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:: Wednesday, July 28, 2004 ::

Rob--

Uncross your fingers and write. I can't wait to read your new stuff.  I'll have one for this weekend, maybe two.  And I'm trying to finish of the definitive version of my chapbook soon. It's kind of an albatross.

A

:: Alison 7/28/2004 07:32:00 PM [+] ::
...
Alison,
I'm still here, just forgetful of looking at the Blog more often.  I like the revisions to the "Choose Your Own Adventure" poem.  I really love those second and third stanzas--just enough narrative to draw you along but with just the right amount of metaphorical heft.  Nice.

I'm working on a couple of new pieces I hope to get up here by the end of the week.  Fingers firmly crossed.

Later,
Rob

:: Rob 7/28/2004 02:00:00 PM [+] ::
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:: Tuesday, July 27, 2004 ::
Umm--Hello out there . . . Have I scared everyone off?  Please someone put up a poem. Otherwise, I just feel like I'm talking to myself.

Alison

:: Alison 7/27/2004 07:43:00 PM [+] ::
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:: Saturday, July 10, 2004 ::
Hey Rob--

I revised this poem with your comments.

Alison

Choose Your Own Adventure

You know the book—the one you read in secret,
last on the rack at the paperback exchange.
The rattlesnake uncoiling as you thumb
the corner pages warns you’re down the wrong path—
you’ve misread the horoscope, commandeered
the wrong scenario— you thought the stars
were saying “teach,” but they meant “learn
to play the saxophone,” or “hunt for trash
with petty criminals.” Your choice now is to skip
ahead or dabble in the work of it, more and more
a god of thieves as the temperature rises.

Convict or not, come lunch you could snooze
in the shade, or break for the tree-line and the refuge
you know must be written somewhere behind it—
a woodcutter’s cottage where you read old papers
and drink milk still warm from the goat.
If the bloodhounds break your wretched sleep,
no matter—open the book to another page, to a day
in your life as a wife gone fat to pad herself
against the Mister’s steel-toe alligator boots,
or work as a miner and spend your last page
trapped, the water rising like a tide of ink.

Open the book again and you are here,
in the spot you started, a hunter unable
to recognize as his own the tracks he follows.
You stand there, the world’s best dilettante,
part journeyman and part Quixote, posed
safari-style on a wildebeest crumpled by a blind shot.
Or scratch that and begin once more, in medias res,
as a cowgirl more freckled than her appaloosa pony.
We’d skim the book in every combination
to find why she pauses here, at this desolate crossroads,
facing west to a barn full of shadows.

:: Alison 7/10/2004 10:28:00 AM [+] ::
...
Rob--Thanks for getting back to me. I have written and unwritten and rewritten that damn poem so many times--I'm almost ready to give up. Thanks for your as usual on mark comments. I'm so glad you mentioned he ending lines and the windfall line--those are two places in the poem I was ready to cut because I was unsure. Maybe this poem needs to rest a while.

A
:: Alison 7/10/2004 10:25:00 AM [+] ::
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:: Friday, July 09, 2004 ::
Alison,
Again, sorry about taking so long to get back to you on this one, but blah blah blah, the usual.

Anyway, there's a lot I like about this one, but my overall reaction is that something is missing. I'm not sure exactly what it is I feel the absence of, but I think it's probably one of two things: on the one hand, it could be that I'm just not getting enough background on Shaggy himself. He's an interesting character, and while I realize that part of the point of the poem is that he's elsewhere, elusive, we also want to know something about him. On the other hand, it may be that we know too little about the speaker in the poem. Why, for instance, is he/she pinning so much significance to the opening of the cafe? I get the heavier symbolism in this failure, but I'm not quite getting the speaker's underpinning psychological need. What is it, in other words, that this sign has come to epitomize for him or her? I think that knowing this would also help the final simile have much more resonance--don't get me wrong; I love that final line, but it might have even more impact if I could more clearly link it to the heart of the poem.

As for small stuff: "Sign" for "Sigh" in the title; in line 2, I'd get rid of "one of the ones" and bring up "living at the motel between jobs" since the line "you know the type" carries the connotation of typology; I'd also bring up "painted" to go with "hand"--the break is a little too jarring.

Otherwise, there's cool things here. The final stanza is great, especially the "I have lost all faith" and everything that follows. I also love "a windfall of unlikely numbers." That line alone is worth writing a poem to go around it.

I hope this ranbling helps!
Rob
:: Rob 7/09/2004 01:44:00 PM [+] ::
...
:: Friday, July 02, 2004 ::
Hey Sean--

Congrats on the job. I'd love to see you, in Hot Springs or elsewhere. Aren't you in Governor's school right now? I've had a busy summer with the kids as I'm sure you can imagine. Ben is in to building things; Sam eats dirt. They both go to Montessori in the mornings from 8-11 which gives me time to write. I finished a chapbook. (I Think)

Alison
:: Alison 7/02/2004 02:10:00 PM [+] ::
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:: Thursday, July 01, 2004 ::
Hey, I'll try to pitch in soon. I'm really happy you all are doing this. I got a job. That's the exciting stuff right now. I'll be working in Hot Springs at a gifted high school there. Come visit. More about the poems soon. Thanks for keeping it up.
:: Sean 7/01/2004 09:54:00 PM [+] ::
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