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Thursday 20 September 2012

exercises with moving parts

(Scroll down for the back story.)
Take any two poems and open them up. Imagine they are clockwork clocks or watches. Relative to their respective lengths, which one is most liberally provided with moving parts - in your opinion? Do you not think this one the better poem, The more moving of the two? Billy Collins's Japan * has more moving parts than either Little Giddings** by T. S. Eliot or Margaret Atwood's This is a photograph of me.*** Discuss. If you prefer, discuss among yourselves. Choose any poem you admire. Highlight in yellow all the moving parts. Do they make sense without the rest? Do the rest add up to anything without them? ............................................ * Japan ** Little Giddings *** This is a Photograph of Me

Back Story Yesterday I went to my Amazon account and was surprised to discover that two books were wending their way towards me: One which has been on my shelves for a year or two now and was marked as being due for delivery in September 2010; the other I had not heard of, but being only a few pounds and being that I might have ordered it and then forgotten all about it, I decided to let it be. It was (is) called Moving Parts. It served to remind me that once long ago I wrote an essay comparing a poem to a watch with moving parts. (This was long before the digital age, of course. The essay has gone the way of all flesh. I might have to rethink it, but here for now this knocked-off poem!

And having foisted this load of nonsense on you, I am ducking off now, taking cover until early next week when I will once again stick my head above the parapet and endeavour to answer any comments you may have left. Adios.


Brian Miller said...

that is a pretty cool analogy of a poem to a watch and all the moving parts....are we more than the sum of our parts? if you take just a part are we still poem or person? you got my thoughts spinning so...hope you enjoy those books dave

Mary said...

You will have me analyzing poems now, Dave. Truly never thought of them with 'moving parts.' Have a good few days away......and hope your books arrive soon.

kaykuala said...

Moving parts! I think we are. So that we have reason to interact with parts of others and react to the same! Nice thoughts Dave! Have the well deserved holiday!


A Cuban In London said...

I'd already read Margarate's and loved it. To me that's the one with the most moving parts. I can't get rid of any, though, for the poem wouldn't make any sense. Funny that I did with Eliot's and it still made sense... somewhat.

Thanks for the task.

Greetings from London.

ds said...

Japan is my favorite of Billy Collins' poems, especially for its final two stanzas. Margaret Atwood blew me away. And Little Giddingis, well, Little Gidding (though I'm with the London Cuban that some parts could be removed from that & it would still make sense). Poetry as watchworks; love that. I will consider things differently. Thank you--have a marvelous holiday!

Ygraine said...

You have me tied in knots now!
Am I the poet or the poem?
I certainly have moving parts, but so do my poems - who are, after all, parts of me as I am part of them.
Oh dear, time to go take a long iced drink to cool my overheated cogs!!
Enjoy your books, and the well-deserved break:)

Linda said...

Great post...enjoy the books and break, Dave.

Cloudia said...

the world was a clock-work back in the day, and all physics now. . . still blind men describing the elephant we ride. . .

Aloha from Honolulu
Comfort Spiral

> < } } ( ° >

Elephant's Child said...

Enjoy your break. I am a firm believer that some people are far more than the some of their parts - as are some poems, some photographs... I think it relates to the amount of heart/integrity/love which goes into their construction.

Rachna Chhabria said...

Hi Dave..now I am going to start analysing every poem I read.

haricot said...

I'm happy to come to know these poems; On Haiku I can appreciate one by one and the last one is impressionable, the two other poets' works are not be able to make a comparison, though Margarete's is really touching.

Carl said...

grabbing a couple of books of poetry off the shelf and diving in. Thanks!

rch said...

I love that thought - moving parts - any great composition should have them, I know I'm constantly 'watching' your blog for them because you are a master craftsman of such.

Dave King said...

And now you've given mine a new lease of life - for which much thanks!

Enjoyed my break, thanks. Good to come back to these fresh thoughts. Don't overdo the analysis, though!

Thanks Hank. Did do!

A Cuban in London
I think I agree with you on both counts - Margaret's and Eliot's. Now I'll own up. The first purpose of the "exercises" was to decide which are the moving pars.

Seems you got yourself an A*!

Thanks for the response. I agree re Margarets. It blew me away the first time I read it.

I like it. I think this is the perfect response.

Thanks I did. Can recommend Moving Parts!

That analogy works always, I agree. Thanks Cloudia.

The Elephant's Child
Can't argue with any of that. Absolutely right.

As I said to Mary: don't overdo the analysis, though!

So glad you like Margaret's. Thanks.

My favourite occupation! Enjoy!

Thank you so much. Really good to know you find something here to enjoy.