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Gut and Rebuild Exercise/Challenge

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Agnes
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Gut and Rebuild Exercise/Challenge

Postby Agnes » Mon May 01, 2006 5:31 pm

I've written a couple of poems using the "gut it and rebuild it" exercise. Basically, you take a poem and rewrite it. Here's one I did a million years ago, or at least so long ago I can't remember what poem I used to frame it. If I remember correctly, what I retained was the rhythm and rhyme pattern...possibly the prepositions (where, by, for), but I can't say for sure on those. The nouns, verbs and adjectives changed; therefore, the subject of the piece changed as well.

I Know a Farm

I know a farm where the gray winds blow,
where rooster and its senile mistress crow;
encapsulated by noxious woodsmoke,
by aged pig feces, and by steaming poke:
there weaves the farmer for most of the day,
drugged by the vapors of death and decay;
and there a surveyor measures the land
for the investor with coin in his hand:
for the gleam of this, the farmer will fall;
and on the back of him, they'll build a mall.


More recently, my poem "A Little Giddy" began with this kind of exercise. (The poem is posted on the critique board.) I started with the ending of T.S. Eliot's Little Gidding V, in his Four Quartets.

http://www.americanpoems.com/poets/tseliot/7069

With this frame, I began by cutting out the nouns and verbs. "Exploration" became "explication." "End" became "encumbrance." And so on. I began the substitution process using a dictionary and replacing each word with a word of like category (noun, verb, adjective) seven or so places away from it. As I progressed, and I saw a theme developing, I relaxed the selection method. Thus, "cease" became "die" rather than something like "cede," which was the closest verb to seven spaces from "cease" in my dictionary. You can be as strict or as lenient on yourself within the word selection process as you want to be. If you're too strict (as in the replacement word absolutely must be the 10th word down from the word it's replacing; no exceptions), you might come out with quite an odd poem. Of course, you could wind up with an odd poem anyway, but we won't go there.

The challenge, if you choose to accept it, is to gut and rebuild a poem of your choosing. After the paint dries and the flowers are planted, if the result is something you like, post it on the critique board. See you there.


Agnes

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Postby Jabberwhacky » Mon May 01, 2006 10:16 pm

Interesting concept. Something akin to refined parody, except that you have to be 'original' in the end. For one who believes effort is wasted energy, this would be quite an exercise.

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Postby Agnes » Mon May 01, 2006 10:42 pm

[quote="ravi"]Interesting concept. Something akin to refined parody, except that you have to be 'original' in the end. For one who believes effort is wasted energy, this would be quite an exercise.[/quote]


I don't know, Ravi. There is no thing new under the sun, so whatever the result, it can't be terribly original. Every new poem is just another way of looking at something old. If someone truly believes effort is wasted energy, he'd just lay down and die. No? As M. Scott Peck said, "Life is difficult." We just gotta remember "Neurosis is always a substitute for legitimate suffering." (That would be Carl Jung.) Ayup. Pass the peas, please.


Agnes :wink:

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Postby agraceblue » Wed May 03, 2006 12:42 am


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Postby Jabberwhacky » Wed May 03, 2006 3:05 pm

"There is no thing new under the sun, so whatever the result, it can't be terribly original. Every new poem is just another way of looking at something old."


That may be correct, but poetry is about P*I*E and is very subjective, hence unique...because each one of us is as special as the other. So originality is NOT the art of concealing ones source, today it is about outsourcing it to a well aspected muse. It is not just another way of looking at it, it is ONE's own way of doing that.
The Muse is an excuse. Write?

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Postby Jabberwhacky » Wed May 03, 2006 3:38 pm

"If someone truly believes effort is wasted energy, he'd just lay down and die. No?"

No. Whatever happened to 'natural is best' and "go with the flow"? To me , joy and bliss are about harmony, discord leads to the ultimate breakdown of the spirit. And it finds manifestation in the things I do and how I do them. Like I said before it could be about driving a car or about writing a poem. There is a difference between "karma", the act of doing, and "parishram" or effort. it is the latter which saps uselessly our strength and one needs to , in my opinion, do a rethink the moment one is aware of energy being thus expended. Yes, I quote loosely from the Bhagvadgita.
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Postby Jabberwhacky » Wed May 03, 2006 3:49 pm

"...but are we to seriously believe that if you can't be a poet without any effort you don't want to be"


Agrace,

My favourite quote about this is " We all are poets, only some can do it in words". So I *am* a poet and if I was not so left-brained, I would be a very good one.

If there was never any effort put into composing, we would never have the term "forced" used in the context of poems.

Of my poems the ones that I like best are the ones which have been the easiest to write. I have found that the first verse, the "inspired" ones, are the best and the ones that I have written in order to 'complete' the poems have made a beautiful amalgamation of the spiritual and the emotional sound well.....forced.

I do have a sermon about Faith and believing...and I could discuss "picking chicks" with you too.

Maybe some day soon.

Suddenly good hunting make s a lot of sense ;) ~ Ravi
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Postby agraceblue » Wed May 03, 2006 4:39 pm

Balderdash. If there was never any effort put into composing we would be writing prose. Of course we are all poets, most of us just don't let it out. The unfortunate thing is that this concept is used to justify all kinds of dreck because at the bottom it is just as whimsical and false as the concept of the Noble Savage. Neither "love is a golden sunset far away" or "cool daddio" constitutes a poem although either might be used as a hook for 'found poetry.' One is a vacous cliche and the other is slang. And yes it takes a producing poet to make them fresh and useable again. Agraceblue

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Postby Agnes » Wed May 03, 2006 6:38 pm

[quote="agraceblue"]Balderdash. If there was never any effort put into composing we would be writing prose. Of course we are all poets, most of us just don't let it out. The unfortunate thing is that this concept is used to justify all kinds of dreck because at the bottom it is just as whimsical and false as the concept of the Noble Savage. Neither "love is a golden sunset far away" or "cool daddio" constitutes a poem although either might be used as a hook for 'found poetry.' One is a vacous cliche and the other is slang. And yes it takes a producing poet to make them fresh and useable again. Agraceblue[/quote]

For some reason, I read "vacous cliche" as vacuous douche. :lol:


Agnes
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Postby agraceblue » Wed May 03, 2006 7:37 pm

Zounds! That would be an image, not quite sure how that would work though. :lol: I have however on at least one occassion misspelled a word in a poem and ended up leaving it because people like the word I wrote instead of the word I meant - talk about found poetry. :lol: Thanks for the chuckle. Agraceblue


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