Werner Herzog by Rokkitnite

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Werner Herzog by Rokkitnite

Is this good? Is it completely off-the-wall?? I don't claim to understand it at all, I just love some of the imagery:

"soft-sonorous as a dying cello"

"like God was filling him with hot soup"

"the jewelled tips of Botox needles"

Yeah - this is great. The conversation, in particular, works brilliantly. I noticed the repitition of 'lashed'. And I don't know about the (this car could really do with a wash) interruption... it feels a bit too knowing. I liked the idea of a car flipping prosaically. Joe
Yeah, the repetition of lashed was deliberate, but I was aware I was going out on a bit of a limb (which may not have worked). As for the parenthesis bit, I'd usually agree with you, but, well... it seemed like the type of mundane thing you'd notice. Maybe I could deliver it better, but I definitely wanted something fairly ordinary to balance out the portent of it all. Maybe noticing something else?
Yeah, I didn't really feel that the car's dirtiness added much - so if you could find a different detail. Parentheses are always dangerous, they seem to imply a winking aside. Why the double lashed? Joe
I just liked 'lashed' and then 'lashed' - no deep/wanky reason. I guess it's a punishment image I liked having emphasised, and then there's a half-rhyme in washed. Thing is, if I change it, it'll end up as 'grime-splashed' or even 'shit-splashed' (to rhyme with 'whiplashed'), and that will make baby Jesus cry. It's a shame the paranthesis make it seem like I'm trying to be wry - I didn't want the observation to be funny, just everyday. I guess it has to be something he notices as he's looking across to the passenger side window. Maybe loads of crap from the footwell has fallen onto the roof and he thinks he ought to take the car to be valeted. Or does that sound too clever-clever?
I don't think you need to mention the valeting but I like the idea of stuff on the roof - a coffee cup, newspaper, CD, coins, pens - something. Go with two lashed then, they're close enough together that it doesn't look like you just didn't notice. Joe
Oh, I'm not defending the double 'lashed' - I wasn't sure myself. I just don't want to make it worse, that's all. And the stuff on the roof gives me a mini oh-so-cheesy 'the things they carried' boost. 'And there's a photo... of his dead brother! Oh MY GOD!!!' Poignant boost.
Poignoost indeed!
I must say, this is my favourite Rokkitnite poem yet! Span
I think Tim has lots of great ideas in his poetry (and lots of fun). Did anyone else notice 'Cap'N Dali's Pirate Surrealists' a while back? I liked that a lot. But there are examples in this one of aspects I don't think work so well. My main irk is with overdescription. The really good images ("jewelled tips of Botox needles") tend to get lost among things like: "And every hare lipped ‘tard Turned a pecking head" Which I do think is OTT. I can't even picture a hare's lips. Similarly, I think "A brittle mosaic of sparks" would be much better if it were simply "a mosaic of sparks". I can't reconcile 'brittle' with 'sparks' and if 'brittle mosaic' is the whole metaphor, I find that too complicated. And "Suddenly there came a rapping/Gentle as a raven’s beak" is a slice of over-gothic Poe straight out of nowhere. That said, the ending is very good, and I think with pruning it would be excellent, easily publishable standard.
Thanks Jon. A hare lip is a medical condition - or were you kidding? As for the brittle mosaic of sparks, it was partly because I like weird collocations of apparently unfamiliar adjectives and nouns, and partly because it rhymed with 'little prosaic' two lines above. I agree that the Poe allusion is super-cheap. Couldn't resist. I shall wait a few more days and then return to it with a cold editor's eye. Cheers very much for your help.
I thought brittle mosaic of sparks worked as it conveyed the idea of breaking as opposed to creating, which is what "sparks" tends to evoke. Agree with spack about the car needing a clean line, too knowing. It jars. Otherwise, impressive.


I find all this criticism wrong footed and worryingly narrowing. And I don’t suppose, and I hope rokkitnite will not change one word of this great poem. Don’t you think there should be room for free association in expressions? – thinking is creative. You see how ‘hare lipped’ works in different minds. Someone has the medical information, and someone doesn‘t. (By the way, does anyone know (does anyone really know) if the medical term originated from the resemblance to a hare's lip?) And do you have to understand everyhing (and who’s fault is it, the writer's, the reader's or both, if you don’t.) to appreciate it. -- such as 'Ulysses’ and ‘Finnegans Wake’ to mention but two of so many. Is fascination dead, mystery in crisis, vision not feeling so good. I love ‘a brittle mosaic of sparks’. Why can’t he wink? Why can’t he associate with Poe? – doesn’t it extent the association for the reader? I find nothing wrong with ‘whiplashed’ and ‘grime-lashed’, for me it really works. So are we going to analyse everything to death like scientists. Free association can be so personal, subtle, and idiosyncratic it cannot work for everyone. But, it’s free association – so brave -- that moves us into new personal and cultural symbols, thus into new perceptions. Great writing takes an act of faith not a method. As someone once said ‘Leap and the net will appear’. So keep leaping rokkitnite!


Hi Chris. Thanks very much for your interesting perspective on the poem. To be honest, I really appreciate all the feedback people have given me. I know, as a writer, that I'm not obliged to alter my work just because somebody suggests I do so, but when I get suggestions from people whose work I admire and whom I know are motivated out of a desire to be helpful rather than competitiveness or mean-spiritedness, then I'm liable to give some weight to their opinions. I think the poem could use another edit - that doesn't mean I'm going to choke the life out of it. I'd rather interesting images over clarity anyday, but I think the intent of everybody who has comment hasn't been to 'analysise the piece to death', but to give me some much-appreciated advice on how I might go about improving it. I'm always aspiring to get better, so I'd sooner have people criticise my work than ignore it! Thanks again.
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