Beth – Draft 1.2 – SST10

21 Dec

Hi everyone, here is my actual first draft, properly formatted. I’m not sure about this one and would really love some feedback. Also, it’s really long so is properly in need of some harsh editing. Much appreciated! Beth

 

Nonfossil

 

We are here to shed light

and shed skin: her skin.

Serpentine siren

sheds her skin

loosens her layers

leaves her lovers.

In death as she did in life.

 

It’s gelid, her shell.

Nebulous, viscous, varicose.

Seraphim is warped and jagged.

We want to crystallize her

To enamel her

in taut, burnished armour.

She’ll be prismatic.

A fractal starburst,

alloyed and sealed.

 

Before this, we must strip

Her further.

Here’s the haemorrhage.

Her gunk has gathered and pooled

in clotted meres.

Her ruptured heart is an overblown joke:

cleft and split.

 

A rheumy slit

to her core

where she welcomed

fraternisers

compromisers

invaders.

She’s all about

plucking and epilating

and tarnished vellum.

Flick, flick, flick on

it’s surface, flick

and pop.

Look at her, on the altar.

 

We’re used to her now.

So we go deeper.

The rumbliest of relics

that once birthed and now pulverises

that once palpitated and contracted

and now it’s a slab.

It’s just another slab.

We’re used to her now.

 

Behold these opulent fissures,

bloated and bulbous.

See how indulgent she was?

Gluttonous fox.

We all look fat from the inside.

 

Out wrench her crunched crown.

She lived life from the waist down.

The lower half was all gloating, moist

tubes,

slick, quivering,

stumps.

Probe our rubberised fingers in here.

It’s stuffed with clay.

Desiccated ash.

Perhaps the aphids got to her.

Wasted, and consumed, and blotted

in their primitive fungoid regalia.

 

She was rendered sluggish.

Now she is being rendered as sluggish.

Inarticulate and inert.

Once, she swelled sumptuously

and wandered the goblin market

stained with juice

mumbling hamstringed inebriations.

 

We’re used to her now.

Addicted.

Corrupted and consumed,

glued into girdles.

She has gestated us

and our hands follow

her seams

like wraiths.

 

She is a nonfossil

and we are human devices.

We are eldritch lovers

and she is our witch-queen.

Worshippers pinnacled

to her horror.

We lay petals upon her eyes and

let her go.

She is light.

A lantern: tender,

budding, sprouting,

burning and

gone.

 

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8 Responses to “Beth – Draft 1.2 – SST10”

  1. beccyseaside December 22, 2015 at 7:02 pm #

    Hi Beth, love the descriptive language and the metaphor of the fossil here — or is it a metaphor? On my first reading of this, I felt like this was a really unique way of describing woman’s body, and the image of the fossil was a sort of metaphor for her mental/emotional state, but on my second reading all the fossily-ness came a lot more to the surface and I thought ‘Oh, maybe it is about a literal fossil and just the unearthing of it and the living creature it once was and it’s history’ I really enjoyed being able to read it two ways, but if you’re wanting to ruthlessly edit it, maybe a starting point would be to decide what it is YOU want to say with this poem and cut out anything which doesn’t further that particular story?

    For me personally, there were lines which seemed to repeat something like, at the beginning ‘We are here to shed light/ and shed skin: her skin.’ I know those are your first two lines but I just felt that the rest of the stanza described this same process in a more engaging way. If you’re wanting to ruthlessly edit, maybe just leave the poem to cool for a few days, and then come back and cut anything which doesn’t further the direction you want to take with the poem?

    Another thing I liked was the music of the poem, the alliterative phrases and the mixture of simple words and fancy fossil vocabulary. Good job 🙂

  2. MouthyPoets December 26, 2015 at 8:09 pm #

    Beth — Hi Beth, love the descriptive language and the metaphor of the fossil here — or is it a metaphor? On my first reading of this, I felt like this was a really unique way of describing woman’s body, and the image of the fossil was a sort of metaphor for her mental/emotional state, but on my second reading all the fossily-ness came a lot more to the surface and I thought ‘Oh, maybe it is about a literal fossil and just the unearthing of it and the living creature it once was and it’s history’ I really enjoyed being able to read it two ways, but if you’re wanting to ruthlessly edit it, maybe a starting point would be to decide what it is YOU want to say with this poem and cut out anything which doesn’t further that particular story?

    For me personally, there were lines which seemed to repeat something like, at the beginning ‘We are here to shed light/ and shed skin: her skin.’ I know those are your first two lines but I just felt that the rest of the stanza described this same process in a more engaging way. If you’re wanting to ruthlessly edit, maybe just leave the poem to cool for a few days, and then come back and cut anything which doesn’t further the direction you want to take with the poem?

    Another thing I liked was the music of the poem, the alliterative phrases and the mixture of simple words and fancy fossil vocabulary. Good job  Beccy S

  3. MouthyPoets December 30, 2015 at 12:23 pm #

    Hey Beth!

    I love the layout of this poem, with the short lines – I think for the most part you are doing this anyway, but I’d just say with short lines I think you have to make sure each line is earning its place, and is on point

    In the second stanza, you have a few words that may possibly be a little inaccessible,
    gelid, Nebulous, viscous, varicose, Seraphim, burnished, prismatic,fractal
    These are beautiful words, but I think just consider how this will come across in performance – too many in one stanza can possibly make an audience struggle to keep up, especially considering the pace of performance?

    Before this, we must strip
    Her further.
    Here’s the haemorrhage.

    LOVE this bit!

    Going through, I think there are more examples of words that are slightly inaccessible? but this is just one persons opinion! 😀

    and wandered the goblin market – not keen, but that might just be me, and my dislike of the word ‘goblin’ ha! 😀

    Every time you mention ‘her’ I am really really brought into this poem

    gone – beautiful ending! this word definitely deserves it’s own line!
    maybe it would be good with a stanza break jsut before, to create a feeling of loss or separation? i.e.

    A lantern: tender,
    budding, sprouting,
    burning and

    gone.

    But just a thought

    This is a cracking poem, and I’m super looking forward to seeing where it goes!!!

    Chris

  4. MouthyPoets December 30, 2015 at 9:05 pm #

    Hi Beth, this reads really well – it has a good rhythm and the alliteration you use works really well to conjure up a strong image at the beginning of the poem – “Serpentine siren sheds her skin, loosens her layers, leaves her lovers…”. Maybe lose the first 2 lines for greater impact?

    There’s a richness to the words you use to convey the story that’s both sensual and dark. I had a stronger sense of what this piece was about in the first half though – the serpent and fossil references work really well together, the bit about the goblin market seems out of place?

    I very much look forward to seeing this performed as there is so much to work with in terms of the tone of it and what you could do with movement throughout the piece

    Bree 🙂

  5. MouthyPoets December 30, 2015 at 11:29 pm #

    Hey Beth (:

    First of all this is amazingly written – it has a very witchy, fantastical feel to it, is it based on something? But really well written, I look forward to hearing it performed!

    In the first stanza I feel like you repeat ‘skin’ just one too many – maybe if you remove the ‘Serpentine siren sheds her skin’ part, because the bit before I feel reads really well

    The words you use are beautiful and flow so well! I did stumble a bit on ‘an overblown joke’ just because it, to me, didnt really seem to fit with the other poetic words you’ve used – perhaps you could use specificity in that bit, if it works?

    A rheumy slit
    to her core
    where she welcomed
    fraternisers
    compromisers
    invaders
    She’s all about
    plucking and epilating
    and tarnished vellum. — LOVE this whole verse! and this line too “We all look fat from the inside.”

    Charlie 🙂

  6. MouthyPoets December 31, 2015 at 12:35 am #

    Ahhh Beth, I had to comment, just to chuck something up for debate. I noticed a comment or two that suggest that you get rid of the line “serpentine siren shed’s her skin”. Overall the poem is yours and I think it’s a great line for the following reasons…..

    1: Use of sibilance….. just for the fact that the literature device is meant to create a hissing sound and that line does just that! I think it is important because it gives the narrator’s a tone a lot more from the start if said in a peculiar way. I also think it compliments what is being talked about…. serpentine and shedding, you didn’t HAVE to say snake but that imagery is so strong, especially the way it has been structured to come out, the line is in itself a series of hisses and I love it. If it does not work for you then take it out though.

    2: I like layers of meaning there is so much auditory and visual imagery in it, so many connotations that I keep peeling which is probably why I like it but it is debatable.

    I do agree with Chris though and would advise that you keep in mind that at large you will perform this and whilst it is your prerogative, consider your audience, the language is a bit inaccessible and you want them to follow you at least.

    I suggest you add some anchor lines. They seem silly but from an auditory perspective will give the listener more to grasp on, otherwise you will risk alienating them with brilliant lines but half of the time they may kick back trying to understand what is going on.

    Can’t speak for everyone though but I really had to read this at least 3-4 times to get more of a grasp. Love it though. Think about that line thing and you can take it or leave that too.

    Dee.

  7. MouthyPoets December 31, 2015 at 10:56 am #

    To clarify, in my previous comment I am suggesting that you start the poem with “Serpentine siren sheds her skin” and lose the first two lines “We are here to shed light/and shed skin: her skin”.

    Bree 🙂

  8. MouthyPoets January 4, 2016 at 1:11 pm #

    Hi Beth

    I can see you have already gotten a lot of feedback on this, I am not going to read through it all, partially because of time but also because I think it’s nice for me not to be influenced but other peoples initial experience of the piece and instead give you my own as it might give you things from a different angle in places but also give you an unbiased insight into where people are experiencing things in the same way… I know this is your first show, not sure what interaction you have had with feedback in the past but I would encourage you to try everything but obviously what you ultimately keep is totally up to you and what fits with your direction/ambition for this piece! I really enjoyed reading it and experiencing it so I hope some of this info helps…

    LOVE
    -Your use of sound, beautiful and immersive and intense.
    -‘Before this we must strip’ love that it is on a line of it’s own at the beginning of a stanza! It really hit me.
    -‘Before this, we must strip
    Her further.
    Here’s the haemorrhage.
    Her gunk has gathered and pooled
    in clotted meres.
    Her ruptured heart is an overblown joke:
    cleft and split.’
    ….For me this is the stanza where the image gains a deeper meaning, this beautiful description of a fossil becomes about heartbreak, about preserved pain, about diligence, handwork and healing. I love it, the tonal shift of ‘overblown joke’ the register shifts slightly and I feel like the narrator goes from admiring this magical thing they are looking at to actively reflecting on their current emotional state. I am not sure if this is what you are going for, but for me it is really effective.
    -The stanza after builds on this tone beautifully and perfectly!
    -‘We all look fat from the inside.’I love how sarky the narrator becomes, it adds some really nice humans and humour to the piece that otherwise felt quiet celestial.
    -‘She lived life from the waist down.’ Amazing use of rhyme and impact! That whole stanza amazing.
    -Overall such an interesting and intense piece. There is so much texture in the language and the ideas and it felts like I was entering into a Pans Lanbryth style world and I was entreated and confused and was reflecting on my own experiences as a result. Really enjoying your style!

    QUESTIONS
    -Tiny thing, when you say Starburst, I always think of the sweet – do you want this connotation?
    -Small practical thing but you have a mixture of capitalisation and not at the beginning of your lines? Whichever you go with be consistent, in most contemporary poetry we tend to capitalise in line with punctuation rather than at the beginning of the line because it suggests an emphasis which as lot of readers find jarring.
    -I am not sure how she is on an altar? To me I think it is because this object was in the palm of the narrators hand so I found moving her to something so far away very jarring.
    -‘We’re used to her now.’ I wasn’t sure who we are and why we were used to her. Not sure if I was missing something at this point.

    SUGGESTIONS/ CHALLENGES

    -ADJECTIVES & ADVERBS
    -You use a lot of descriptive words, which makes me ask could you strengthen your verbs and nouns instead? If you need more than one descriptor then your initial word is probably the wrong one, although your descriptions often add sound and texture I feel you rely on them to heavily and want to challenge you to challenge each adjective and adverb and ask yourself if you could be using a stronger verb/noun or image instead? I would suggest getting out the thesaurus (I use an online one) for this.
    -Some examples of words/phrases I am changing; Serpentine siren, Burnished armour, it’s gelid her shell, nebulous, viscous, various, warped and jagged, fractual starburst, etc.

    LINEATION & REDUNDANCIES
    -I feel like you afford to cut a lot in this poem, maybe push cutting too far before you reign it back and I think if you pushed yourself to edit this into longer lines that might help you?
    -I have started editing it to show you what I mean here…

    We are here to shed light and skin: her skin.
    Serpentine, she loosens layers, leaves her lovers.
    in death and life.

    Her gelid shell iis warped and jagged.
    We want to crystallise her in taut, burnished armour.
    She’ll be prismatic, a sealed starburst.

    I want to challenge you to cut as much as possible and retain the meaning using as little words as possible, you have so many beautiful words to choose from but they need space to shine.

    If you want to do a bit of research on redundancies first have a look at this – https://mouthypoets.wordpress.com/2012/04/28/3-editing-exercises-for-stronger-poetry-2/

    ENDING
    -I got quiet confused at the end as to what it actually was and who you actually were as a narrator? Would be great to tie this up a bit more clearly or are you maybe trying to tie it up too neatly? Can you say less and leave the interpretation up to me? It started to feel too much like a riddle and I just wanted to enjoy this image and it’s metaphorical impact for what it was to be honest…

    I hope this is all of some help! I really enjoyed this piece and think it will bring something really fresh to the show! See you friday,
    Debris

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