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Nostalgia

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indar
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Nostalgia

Post by indar » Sat Mar 16, 2019 6:18 pm

Nostalgia

Driving south on College Boulevard,
Mystic Hill, which is an ancient volcano,
stands alone on the left, the street curves right
to run along the creek
released from Calavera Reservoir--

I know this place from before,
an earlier life I think--

seeing it again makes me
inexplicably happy as I must have been back then

when condors flew canyons
to the music
of South American pan pipes.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Z1E0nEe ... -E&index=9

indar
Posts: 814
Joined: Sun Jan 07, 2018 3:00 pm

Re: Nostalgia

Post by indar » Sat Mar 16, 2019 8:43 pm


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Tracy Mitchell
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Re: Nostalgia

Post by Tracy Mitchell » Sun Mar 17, 2019 3:34 pm

Hi Indar,

I like this poem, it has such a good feel to it. It reminds me in critical and important ways of A Blessing by James Arlington Wright ( see https://www.poetryfoundation.org/poems/46481/a-blessing).

I have lots of comments which I will set out, but which should be considered with serious caution. I think if you revise the text by following my thoughts the risk is that the soul comes out of the poem. The delightful thing about revising, however, is that prior drafts are always still available. With that in mind, I plunge on.

Driving south on College Boulevard,
Mystic Hill, which is an ancient volcano,


The hill is east of the street whether it be traversed by car, foot or bike. I think “Driving” is a weak word with which to start the poem. It is enough that the Speaker is in a position to observe the Hill, the creek, and the street, a fitting place for the nostalgic experience to be described.

The phrase “which is an ancient volcano” is pure explanation and while lending texture, may be better left out, unless the volcano is noted as active in the S.5 description of ‘back then’.

A rough cut:

Mystic Hill stands alone to the east.
College Boulevard curves along the creek
feeding down from Calaveras Reservoir.


This alternative makes the opening less choppy, but may take out the voice you want. I couldn’t comment on that.

Consider removing “I think” from S.2. It communicates a hesitancy, or lack of clarity. This couples with the phrase “as I must have been” in S.3, which might also be profitably deleted. These phrases put the poem in the Speaker’s thought process rather than pure experience. The thing is that the Speak is so unexpectedly happy - multiplied as a deja vu from a prior life. It should not be presented as something the Speaker reasons out (as I must have been), but simply as the pure experience unexplained. Make it firm, clear, direct (I know this place from an earlier life / inexplicably happy as I was then).

The other thing as a reader about which I am curious is exactly what triggers the onset of the Speaker’s happiness. The condors in the canyons, obviously, but how, why? And what else? Here coupling sensory input to feelings would be helpful. Can the condor(s) or something additional play the role in this poem as the Indian ponies in Wright’s poem?

These are the thoughts this poem has engendered for me. A very nice way to spend a Sunday morning. Thanks for posting this poem, no need to make any changes as it is a treat as written.

Cheers.

T

indar
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Re: Nostalgia

Post by indar » Sun Mar 17, 2019 3:55 pm

Tracy--thank you so much for the very thoughtful and helpful comments. I will respond at greater length later but I wanted to say right off that "Indian Ponies" is one of my all-time favorite poems. I cried the first time I read it-maybe the third time in my poetry-reading life a poem has moved me that much.

Whoever reads this thread, I encourage you to click on the link. In my next life I will start earlier, study harder, dedicate myself more and write like this :D :D :D  

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Tracy Mitchell
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Re: Nostalgia

Post by Tracy Mitchell » Sun Mar 17, 2019 3:59 pm

In my next life I will start earlier, study harder, dedicate myself more and write like this

Or ride condors through Skull Canyon in the presence of an active Mystic volcano to the sound of echoing pan flutes, like you did in a prior life. 8-)

Yes, A Blessing is a wonderful poem, as is this one.

Again, thanks for posting.

T

Dave
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Re: Nostalgia

Post by Dave » Sun Mar 17, 2019 5:19 pm

I enjoyed this Poem a lot. I also enjoyed very much Tracy's expert Analysis and being as it is so good, I cannot really add anything very special to the comments. I liked the way the poem draws the reader into the discovery of the memory and the pleasure. I would agree 'driving' is weak but does, however, add movement and a certain passage which mirrors the passage of time from the memory to the present. The poem could start
On College Boulevard
Mystic Hill 
Stands alone to the east - although stands is a relatively bland verb too.

In the following there is some extraneous phrasing too:
stands alone on the left, the street curves (right
to run) along the creek
released from Calavera Reservoir--

I know this place from (before,
an) earlier life (I think)--.

However, as Tracy says, any changes are a matter of some delicacy.

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Colm Roe
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Re: Nostalgia

Post by Colm Roe » Mon Mar 18, 2019 2:25 am

Very nice indar.
S3 snags a bit for me. 
The 'ponies' poem is fab. My only crit on that is how did he know they had been 'alone' all day...someone must have been there to witness their loneliness.
  

binx
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Re: Nostalgia

Post by binx » Mon Mar 18, 2019 3:24 pm

indar wrote:
Sat Mar 16, 2019 6:18 pm
Nostalgia

Driving south on College Boulevard,
Mystic Hill, which is an ancient volcano,
stands alone on the left, the street curves right
to run along the creek
released from Calavera Reservoir--

I know this place from before,
an earlier life I think--

seeing it again makes me
inexplicably happy as I must have been back then

when condors flew canyons
to the music
of South American pan pipes.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Z1E0nEe ... -E&index=9
Hi, Indar. Thoughts like "which is an ancient volcano" or "stands alone on the left" bogging this down before I get going. Much prose.

The idea of the poem ("I know this place from before) points me to deja vu or even reincarnation instead of nostalgia.

by George   
 

indar
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Re: Nostalgia

Post by indar » Mon Mar 18, 2019 11:59 pm

Thank you to all three, Dave, Colm and George,

I just submitted a poem I wrote probably 4 or 5 years ago to a poetry annual. I've worked on it off and on in the interim. Some poems I write I consider toss offs others are worth the work. I do want to continue to work with this one and I think it might get to be longer. 
 I live in a coastal area with a backdrop of series of foothills. But Mystic Hill is immediately "different" looking. I thought so before anyone told me it was an extinctvolcano--I want to convey that differentness in my poem.

I have long been interested in the work of Gestalt Psychologists Much of their work has centered around the effects of color on brain chemistry and physical response (reds and yellows stimulate appetite--crews unloading dark blue boxes from a truck tire more than crews unloading yellow boxes). It's more difficult to find results of studies on how depth and spatial relationships affect us. I have been curious about whydriving through that particular area affects me the way it does=---its weird. 

I am very happy to have all the feedback I will keep it in mind as I continue to work on this one.

Matty11
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Re: Nostalgia

Post by Matty11 » Wed Mar 20, 2019 8:44 pm

Will be interested where you journey with this Indar. I liked the dynamic of driving, but agree with Tracy on I think. The location/geography specifics added interest for me.

best

Phil

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