Swimming Laps in August: and Other Poems
These are the signals of a better poet.
The Swimmer: Manhattan Edition | The New Yorker
Some write and have poems to show, others write and have edits to show, and those of us who have been working particularly hard have our phases to show for it. Keep an eye out for your own. There is nothing wrong with a phase. Keep a look out for the ways that you change the your own personal symbols and how your metaphor develops as you do.
For me the fish was a symbol of shedding the downy bird of youth and naivety. The fish was a harder, scalier truth that we grow as we meet loss.
The tree, a cyclical figure demonstrates a nostalgia that has no bounds but makes us sturdy and strong in our roots. It is the roots of the tree, after all, that matter the most.
Phases are like photographs, cherish them, develop them, guard them, share them. Poem 85 Revised — Poem 85 Original. I love this poem. I was trying to work on another assignment during my junior year of undergrad and instead chose to procrastinate with a little poetry.
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The use of repetition and structure carries throughout the poem in a positive way, while there are some minor elements that need attention. The mark-ups are surface level here.
This poem has seen multiple rounds of revisions which included a whole restructuring in its earlier stages. Like a story, some poems have characters that need to be distinguished. Often this notion goes unrevised because a poem is beyond that kind of artifice. The abstract areas are those where the voice is lost to vague notions. These lines act as fillers for something more poignant. Bodies blurring, too quick to memorize implies little about the moment and at the same time generalizes the perspective of the narrator.
Instead of those important poetic details that I mentioned last time, we get a blur that is too hard to memorize, which is also an abstract notion. Here would be a good place for some color, some sensation, a smell or a sound. The other stanzas bring that to the table, the second stanza seems to hit a lull.
However, you will notice I am not trashing it all together because there is that rhythm and the structure to remember. This tactic should be saved for later revisions and is sometimes where writers hit a roadblock…. A poem can always be edited. In this case the missing sense of boundaries between speaker and environment helped me see where I needed to focus my attention.
Step back and ask yourself if a later draft has hit a lull, and if so, where that lull might exist. Planning a birthday party?
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