posted: March 28, 2004 9:21 PM PST; Last modified: March 28, 2004 9:21 PM PST
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[3] zodiac @ | 29-Mar-04/7:57 AM | Reply
I figure you must be ignoring me because of that whole cliche-count business a while back. That's fine; it's your prerogative to only pay attention to positive comments and ignore negative ones (which aren't really what you'd call 'constructive criticism' anyway, am I right? I mean, the positive ones are obviously constructive, since they make you feel good; and the negative ones are obviously best ignored, since they make you feel like a waterlogged 18th-century cliche-dictionary opened to the entry 'stool', am I right?)

But, you see?! That's exactly why I'm writing to you now! I feel I've misrepresented myself to you - like we've gotten off on the wrong foot here. So, I want to make amends by talking a little bit about your poem here and why I gave it a three. You know, constructive criticism like.

The first thing is that I tend to feel like poetry shouldn't be a compendium of trite phrases. In fact, I really believe that poets should try REALLY HARD not to say ANYTHING that has ever been said before. Now, when I said something like this in an oblique manner on one of your earlier posts, you responded to the effect that if you eliminated everything that HAS been said from one of your poems, you'd be left with nothing.

Now, this is not obviously the case with all poetry. Um, my posts are a bad example, but there are even posts here which cannot be reduced to two words by removing cliches. I'd even say there are posts on this site which come pretty close to perfect clichelessness. So it can be done, even by relative hacks.

Remember, this is only my theory of poetry. Some people think cliches are great: Jimmy Buffet, to name one, and John 'Cougar' Melloncamp. But it's all about theory here, anyway, so you might as well take mine into consideration along with everyone else's and your own.

So next I'd suggest that if your poetry is, as you point out, reduceable to two words, then it might be on account of your subject-matter, which judging from your posts here and on your homepage falls into such broad categories as "Love", "Despair", "America", and so on. I don't mean poets shouldn't try to write about those things, but they would have to be more careful doing it than, say, writing about ducks with AIDS or appropriate beard materials for homemade Negro Jesuses, since so many people have written about Love and so on before and hardly anyone has written about ducks and Jesuses - sadly.

So, my recommendation to you would be to comb through this piece for anything which you might have heard anywhere else, which shouldn't be hard since practically everything here is cribbed from Wal-Mart bumper-stickers (you know the ones I'm talking about!) and then to replace every cliche with some original expression. That's all.

Oh, and if your response to this is that this already says everything about America that you can think of or feel then you are SERIOUSLY underestimating America's range and beauty, my friend! What about FRENCH-FRY-SMELLING? What about CHARTER-BUS-TOUR-TAKING? What about BARELY-CONCEALED-HOMOEROTIC-TENDENCIES?

I do hope you'll think about it. Thanks for your time! - zodiac
[n/a] Richard @ > zodiac | 29-Mar-04/3:02 PM | Reply
Just because I don't respond doesn't mean I haven't heard you. "Misplaced Life" was my attempt at removing the cliché’s from my content, but then it was my use of verbiage that upset you. Are you like an English Lit professor that's tired of grading homework?

As far as The Pedestal went, try this on for size. Not everyone who reads poetry does so at a College level or at your level whatever that might be. That particular poem was written for a person who uses English as a second language. So it may be old hat or "cliché" to the 50 or 60% percentile who even keep up with all the clichés out there, but to her maybe it was the first English poem anyone ever wrote for her. So what if it's cliché central, I didn't totally cop out and buy a generic greeting card, I created my own. And that, my friend, just happens to be one of those "little" things that women keep track of.

This poem, if you take the time to study it, has 13 lines just like the flag, there are 50 letters where the stars are, you can read the stars down or across into the strips. You can read the strips with or without the stars (although it seems to miss a beat here or there). IMHO, what stood out about this type of poetry was that its structure is what made it concrete, not the content.

I read what you guys say. I also check on what you're saying about other people’s poetry. You seem to really come down hard on budding poets. Maybe life has treated you poorly and your only outlet is to bring someone else’s world down. So what if it's bad poetry, give it a bad score and make suggestion on improvement. For myself, I could care less what other people think about my work, I write for my enjoyment. If they want to take the time and give me constructive advice on how to improve, that's great. But when YOU arbitrarily slam something the way you do, I just figure:
A: You're pissed off at the world
B: Were an abused child and this is how you're getting closure
C: Your job sucks, you hate your boss, so you surf the net during working hours writing dissertations to people who ignore you
D: All of the above

One other thing, about this poem anyway, this is my first attempt at a "concrete" poem. So what if there are coined phrases or clichés. That just means there are thousands of people out there that understand what I’m trying to say. So if Billy Bob Redneck gets hold of this he knows I’m talking about our flag, and doesn’t have to wonder what “The sower of pesticide for the worlds two-leg’ed cockroaches” means. By going so far to say something new or that hasn't been said, you run the risk of alienating or insulting people. I'm not saying clichés can't be reworded or improved, but (here comes one now) if it ain't broke, don't fix it (i.e. If its function is within tolerance and performance fits within optimal operating environments, refrain from adjustment, modification, or tampering in an attempt to improve the final outcome)
[n/a] richa @ > Richard | 29-Mar-04/11:22 PM | Reply
'I didn't totally cop out and buy a generic greeting card, I created my own.' - you created your own generic greeting card. Well done?!

You say that criticisms are arbitrary, it would be more accurate to call them general. By using cliches you claim people know what you are saying, but by using cliches all you are saying is 'I agree'.
[3] zodiac @ > Richard | 30-Mar-04/5:04 AM | Reply
[3] zodiac @ > zodiac | 30-Mar-04/5:34 AM | Reply
[n/a] Richard @ > zodiac | 30-Mar-04/5:45 PM | Reply

I'm getting to know you a little more. But the first impressions you make, and not only to me, can be very antagonistic. I don't know whether you are purposefully trying to scare away new posters or what, but there are better ways to critique. For instance, 1st comment to new poster:
"Hello, my handle is Zodiac and I'm one of the resident critiquers around here, please refer to the following posts:

I'll let you off easy as this is your first time here, but after this the gloves are off."

This establishes rapport with them, it gives them a chance to validate your mandate on this site by reading previous comments, and then they are enlighten on what not to do on their next submission. By doing this you allow them the opportunity to improve themselves. It is the greatest gift you can give someone, whereas telling him or her how to do it only builds resentment.

If, on the other hand, it is your goal to start arguments for the sake of intellectual combat, they you're doing the right thing!

And by God, if they do drivel again, hit 'em with a dissertation!

I don't necessarily agree with everything you say about poetry, but I'm willing to give you a B+ (PoemRanker-8) on your views. Everything I write from now on will have more due diligence.

P.S. I do want to THANK YOU for making me think harder about what I write. I will admit though, I do have an overwhelming urge to write bad poetry just to spite you :)
[n/a] richa @ | 29-Mar-04/10:59 AM | Reply
'the wind of freedom'? - Presumably a wind that has been let out.
[8] Shuushin @ | 29-Mar-04/4:57 PM | Reply
Nice concrete.

These are unusual enough that I won't fault you for the content - which isn't so horrible as _others_ may lead you to believe...

As a concrete - an 8
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