This Poem was Submitted By: C Arrownut On Date: 2003-09-16 18:20:45 . . . Click Here To Mail this Poem to a Friend!

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A Theory of Composition

                                         A Theory of Composition                                                       “The writer should never be ashamed                                     of staring. There is nothing that                                     does not require his attention.”                                                     -Flannery O’Connor             Ennui        Artists        Journals           Sit And        Stare         And Stew                        Um de dum        de dum      The wall's freckled       The wall's creamed        Um de dum de dum             Stall        Stir And       Scribble             Um           de dum          dum         Up's blanched          Down's mud           Um de dum            Search       And Scrawl        Send                           dum                                   Why            What            Why        are we here    can we write    will we wait        Here we are    Write we can    Wait we will           Why? Um…       What? Umm…      Why? Wumm…       

Copyright © September 2003 C Arrownut

Additional Notes:
This poem can be read in at least three ways: horizontally, vertically, and one other way. I'll give you a hint: it's related to one area of the sciences. I'm curious as to what readers will see and how they will react to this. All opinions welcome, of course. C.

This Poem was Critiqued By: Litz Herschel On Date: 2003-10-05 19:16:27
Critiquer Rating During Critique: 10.00000
This one utterly amazes me. I read it across and down each column, but don't know what to make of it other than it seems to describe me if I'm bored. But it is an interesting and intriguing form, very creative. Thanks for putting it up. It is totally different all the other ones I've checked. Though today is my first day on the site, so I may run into more amazing things. Litz

This Poem was Critiqued By: Ellen A. Morris On Date: 2003-10-05 19:00:42
Critiquer Rating During Critique: 9.50000
C., this is one is really unique and experimental, I think. I could read it three ways: across, down each column, then like a flow chart with those sentences in each column rather than just one. And each way I felt that the meaning changed slightly, though all three ways do deal with the writing process, at least the one I use usually goes this way. An excellent teasing of the mind here. It's a little weird, you have to admit C., but I've enjoyed it too. Thanks for the experience. Ellen
This Poem was Critiqued By: Claire H. Currier On Date: 2003-10-02 08:24:58
Critiquer Rating During Critique: 9.44928
your writing is unique, you have style and class and you certainly do grab hold and don't let go. this piece is unique in its style, in the format and the words you use give it a sing song effect.......again as with all your pieces you present the reader with the possibility of more then one avenue to explore thus the food for thought is presented again and images of course are here as your words allow such presentation. I often wonder why I write or attempt to write though someday I hope to write something wonderful for the world to see. I hope you have given thought to putting all of your poetry into book form for it certainly would go places far and wide......thank you again for sharing your work with safe and God Bless, Claire
This Poem was Critiqued By: Terrye Godown On Date: 2003-09-25 22:25:46
Critiquer Rating During Critique: 9.36842
Ok, C Arrownut, I gotta bone ta pick with you.. or rather, you with pick ta bone gotta I. Um de dum de dum, Anyway (I'm trying to see straight here) as far as your curiosity as to what we'll see, try to visualize this: Me, after contorting in several odd positions in front of my monitor, I'm now STANDING on my computer desk, with my back towards the monitor, one hands on my printer and the other on my keyboard, typing upside down while peering through my spread legs upside down at the poem on the screen. I gotta tell ya, other than tasting the enchilada I had several hours ago in my throat again, all I'm seein is me gettin a big fat headache here. Yeah, I looked sideways, horizontal, vertical, etc., but when my husband popped in and saw me all he said was "what are H*** are you drinking? You've been on that thing waaaaaayy too long! So I guess at this point, I'll just admit bein a failure at this kinda scrutiny. My critiquing skills are null and void at this moment, and I'm ready to face the consequences. But after all this work, even though the meaning of this creative challenge has eluded me, I hope you'll write and tell me what I missed. Now if you'll excuse me, I'm gonna to a backflip off this computer desk and sit up straight. Cheerz C! T
This Poem was Critiqued By: Jane A Day On Date: 2003-09-24 21:13:56
Critiquer Rating During Critique: Unknown
Dear C, Poems like this are challenging. One of the challenge sis to go beyond the mechanics of the form. That is the challenge of all formal work be it a sonnet or a piece using a form such as this. The drumming of the fingers is a nice rhyme and "gluing" device for the poem. I also like the engagement with language in the following lines. The wall's freckled The wall's creamed Um de dum de dum Up's blanched Down's mud Um de dum I wish for a little more this language play. Opening with Connery gives the poem a dry, arched humor. I would like the end of the poem to return to this kind of play. It hints at it. Poets secretly and un secretly love science and scientists secretly and un secretly love poetry. Both capture minute observations of the world. Also, so much of each is about the invention of language or precise language. Jorie Graham being deeply in the questions of physics in her book "Dream of the United Field" Thanks for sharing, Jane
This Poem was Critiqued By: Joanne M Uppendahl On Date: 2003-09-24 13:36:15
Critiquer Rating During Critique: 9.93750
Hi C. I can't help but think that this poem has something to do with psychology. There is a logic to it, as well as a mystery: perhaps mysteries are merely those things for which we do not yet know the science. At any rate, I've been very intrigued by this and have read it several times, waiting for insight. I think several poems flew by. What does occur to me is that given a blank space to stare at, and enough "ennui" or lack of stimulation (sensory deprivation) our minds will come up with something. That's key to the creative process, I think. Perhaps what Flannery O'Connor was saying. Perhaps if our mind is cleared of debris - emotional detritus - we are able to focus inwardly (staring) and writing may occur. I stared at this poem, and read it in several directions. The creative process was ignited by just such meandering. I think perhaps the poem reveals that the greatest blockage to creativity is the 'assumption' rather than the question. The little self's perceptions so dear to it are perhaps the writer's greatest enemy. It is in the present moment that we create - by listening, by "reading" diagonally, vertically, horizontally, and not left to right, line by line. We have to somehow break out of our self-hypnosis or enter another kind of awareness that is less programmed to tap into the well of "What we can write" in order to experience "Why we are here." I especially enjoyed the "Um de dum dum" cadenced sounds. It is possible to write a passable poem just by starting with a "beat" and then add words - any words. I am reminded here of Stanley Kuntiz's description of his style of composing. He said, "First, the sounds." Maybe he wanders in his garden a bit, making "Um de dum dum" sounds and words attach themselves to the cadenced and 'felt' "somethings" which bubble up from the unconscious. Like finding the sculpture within the raw, unshaped clay. I think the key you are showing us here is that we do not know what it is, hence we must CREATE it, or allow it to create itself through us. I found this to be a stimulating experiential poem, and hope that I haven't ambled too far afield of your intent for the piece. All my best, Joanne
This Poem was Critiqued By: Thomas H. Smihula On Date: 2003-09-23 10:01:42
Critiquer Rating During Critique: 9.25000
What do I see. Does it relate to psychology. Our we looking upon the walls of the room that has become home? Is it the acceptance of the position we are placed in? Above us plain below our muddied thoughts. Our thoughts are 'Oh Hum' yet we have no understanding as to the reason why? Very interesting to force me into thinking on this you have captured my attention trying to read it in all directions, search for the science, and contemplate upon the outcome. Now how far off was I, I had to be in left field somewhere! Enjoyed reading this trying to find the answer you accomplished your task with this reader. Thanks for sharing. Tom
This Poem was Critiqued By: Julie Ann Ruengert On Date: 2003-09-22 02:13:18
Critiquer Rating During Critique: 1.00000
This one takes alot of thought. These are all things that someone who is bored, someone who draws and someone who writes asks themselves. I like the repetative Um de dum de dum. The science of thought, deep thinking. The power of thought and words that come to our mind when writing. We have to use visual imagination as well as writing and we also can suffer boredom when we have a mental block when writing. We have to be willing to wait for the thought to come. When the parasympathetic nervous system is in use, it automatically works without thinking about it. Our heart is controled by it and creativity is an automatic response and comes without thinking at times unless there is a mental block. Thanks for the challenge.
This Poem was Critiqued By: Elaine Marie Phalen On Date: 2003-09-21 10:33:08
Critiquer Rating During Critique: 1.00000
Intriguing read! I see this - on a grand level - as an assessment of Creation, from primal muck to the development of language, arts and philosophy. Evolutionary biology, if you will, and the cultural superstructures that arise from what we become physically. It's not a fast process or a smooth one and there are false turns and blind alleys (like the Neanderthals). "Stall, Stir and Scribble" - nicely summarize the millennia from our first faltering steps to our creative epitome. On a msaller scale, it could suggest the germination of a single literary work, like a poem, beginning with an apparently-idle study of fly-specked walls and ending with a massive outpouring of words. The brain starts to make connections among sensory stimuli and from these linkages, we get a writer's masterwork. But I'll go back to the broader interpretation because I'm having fun with it! At first, Man asks "Why?" because the universe is all terror and mystery. With language, he has to choose how and what to say, and thus, begins to censor his own thoughts. For instance, the Dark Ages destroyed so much of what might have shed brilliance upon later generations. Galileo's letters to his daughter were largely destroyed at a later time. There are many roadblocks to learning from our forebears. Then we move forward to the contemplation of "Why?" again, not to make sense of chaos but to explain our position in it. I think. Now, we can send our ideas instantly across a world, and wait for the enlightenment that still isn't guaranteed to arrive. But everything's so much more impressively packaged than the paintings of Lascaux! Until we do something horrible to ourselves, of course. "Wumm ..." sounds closely akin to "Wham!" as well as "Womb", which pits destruction against birth. It isn't what we know but how we put that knowledge to use, after all. Nuclear physics gives both power and bombs. Literacy can be used for propaganda and doesn't always make us better or more compassionate people. That's my take on this piece but I may well be far off track; I began with your title to give me clues and went from there. Nonetheless, it's a wonderful puzzle, crafted with obvious forethought and care. I love poetry that takes risks (I can't write it worth a tinker's damn but I always applaud those who can). Brenda
This Poem was Critiqued By: Jordan Brendez Bandojo On Date: 2003-09-16 23:51:43
Critiquer Rating During Critique: 9.66667
Wow! What a style, poet! This poem just made me realize that there is really totall freedom in writing. I could hardly imagine how you squeezed your mind that you came up with this astounding artistry. Freedom is really what every writer is endowed of. We may not be able to express our feelings verbally but in writing out mind can soar and every emotion is bruted to the limit. I remember one great author in Philippine literature named Dr. Jose Rizal. He had proven that a pen is mightier than a sword. As a short history, when the Philippines was colonized by the Spanish invaders, the fight for freedom is more expressed in writing and it was Rizal who led the Filipinos. You might be also familiar with his great novel, Noli Me Tangere (Touch Me Not) and El Filibusterismo. Anyway, so much for that, the poem freely stands strong in its artistry. Its uniqueness and originality are highly remarkable. I could not imagine how you squeezed your mind out in order to come up with this astounding piece. It is very obvious that everything is original here ranging from the style to the use of language. I am not quite familiar with the Flannery O’Connor but I could relate the theory well. And it is freedom that is spoken here "The writer should never be ashamed of staring. There is nothing that does not require his attention." And the next lines runs with the imagination of the writer. As this is a new experince me, it's look like it's bringing me an adventure that I could realize things over. Like the secrets are yet to be revealed. I like reading it with Um de dum de dum! And even how hard it seemed for you to create this one, the use of sobilant 's' is inescapable. Sit/Stare/Stew;Stall Stir And Scribble; Search/ Scrawl/Send with the enlivining of Um de dum dum. I could express further no more and still get astounded to the way you showed your talent here, poet! Thanks for sharing with us. This is my new wonderful experience. Jordan
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