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Forum Home > Poetry > Matthew Curry's poetry seminar

Neil Bowen
Administrator
Posts: 921

In this space some poetry should soon appear....

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December 4, 2011 at 11:06 AM Flag Quote & Reply

DoctorDog
Member
Posts: 9

is there supposed to be some sort of video link to click on to do this poetry seminar? i'm a bit confused

December 4, 2011 at 11:12 AM Flag Quote & Reply

Neil Bowen
Administrator
Posts: 921

No, the seminar will be conducted in a chat room style, like this... Somebody once said that a little confusion is incipient poetry...

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December 4, 2011 at 11:15 AM Flag Quote & Reply

Matthew Curry
Member
Posts: 24
I'll post my first notes towards a poem I wrote on the death of Agamemnon. Please feel free to post your own notes/description of the story/drafts or whatever you come up with, or to comment on what's good or not so good in my or other peolpe's drafts. Remember that even the most robust criticism should remain polite and constructive! Agamemnon Drafts and Fragments (typed up from handwritten copies) Fragments/Notes Before he’s even quite stepped out of the bath, The net goes over and the knife goes in – His wife, her lover, his still-wet skin As he steps from the bath, his wife comes up approaches she moves To throw a towel but it’s a net she wove Lovingly, as if to wrap / a towel Around the hero him, but it’s strong netting she throws whispering but instead It’s a net strong netting that she’s woven Her lover’s sword pierces him through hacks into him The man who took a thousand ships to Troy
December 4, 2011 at 11:16 AM Flag Quote & Reply

Neil Bowen
Administrator
Posts: 921

Was the first line of your first draft, 'before he's even quite stepped out of the bath'? I liked the 'still wet skin' as it makes him sound vulnerable and new born. The towel net confusion also seems promising.

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December 4, 2011 at 11:24 AM Flag Quote & Reply

DoctorDog
Member
Posts: 9

The stale air whose soul was stolen

Away from darkness to but more solitude

in the lungs, filling as a man-made dam would

man - the same race that plunge their kitchen utentils

in one anothers' backs

December 4, 2011 at 11:26 AM Flag Quote & Reply

DoctorDog
Member
Posts: 9

i agree about the vunerability. Maybe the net bit could be adapted to show the net of love, solitude and physical net? just prliminary ideas :)

December 4, 2011 at 11:29 AM Flag Quote & Reply

Matthew Curry
Member
Posts: 24

This poem sounds like it wants to continue Amadeus..

December 4, 2011 at 11:31 AM Flag Quote & Reply

DoctorDog
Member
Posts: 9

sorry it was a bit clichéd but i just jotted some stuff down

I guess the mythical element in it is really poetic so you could expand that?

December 4, 2011 at 11:37 AM Flag Quote & Reply

Neil Bowen
Administrator
Posts: 921

Can I ask whether you deliberately used 'goes' twice in the line, 'the net goes over and the knife goes in' and if so, why yu picked such a seemin,by innocuous verb.

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December 4, 2011 at 11:39 AM Flag Quote & Reply

Matthew Curry
Member
Posts: 24

My copy and paste lost the line breaks..

Before he's even quite stepped out of the bath

The net goes over and the knife goes in -

His wife, her lover, his still-wet skin

As he steps from the bath, his wifecomes up approaches she moves

To throw a towel but it's a net she wove

Lovingly, as if to wrap / a towel

Around the hero him, but it's a strong netting shethrows whispering but instead

It's a net strong netting that she's woven

Her lover's sword pierces through him hacks into him

The man who took a thousand ships to Troy

December 4, 2011 at 11:39 AM Flag Quote & Reply

Neil Bowen
Administrator
Posts: 921

Did you have a sense of shape emerging, such as a sonnet? Would you try to fit the story to a pre-set shape/ fixed form, or was the process more open-ended?


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December 4, 2011 at 11:48 AM Flag Quote & Reply

Matthew Curry
Member
Posts: 24

I'm not sure why 'goes' twice, Neil. Probably I was attempting to get a sense of urgency and activity early in the poem. All but the last line of this was ultimately discarded. I know I wanted a sense of inevitability and cyclical, revenge violence.

December 4, 2011 at 11:48 AM Flag Quote & Reply

DoctorDog
Member
Posts: 9

The Hammer of Thor was redeemable

But the essence of life had been ridden of

And though the body of his, not her soul was so easily and irreversibly permeated

Her heart had no warm blood left to pump around her red-skinned body


Sorry  about my grammar :D

December 4, 2011 at 11:53 AM Flag Quote & Reply

DoctorDog
Member
Posts: 9

you could almost call it a parody of love i think

December 4, 2011 at 11:54 AM Flag Quote & Reply

C. Renton
Member
Posts: 7

The poem seems uses simple language. Did you deliberately avoid using any Greek mythological-esque language to mirror the poem's subject?

December 4, 2011 at 12:00 PM Flag Quote & Reply

Matthew Curry
Member
Posts: 24

I was hoping it would drop into some sort of sonnet shape. I wanted to stick to depicting the violent act of the killing of Agamemnon. As you'll see, in a later draft I forced the poem into a sonnet, but it was just that, forced, and I had to pull it apart again.

I want to give students a sense of how it's ok in fact usually necessary to start with very rough ideas not too well expressed, and gradually refine and focus them. The first thing is get something down on paper - anything. This was my next effort:

As when the net (goes) over himShe throws the net as he emerges from the bath

He is just putting (her) apple to his lips;

For ten years the first thing to pass between them)

He has one foot in the water heart skips

She has woven it herself

Death of Agamemnon

As the net goes over him, he knows,

But he greets his lover's sword with surprise

Ten years is a long time but it goes  (CRINGE!)

He had /First bath at home

She throws the net that she has woven made

Her lover kills her husband with a sword

One foot out of the baths where ten years

As he steps from the baths

She goes to throw/wrapa towel but it's a net

December 4, 2011 at 12:01 PM Flag Quote & Reply

Matthew Curry
Member
Posts: 24

Then next day I suddenly started to get somewhere:

The bath was filthy with the dirt of war.

He steps out, greeted by his wife, who throws

A net, not a towel, around him, and smiles.

He remembers slaughteringher child

Killing her first husband, letting

Her lover shoves the sword in, he falls back Agamemnon falls

And is gored again. After ten years

The man who took a thousand ships to Troy

Lies dead. His wife has gone to get an axe

She gets an axe, chops off his head

Cuts off his head

Now she steps into and now attacks

And now beheads him, wading through his blood

The one who could see things, the one whose fears

 

December 4, 2011 at 12:08 PM Flag Quote & Reply

Matthew Curry
Member
Posts: 24

Interesting question, C Renton, the honest answer I suppose is that at this stage I didn't quite know exactly where I was going with it, except that I had a sequence of sonnets about violent deaths which I was hoping to add to. In these early drafts I was trying to work towards the kind of immediacy which thumps out of Yeats' treatment of the Leda and the Swan story. One advantage of this kind of subject matter is that the back story is a given (or a series of differing givens from various sources).

December 4, 2011 at 12:17 PM Flag Quote & Reply

Matthew Curry
Member
Posts: 24

Well time's up and I've only managed to get through to day two of my drafting process of the poem. Over the next week I'll post the subsequent drafts, and next weekend I'll add my final version. Please do feel free to comment on any aspect of what I've posted so far, whether there's a sense of anything coherent emerging yet etc. I'm delighted some people have posted their own material and I do hope this continues through the week. Make sure you are all polite and constructive about each others' work - but equally I hope you're getting a sense of how merciless one has to be with one's own lines! - I have found typing some of my draft lines very awkward indeed - but you only get to the good stuff through the rubbish!   

December 4, 2011 at 12:25 PM Flag Quote & Reply

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