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  •  This is not as effective a poem as you have in you (4+ / 0-)

    to put forth.

    From the first stanza you make clear that you are creating an allegory, or anthropomorphizing to make a point about humans.  All fine and good.  I love the second stanza.

    But in the fourth stanza it goes downhill as the realm of metaphor becomes muddied by too-specific references to modern-day foibles and things.

    "They text their bile
    and wave their foam fingers
    and shoot holes in their relatives
    and random strangers
    and their feet":  

    "text their bile"?  That's just not on a par with the high quality of your language in the first three stanzas.  "Wave their foam fingers":  wut?  if they're baboons, then what is up with the foam?  Whatever you're thinking of, the image is not coming across clearly.

    "They are blind to reason"; "words mean nothing to them":  well, they're baboons, right?  Or rather, they're baboons representing something deeply irrational and uncontrollable in humans, right?  So why do you have to get specific and dilute that metaphor here by mentioning "words" and "reason"?  It weakens the power of the allegory/metaphor.

    "I...wash the blood off my multi-colored snout":  okay, I get that you're a baboon like the other baboon/humans.  That works within the allegory and it's good to put your persona in there in the first person this way.  It makes it more intense.  But where did the blood come from?  WTF?  In the rest of the poem you're criticizing the baboons for being irrational and texting; and then in the last stanza apparently they've been beating you up?  How come you didn't describe the beating?  How come you don't tell us where the blood came from?  It's just not working for me.

    You know I think you're a good poet.  This one needs more work.

    That's one more thing to add to my long list of small problems. --my son, age 10

    by concernedamerican on Wed Aug 28, 2013 at 05:26:38 PM PDT

    •  In a couple of my previous poems, (8+ / 0-)

      I've described some people as "uncurious baboons with cars and cell phones". I'm just carrying the metaphor a little further. Too far? Perhaps. If only because it is impossible to text while wearing a foam finger.

      The blood on the snout isn't from a beating, it is from biting and tearing.

      I freely admit that some of my poems are better than others. I deeply appreciate your constructive criticism. I consider it a gift. Thank you.

      It is a mystery to me how some of my poems refuse to conform to my expectations when I post them on Dkos.
      Some get  far more recs and comments than I'd expect, others are nearly ignored. I suppose the time of day and day of the week might make a difference, but I haven't detected a firm pattern.

      I'd be lying if I said I didn't care about tips and recs. I do.
      But I really want comments! Your detailed, reasoned comment is like pure gold to me.

      I started with nothing and still have most of it left. - Seasick Steve

      by ruleoflaw on Wed Aug 28, 2013 at 06:24:41 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Dude or madame, you have my reasoned, detailed (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        ruleoflaw, RiveroftheWest, Brecht

        commentary gladly.  Will certainly keep reading.

        And it really wasn't clear at all that the blood on your snout came from biting and tearing.  You need to put that scenario in your poem.  Otherwise it's just not discernible or something one can get to through the language you've got in there as it is now.

        That's one more thing to add to my long list of small problems. --my son, age 10

        by concernedamerican on Wed Aug 28, 2013 at 06:29:22 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  I have a manuscript (5+ / 0-)

          that's been submitted to a publisher. The poems in that manuscript were originally posted here.
          Several of them of them underwent a bit of editing when I was putting the MS together, but I left the Dkos versions as they were originally posted. The only time I edit a poem after it's posted is to correct any typos  I missed before I clicked "publish now"

          This one may get some corrective surgery before it goes into Manuscript #2. This version, however, remains as is.

          The original core of this poem was the second and third stanzas. I started with the word "rinse" which I read on the washing machine. Those two stanzas are the only ones that were written on a piece of paper. This is the only "original" version of the poem. I want to leave it, warts and all.

          I started with nothing and still have most of it left. - Seasick Steve

          by ruleoflaw on Wed Aug 28, 2013 at 07:14:25 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

      •  Here I thought this was about Capitol Police (4+ / 0-)

        enforcing Erwin-->Walker-->Koch authority!

        The GOP says you have to have an ID to vote, but $ Millionaire donors should remain anonymous?

        by JVolvo on Wed Aug 28, 2013 at 08:00:11 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Erwin?, yeah, a baboon and (6+ / 0-)

          a purchased bully without a sou.l
          Erwin's bosses are a bunch of overpaid snakes.

          I'd wager that most of the Capitol Police officers who are enforcing shitheel chickenshit ordinances want to stop these idiotic arrests, but out of a mixture of fear and loyalty to the badge, they will never say so out loud.

          I understand how they're feeling. I wore a blue shirt for thirty years. I worked for some great bosses who earned their jobs through long service and hard work.
          It is a pleasure to work for such men and women.

          I also worked for some lousy bosses who had excellent political connections. One of them was so well connected that his first day at work in law enforcement was the day he became the Warden of Wisconsin's largest correctional institution. Worst manager I ever seen and an asshole too.

          I started with nothing and still have most of it left. - Seasick Steve

          by ruleoflaw on Wed Aug 28, 2013 at 08:22:58 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

      •  Here's what I find, when I read your strong poem: (5+ / 0-)

        First, there's a lot of music to it, and the meaning punches good and hard.

        I liked the world you set it in: natural, primitive, almost mythic. In terms of that simple, evocative tone, I found the 4th and 5th verses went against the grain, with their foam fingers, shooting guns, and glowing screens.

        But you have this allegory, and you need to bring it home that the baboons are violent wing nuts, then internet trolls, and finally that we are too. So you can't drop those modern artifacts, or you'll obscure your metaphor. Potentially, you could find a less jarring, more graceful tone - i.e. the natural feel, the mythic resonance, could carry through every verse. But it would take some hard pushing to get there.

        My strongest reaction was not about tone, but about the rhythm and rhyming and half-rhyming: The music in your lines. At its best, it rose above any poem I've seen of yours. You made those verses dance and sing. Well done.

        I found the first three or four verses raised your game, but the last verses didn't maintain it. They didn't have as many rhymes and internal echoes, and they didn't have the same musicality of rhythm as the earlier verses.

        This is just my personal response. I trust you'll consider which parts fit your own vision, and ignore the rest of it.

        General thoughts, on finding fault with others' writing:

        1) I'd like it if we had more robust criticism in R&BLers - for those authors who actually welcome it (and I think you and I are in a minority on this). I thrive on the compliments I get. When people are specific about what worked, I learn a lot. But I want to improve my writing, and that sometimes takes a scalpel.

        2) What each of us really needs is, one reader who truly gets our vision, an Ezra Pound. Did you know that he went through Eliot's Waste Land, and just red-penned half of it out? And had such a sharp eye, and such sympathy for Eliot's vision, that he made it far better? That's why The Waste Land's dedication reads:

        For Ezra Pound
        il miglior fabbro.
        (The better craftsman)

        "Every man has a right to utter what he thinks truth" Samuel Johnson

        by Brecht on Thu Aug 29, 2013 at 01:28:50 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  17 comments so far. Your 1st is by far my favorite (5+ / 0-)

      That does not mean it's perfect, or even right. But it is illuminating.

      That is just my opinion. You and rubyr posted at basically the same time. Hers is a fine and helpful comment. Still, it's quite a difference: You wrote 25 times as many words; she got 5 times as many recs.

      Two reasons for that. I'm guessing: 1) Some people disagreed with your analysis, and thought you missed the mark.
      2) Most people recoil from ruthless criticism. At least, when it's aimed at personal art, e.g. another Kossack's poetry.

      1) I disagree with a lot of your points, myself. I agree completely with your first three paragraphs, though. Your comment is valuable because it started the right conversation: What works (for you, as a reader), and what doesn't.

      Though I had a different reaction, your points helped me organize my own thoughts, and look closely at the grain of the poem.

      2) It's good that generally we praise, far more than condemn, each other's art. If a budding poet wrote their first diary, and a comment like yours was in it, it might dissuade them from writing another diary for a long time. But ruleoflaw is a published poet, and gets praise for his poems most days of the week: as his replies to you state,

      I deeply appreciate your constructive criticism. I consider it a gift. Thank you. . . . I really want comments! Your detailed, reasoned comment is like pure gold to me.
      So kudos to you for stepping out of the polite formula, and giving ruleoflaw a comment to sink his teeth into.

      "Every man has a right to utter what he thinks truth" Samuel Johnson

      by Brecht on Thu Aug 29, 2013 at 12:45:13 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Besides, you're insulting real baboons (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      RiveroftheWest, ruleoflaw
    •  I believe the point is (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      ruleoflaw, RiveroftheWest

      that we are naked apes?

      My God, it's full of stars!

      by nuthangerfarm on Thu Aug 29, 2013 at 06:52:18 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

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