On Unclean Snow By N. J. Kailhofer


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Post August 14, 2004, 07:55:22 AM

On Unclean Snow By N. J. Kailhofer

A very nice poem. I found it very smooth flowing and easy to read. I have a difficult time reading poetry that has a lot of superfluous colloquy, which this one did not. A little depressing maybe, but it worked for me. Thanks.<br><br><br>

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Post August 14, 2004, 10:34:27 AM

Re: On Unclean Snow By N. J. Kailhofer

This poem would be more enjoyable if it didn’t rhyme. I have a hard time reading rhyming poetry without an affected lyrical English accent popping into my head - most likely due to the fact I read so many nursery rhymes and other “classic poetry” to my kids! Some good images but the poem works better without the repeated refrains of “It fell to earth on unclean snow” or “For something only you will know”.
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Post August 15, 2004, 05:20:11 PM

Re: On Unclean Snow By N. J. Kailhofer

This poem would be more enjoyable if it didn’t rhyme. I have a hard time reading rhyming poetry without an affected lyrical English accent popping into my head - most likely due to the fact I read so many nursery rhymes and other “classic poetry” to my kids! Some good images but the poem works better without the repeated refrains of “It fell to earth on unclean snow” or “For something only you will know”.
<br>This rhymed on purpose. It's exactly one of those "classic poetry" models known as a villanelle, which calls specifically for the rhyme and the repeated refrains.<br><br>I make no claims as to how good it was or was not. It was something I wrote for a class back in college & since it was just gathering digital dust, I figured it was worth throwing out there.<br><br>Nate
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Post August 15, 2004, 07:12:29 PM

Re: On Unclean Snow By N. J. Kailhofer

I didn't have a problem with the rhyming, except in the last stanza. The actions of the people should have, imo, woked into the rhyme. Other than that, I still liked the poem.<br><br><br><br><br><br>

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Post August 15, 2004, 08:11:18 PM

Re: On Unclean Snow By N. J. Kailhofer

Nate,<br>
This rhymed on purpose. It's exactly one of those "classic poetry" models known as a villanelle, which calls specifically for the rhyme and the repeated refrains.
<br><br><br>I’m a reader not a “writer” so perhaps I don’t express myself as well as some of the real writers here, and perhaps my 2cents aren’t as constructive for a writer such as yourself. But I did get that you meant your poem to rhyme on purpose – in fact I was smacked in the face with it as I read your poem. I was just trying to express that ‘in my opinion’ that the poem would work better as “verse libre”. In my opinion, the only people who should be writing villanellas are the Italians or perhaps the French with the rare exception of Dylan Thomas and maybe on a generous day Bishop. In my opinion, most forms of rhymed poetry especially those borrowed from other languages rarely deserve justice in the English language as most, in my opinion, end up as doggerel. <br><br>Perhaps you don’t realize (or don’t care) that you appear to be somewhat condescending. I guess your point on the other thread about “Trying to debate an author about their own…” applies to you too. Just my ½ cents worth, i.e., my opinion! )<br><br><br>Therio,<br><br>In case you haven’t read Thomas’s "Do Not Go Gentle Into That Good Night", I highly recommend it to you as it may be another poem you might also like. <br>
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Post August 15, 2004, 09:12:55 PM

Re: On Unclean Snow By N. J. Kailhofer

In case you haven’t read Thomas’s "Do Not Go Gentle Into That Good Night", I highly recommend it to you as it may be another poem you might also like
<br><br>I had not read it, so thank you. You are correct in that I did like it.<br><br>Therio<br><br><br>
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Post August 16, 2004, 10:31:17 AM

Re: On Unclean Snow By N. J. Kailhofer

I’m a reader not a “writer” so perhaps I don’t express myself as well as some of the real writers here, and perhaps my 2cents aren’t as constructive for a writer such as yourself... In my opinion, the only people who should be writing villanellas are the Italians or perhaps the French with the rare exception of Dylan Thomas and maybe on a generous day Bishop. In my opinion, most forms of rhymed poetry especially those borrowed from other languages rarely deserve justice in the English language as most, in my opinion, end up as doggerel... Perhaps you don’t realize (or don’t care) that you appear to be somewhat condescending. I guess your point on the other thread about “Trying to debate an author about their own…” applies to you too. Just my ½ cents worth, i.e., my opinion!
<br>Quite the opposite, I care a great deal.<br><br>One of the joys (also curses) of the English language is that the exact same passage, read in two different intonations, can have two completely different meanings. Clearly, I have trouble conveying which "voice" was intended. It was my job as a writer to be more clear.<br><br>No condescension was meant. I was only trying to say that the rhyme was a required part of the process for the poem due to its form. I did not just decide to write a villanelle out of the blue. Also, I did not mean to imply that rhymed or unrhymed was better than the other, or that your observations were summarily dismissed. I don't disagree with your opinion. It might have been better that way, or it might not.<br><br>In a purely academic sense, I must say that I do disagree with your low opinion of the English language and its application for classic poetry forms. On the contrary, I think the flexibility of the English language is exactly suited to such forms. The above juxtaposition of meanings and the multiple definitions of words give it the subtlety of control to make it the perfect tool, in my opinion. Doggerel, as you say, is the result of poor wordsmithing efforts.<br><br>As far as the value of your 2 cents worth, it seems to me that it was just as important as anyone else. Don't sell yourself short.<br><br>Nate
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Post August 16, 2004, 12:05:20 PM

Re: On Unclean Snow By N. J. Kailhofer

This poem would be more enjoyable if it didn’t rhyme.  I have a hard time reading rhyming poetry without an affected lyrical English accent popping into my head - most likely due to the fact I read so many nursery rhymes and other “classic poetry” to my kids!  
<br><br>Strange how certain events that we experience in our lives affect our outlooks.  I have a hard time enjoying unrhyming poetry because some of the old-time comedians used to make jokes with poetry that didn't rhyme.  I remember a routine by Abbot & Costello where Costello tried to compose poetry but nothing rhymed!  To me, most unrhyming poetry seems either pretentious or nonsensical.<br>
Last edited by dsullivan on August 16, 2004, 12:07:15 PM, edited 1 time in total.
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Post August 17, 2004, 08:26:11 AM

Re: On Unclean Snow By N. J. Kailhofer

Nate,<br><br>I don’t have a low opinion of the English language. Although I do think its difficult to deny that English is a rhyme poor language when compared to some other languages especially those from which we have borrowed most of our classic rhyme forms. May be I’m off base here, but I think that good poetry should reflect the rhythms and speech of its own language, and should grow and expand with its language. <br><br>I’m not against all rhymed forms or all rhymed poems. I appreciate skillful rhymed poetry but it is extremely rare. I tend to judge a bad rhymed poem more harshly than other forms perhaps because bad rhyme is more visually obvious to me. Most of the writers of current rhyming poetry seem to be hiding behind the form, i.e., it looks and reads like a classic form so it must be good. Personally, I’m just not seeing good poetry rhymed forms being written these days. Perhaps you will be kind enough to point out some current examples of good rhyming poetry. <br><br>Don’t get me wrong. I think much of the free verse poetry being touted as great today is just as flaccid as the current rhyming poetry. Most of the free verse writers in the “mainstream” or even in the so-called “eclectic” poetry lack in imagination and thus produce banal confessional or nonsensical streams of lines largely without even the saving grace of a good image. Whereas I’ve noticed that in “speculative fiction” and other genres, the imagination is there but most of the poetry is wrapped in bad rhyme. Basically what I’m trying to express is that at least good imagery can be “saved” in free verse when it appears to drowning in bad rhyme. <br><br>Jan
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Post August 17, 2004, 10:56:58 AM

Re: On Unclean Snow By N. J. Kailhofer

I do think its difficult to deny that English is a rhyme poor language when compared to some other languages especially those from which we have borrowed most of our classic rhyme forms.
<br>My studies of the poetry of other languages is extremely limited. Do you have some examples of this in a way I might be able to understand? (My Spanish skills have eroded considerably.) <br><br>
May be I’m off base here, but I think that good poetry should reflect the rhythms and speech of its own language, and should grow and expand with its language.
<br>I have no argument with that. I just fail to understand why English can't mold itself to the forms you mentioned. As a writer, English is my tool for sculpting the art out of an idea, so I have a lot of blind faith in it. It is adaptable, it has an extremely large lexicon to draw upon, and is capable of a host of nuances that I'm not sure other languages have.<br><br>
Perhaps you will be kind enough to point out some current examples of good rhyming poetry.
<br>Current poetry? All my Lit. studies in college were focused on pre-1865 literature. If you are looking for modern poetry examples, I'm a dry hole. (I was going to be an English teacher before being lured away for more money, and modern poetry forms aren't something schools are very interested in teaching.)<br><br>Nate
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Post August 17, 2004, 01:44:35 PM

Re: On Unclean Snow By N. J. Kailhofer

I do think its difficult to deny that English is a rhyme poor language when compared to some other languages especially those from which we have borrowed most of our classic rhyme forms. Jan
<br>Waaay back in high school (when computers used punched cards or paper tape, and a 'personal computer' had less memory than a typical calculator does now), I took French, Spanish, and Latin. Latin, of course, is known for its fairly regular structure (relatively few verb forms, consistent means of forming word endings based on case and declension (your jaws can get tired from declension of the teeth), and the 'Roman'ce languages follow suit to a large extent. This means that a hell of a lot of words have endings in common, and are pretty easy to rhyme without stretching meter or pronunciation.<br><br>Then there's English, which is the great stewpot of the world's languages, from Latin, Norse, German (High and Low), Italian, Old French, etc., etc., etc. With odds and ends assembled from dozens of languages, finding rhyming words can be a challenge, so the 'good' natural rhymes that do exist tend to be used and re-used (although nobody who wants to be taken at all seriously would EVER rhyme 'June' and 'moon'). Familiarity breeds contempt -- or doggerel. (I wonder what would constitute 'catterel'? Would a George Bush speech suffer from 'catterel damage'?)<br><br>Shakespeare's plays, of course (uh-oh. I think too much 'of course'ing may indicate Pretentious Lecture Mode) were written mainly in iambic pentameter, which DOES at least somewhat match the rhythms of normal speech, and in 'blank verse' (usually only rhyming at the end of a scene) ... I can't remember if most of Shakespeare's poetry rhymed or not. (As I said, high school was a long, long time ago.)<br><br>I find completely 'free' free verse a little off-putting, as it sometimes seems to be just plain prose<br>with the lines<br>broken up<br>to seem more clever<br>than it<br>is.<br><br>Those who can write good rhyming poetry in the classical form probably spend many hours to write even a few lines. They should be admired for their work ethic, if not always for their artistic merit!<br><br>By the by -- what WAS 'it'? Spittle? An angry word? Blood? Unexpressed rage?<br><br>Robert M.<br><br><br><br><br>
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Post August 17, 2004, 02:30:10 PM

Re: On Unclean Snow By N. J. Kailhofer

By the by -- what WAS 'it'? Spittle? An angry word? Blood? Unexpressed rage?
<br>It was the body/soul of the dead narrator, which fell off the bridge and was lost to unconsecrated ground.<br><br>At least, that's what I had in mind.<br><br>Nate
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Post August 17, 2004, 02:38:07 PM

Re: On Unclean Snow By N. J. Kailhofer

It was the body/soul of the dead narrator, which fell off the bridge and was lost to unconsecrated ground.

At least, that's what I had in mind.

Nate
<br>Smap!* (sound of palm striking forehead)<br><br>Apparently I need to read the poem again ... you know, kinda like seeing an M. Night Shyamalan movie a second time to find the clues you missed the first time through.<br><br>Robert M.<br><br>*Unholy offspring of 'smack' and 'slap'. Not a typo, Greg!
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Post August 17, 2004, 11:59:54 PM

Re: On Unclean Snow By N. J. Kailhofer

Smap!* (sound of palm striking forehead)

*Unholy offspring of 'smack' and 'slap'.  Not a typo, Greg!
<br><br>You clearly have a keen ear! <br><br>I agree with your point about prose broken over a number of lines and called a poem- surely it's not, and I find it irritating to read.<br><br>Interesting poem, Nate.
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Post August 18, 2004, 09:04:42 AM

Re: On Unclean Snow By N. J. Kailhofer

dsullivan:
Strange how certain events that we experience in our lives affect our outlooks. I have a hard time enjoying unrhyming poetry because some of the old-time comedians used to make jokes with poetry that didn't rhyme. I remember a routine by Abbot & Costello where Costello tried to compose poetry but nothing rhymed! To me, most unrhyming poetry seems either pretentious or nonsensical.
<br><br>Who knows there could be some other reasons that I don’t enjoy most rhyming poetry… may be I’m still suffering from some deep-seeded psychological trauma from the day when my kindergarten teacher rapped my hand for coloring outside the round circles on those old aptitude tests that they used give:<br><br>To this day, I still run,<br>Faster than a rabbit<br>When I seen an old nun<br>In a black habit.<br><br>Was that in good rhymed form… may be I should submit it for publication. ;)
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Post August 18, 2004, 09:18:20 AM

Re: On Unclean Snow By N. J. Kailhofer

dsullivan:

Who knows there could be some other reasons that I don’t enjoy most rhyming poetry… may be I’m still suffering from some deep-seeded psychological trauma from the day when my kindergarten teacher rapped my hand for coloring outside the round circles on those old aptitude tests that they used give:

To this day, I still run,
Faster than a rabbit
When I seen an old nun
In a black habit.


Was that in good rhymed form… may be I should submit it for publication. ;)
<br>Maybe your mother was frightened by a rhyming dictionary! :)<br><br>As for your poem --<br>I presume that 'When I seen' was a typo -- or was this deliberate, a subtle indication of the fear inspired by the nun?  And is 'a black habit' simply the traditional nun's garb, or the 'nun's habit' of terrorizing schoolchildren?  (Finally, I'm afraid that last line doesn't seem to scan, assuming that it was meant to have the same number of beats as 'Faster than a rabbit'.)<br><br>Congratulations on your first published poem, complete with a deep, insightful critique by the exceedingly modest ...<br><br>Robert M. ;)
Last edited by Robert_Moriyama on August 18, 2004, 09:20:12 AM, edited 1 time in total.
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Post August 18, 2004, 10:13:33 AM

Re: On Unclean Snow By N. J. Kailhofer

Perhaps you will be kind enough to point out some current examples of good rhyming poetry.
<br><br>Your pardon, but this is a somewhat slippery slope in that, by implication, you would be the judge of whether it was "good" or not, and I question your impartiality. Nevertheless, I'll try. A quick search on the web yielded Jeff Matheus, who sounds pretty good to me.<br>http://www.webspawner.com/users/jeffmatheus/<br><br>Also, a link to a newletter-looking thing called Poet-Ch'i. I'm not an expert, but they're not bad.<br>http://www.geocities.com/Paris/Bistro/8066/rhymeter.html#start<br><br>Can you provide the examples I asked for? I'm particularly interested in the rhyme and also how any subtleties are shown in the meaning of the words, instead of general translation.<br><br>Nate
Last edited by kailhofer on August 18, 2004, 10:24:37 AM, edited 1 time in total.
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Post August 18, 2004, 10:41:53 AM

Re: On Unclean Snow By N. J. Kailhofer

Nate,

Perhaps you will be kind enough to point out some current examples of good rhyming poetry.

Jan
<br><br>This is a psuedo-villanelle, but I think it is all the stronger because of the form:<br><br>http://www.cs.berkeley.edu/~richie/poetry/html/aupoem67.html<br><br>Robert Browning's work is terrific too, for that matter.<br><br>Rhymed poetry really isn't the problem though I confess to not liking much of the poetry that was written when strict rhyme and meter was the ONLY accepted way to write.  (Thank you Mr. Whitman!!!).<br><br>Next time you read a rhymed poem, try reading to the rhythms the punctuation dictates.  In other words, if there isn't a period or a comma at the end of the line after the rhyme, don't pause.  Just read through it as if it was a normal sentence.<br><br><br>Thanks,<br>Jeff Williams<br>
Last edited by Jeff_Williams on August 18, 2004, 11:59:29 AM, edited 1 time in total.

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