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Wednesday, 18 March 2009

Where are we now?

(With regard to my most recent post, Title Anyone? of course.)

Thanks, first of all, to everyone for your many great suggestions.
My thinking so far is that there are two suggestions I am tempted tp take up. Unfortunately they are incompatable. Mistlethrush at From the Field Book suggested taking the first line and letting it stand in as the title also. This seemed to me to be the winner at that stage. But then Frances at Volatile Ruin suggested binning the first verse completely, which I agree does make the poem much stronger, but there is no way of doing both. It's a bit like being a team manager with two world class players for the same position: it's a nice postition to be in.


Midlife, menopause, mistakes and random stuff... said...

Dave, you make me smile you do :)

Steady On
Reggie Girl

Shadow said...

decisions, decisions *grin*

Art Durkee said...

I'm chiming in late, I know.

First, I agree that the first stanza can go. It's all set-up, rather than diving right in. It's not bad, but it's slack compared to the rest of the poem. I always look at the energy-arc of a poem. Poems need to have a shape, energetically, and usually need to end strong.

When I'm stumped for a title, I usually look at the body of the poem. I often take a line out from somewhere in the poem, and let that stand as title. Sometimes I leave the line in the poem, too, but most often I either just move it up to the title, or if the poem needs it, replace the excised line with a new one.

There are several images in that first stanza that can work as title, because the first stanza is already a summation. (That's why it's slack compared to the rest of the poem: it's telling rather than showing.)

My suggestion for this, since you've been soliciting ideas, is to drop that first stanza, and use the line

"tunnels beneath the garden"

as your title.

Hope that helps.

Dave King said...

Midlife, menopause, mistakes and random stuff
Ya, ya, ya.

The burden of greatness, that's wot it is!

No disagreement about the first stanza: it is all set-up, but the one thing that disturbs me slightly about losing it is the fact that nowhere else in the poem is there any clue to the tunnels, once the subject of childhood fantasies are now encountered as dreams. Some degree of rewriting is necessary I think to establisg the point.

Lady Glamis said...

Well, perhaps you could snip the first part and keep that first line as the title?

Or use "tunnels" somewhere in your title. You don't have to mention tunnels anywhere else in the poem except in the title... that lends an interesting twist for your reader, I think.

The Weaver of Grass said...

Do you know, Dave, I always like to come to your site "fresh" (if you will pardon the word!) because you usually set your readers some kind of hard work and if I am tired I find it too much!! Today I can read your post and gloat I have nothing to decided - you have to make the decision. I loved the poem and think it works well either way - why not throw the two ideas up in the air and see which lands first. If you wanted to cheat you could always weight the one you prefer.

Conda V. Douglas said...

Tough one, Dave. I almost never write poetry (although I've sold one poem, once, my best poem ever) so I hesitate to weigh in. BUT of course, I like the first stanza. To me, it gives the eternal childhood meaning to the poem.

So there.

Perhaps the first stanza needs tightening? Just a thought from a non-poet.

Linda Sue said...

Agree with Weaver- It's all good!

Sarah Laurence said...

Two good options. You are making great use of this blog. I often find with my novels that I figure out the perfect title and it's so perfect that it has already been taken too many times.

lakeviewer said...

Hi DAve,
YOu asked for, and got lots of suggestions. Suggestions are like shoes. They could all do for this and that occasion. But, for this occasion, the one you chose to represent, is clear only to you. Grab the shoes that go best with your present intentions.

Go man, go.

Cloudia said...

I find your considerations very enlightening, sir! Alha-

Dave King said...

Thanks to all for the suggestions and encouragement received. I am now going to let it cook for a while before coming back to it - at the moment there are almost too many options - as mentioned in my post on writer's block, I do believe!

John Hayes said...

Hi Dave:

With apologies for your adding this after your last comment-- as you may know, I've been away & am just now catching up on the blogs I enjoy.

1. I would definitely keep the first stanza. While it is set-up, & not "in medias res," it seems valuable & evocative. Sometimes a certain preciseness of form is not a poetical strength.

2. While I don't have a specific suggestion for a title, I'd be tempted to look at the almost refrain-like character of the last lines of the last two stanzas.

In terms of the Hippocratic Oath, hope this at least "does no harm."