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Stepping Up To The Plate, Part 17

Go here to see what I'm doing and why. All readers are invited, encouraged, and begged to respond. The purpose of this experiment is to engage in discussion.

"[eruptions]" by Terrie Leigh Relf

For me, this works as a scifaiku, and here's why. The Scifaiku Manifesto stresses three points: immediacy, minimalism and human insight. Relf's poem touches on all three. The poem is immediate--a single moment in time captured with two clear images. Using these images, Relf draws their reader immediately into the scene she has created. The poem is also minimal--6 words. That's all. The language is precise, captures the moment, but does not try to decorate it, nor does it suffer the flaw of adhering to an inaccurate form (i.e. no 5-7-5 syllable count!). As far as human insight, there is a hint of beauty in the natural world here that touches on the human condition. Even on this distant planet or moon, in a harsh and destructive landscape, there is still a sense of beauty. Relf's scifaiku is wonderful, and stands up as a contendor against any of the longer short work nominees.

"Streamside" by Mark Rich

This is a very interesting and lyric poem. Rich follows a formal rhyme scheme, but maintains it very loosely, depending on slant rhymes, consonant rhymes, and the like, even abandoning the form when it doesn't serve his purpose. This shows a mastery over form that some may or may not appreciate. Rich does not allow the form of his poem to dominate him or his work, but instead uses the form as a rough guide which is followed or not as the poem dictates. The content of the poem was iffy. Too many of the lines were abstract or cliche, too many of the adjectives were tired, the images not fresh. I liked the idea of the poem, taking the cliche "river of stars" and running with it whole heartedly. There were times when this poem touched on beauty, but those moments were too breif, and more often than not, Rich dipped into the obvious and cliche instead of the fresh and new.

"A Sad, A Southern Face" by Lynn Strongin

I don't read this poem as speculative; the best that I can see is that it's a poem about death, which is a horror trope. The magazine in which this was published, Doorways, is a magazine of the supernatural horror and paranormal. Perhaps there are hints of ghosts in this piece, but I feel as though I'm stretching for something that may or may not be there. Baring that, many of the craft elements of the poem seem off. There are weak line breaks on prepositions, some images that over explained things, and some things that seemed too personal for poetry. In other words, there were points at which the image was clear, but didn't mean as much to me, possible, as it did the speaker, and I felt alienated from the poem. Overall, this is a weak piece with too little speculative to be considered a finalist.


( 1 comment — Leave a comment )
Aug. 6th, 2009 06:27 pm (UTC)
Relf's poem also brought to my mind the idea of farts, which are methane and eruptions. To my great embarrassment, I am always entertained by fart jokes. I agree with you, it was an effective poem, and I don't think my alternate reading was an improvement. But it made me laugh.
( 1 comment — Leave a comment )


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