Personal Absinthe Poem Published Southern Literary Corpus

Sepulchritude Forum: The Absinthe Forum Archive Thru March 2002: Archive thru January 2002:Personal Absinthe Poem Published Southern Literary Corpus
By Larsbogart on Sunday, February 03, 2002 - 12:54 pm: Edit

i think you got valuable criticism of "ode to green pillars". and you didnt have to pay someone for it! can i add 2 cents?
"I just know how frustrating it can be to ask for constructive criticism and get a well meant, but otherwise useless love-fest instead." kite.
there is nothing worse, torn up and thrown in your face is better. me

" sometimes the simple, the vulgar language gets the point across best." auntieminda
and not just to those who are vulgar. me too.

By Auntieminda on Sunday, February 03, 2002 - 12:00 pm: Edit

First of all, Bravo.

I truly liked the fact that I lost all sense of the rhyme scheme in the flow of the language.

I rather thought the "saintly herbs" was an amusing reference to herbsaint, a strange in-joke in the midst of a very irony-filled poem. A very "modest" poem indeed.

I also thought the use of "sweet embrace" was well done. The phrase bears the connotations of the saccharine romantic, while I believe quite the opposite is meant in the poem. Of course, ironic use of cliches can also be overdone. Something to consider.

On the other hand, some of the wording comes down as a bit overblown. I realize meter is hard to attain, but sometimes the simple, the vulgar language gets the point across best. Then again, perhaps the narrator's voice is intended to be a bit on the excessive, romantic side.

By Louched_Liver on Tuesday, January 29, 2002 - 04:37 pm: Edit

Kite,
What's the only station that matters?

By Kite on Tuesday, January 29, 2002 - 04:26 pm: Edit

Hrmm, I'm mostly a short prose person, but I know enough about how poetry critics think to help you out a bit. If you still have time to work on it, I think it might be helpful to think about pulling back from the basic subject/plot of absinthe and its tumultuous history a little bit. It is a personal poem after all, so I think it would be a good idea to instill it with more of the speaker's own concerns. I get to several points where I say, "Okay, this is good, but why is the speaker telling me this?" This of course is due to my own personal school of thought, but I think that in the end, a poem 'about' absinthe is fairly trite. (ie. Romantic odes said much more about the speaker than the revered object) There has to be something more to pull it all together. I think that when you have a nice subject and good language, it's rather easy to misplace the other essential facets of really well-constructed poetry. Also, you have some cliched terms like "clear air" and "sweet embrace" that you should think about changing. Small things like cliches can go a long way towards hurting the authority of your otherwise deft language. This is totally an aesthetic comment and has nothing to do with your poem, but I personally hate lines like, "In copper ambelics distillation / Of saintly herbs, anise, fennel, tansy." They're herbs! They're dirty and earthy and raw; I don't wanna hear about them being saintly... Oh well, varying aesthetic ideals are what make literature fun.
Hopefully you won't think I'm being needlessly harsh. I just know how frustrating it can be to ask for constructive criticism and get a well meant, but otherwise useless love-fest instead.
Good luck and thanks for the read,
Kite

By Mr_Rabid on Tuesday, January 29, 2002 - 03:39 pm: Edit

Footnotes on a poem- it's like having someone explain a song while it's playing.

If you need to give it background, give it first.

Your poem kicks ass. It might find a better home in a book (or something) about absinthe.

By Verawench on Tuesday, January 29, 2002 - 01:54 pm: Edit

What is the purpose of your poem?

By Wolfgang on Tuesday, January 29, 2002 - 01:27 pm: Edit

You can always publish a "dumb ass guide to Chrysippvs's poetry" later ;-).

By Chevalier on Tuesday, January 29, 2002 - 01:08 pm: Edit

If T.S. Eliot did it, you can do it! (Of course, his footnotes tended to confuse more than clarify -- but Eliot was a cheeky chap.)

By Chrysippvs on Tuesday, January 29, 2002 - 12:27 pm: Edit

If understanding is an issue...would footnotes explaining terms or locales (louche, couvet, pontarlier, etc..) be a good idea, or not?

Thoughts?

By Wolfgang on Tuesday, January 29, 2002 - 12:17 pm: Edit

Who care if they don't understand ? We can always impale their little over-intelectual critic heads on the green pillars of our indifference.

Thanks Chrysippvs.

By Chrysippvs on Tuesday, January 29, 2002 - 11:30 am: Edit

Chevalier,

It is funny that I was looking at your profile, and looked up and what did I see, that exact label in my collection on the wall...

Thanks for the kind words, I have tons of poetry, but most of it is in latin, or manscripts and are very long (1000 lines +) and a few prose poems...I would rather post them here anyhow, I know I can respect the criticism here as it is not from dim witted judges with agendas...

By Chevalier on Tuesday, January 29, 2002 - 11:26 am: Edit

Chrysippvs, I enjoyed reading "An Ode to Green Pillars". Having caught the absinthe references, I was able to parse the poem and then let it wash over me. I like poetry ranging from Petrarch to cummings and beyond. Thanks for sharing your work; I hope you'll show us more.

By Chevalier on Tuesday, January 29, 2002 - 11:20 am: Edit

"If you had several glasses of quality absinthe, not knowning what it was, would you derive pleasure from it?"

Surely. But deriving pleasure from words can be a trickier matter. More nuanced; more determined by one's era, environment and education; and more prone to stumbling.

By Chrysippvs on Tuesday, January 29, 2002 - 11:19 am: Edit

It is an honest critique and what I like to hear the most. This is one of the problems of my poetry, it is very systematic, hyper-traditional, and very esoteric. The leftists (and postmodernists) that judge these things often don't award my poetry, but the critque sheets are left blank as well...

By Chevalier on Tuesday, January 29, 2002 - 11:10 am: Edit

The reader will have to work very hard indeed. The poem's subject is one that few know about; and even though you've laced the work with references and clues ("Couvet", "burn the factories"), these won't ring bells for the non absinthe-initiated. Granted, a poem can be more than its subject ... but I sense that here the subject has overwhelmed the poem. But heck, what do I know?

By Etienne on Tuesday, January 29, 2002 - 11:07 am: Edit

Justin;

I think your poem is fine as it stands. I once had the chance to try to write in meter for a class and I know the amount of work (and the vocabulary) it takes. If this gets published will there be copies available?

By Verawench on Tuesday, January 29, 2002 - 10:58 am: Edit

"I'm not sure that anyone who doesn't know a good deal about absinthe would derive much pleasure from this poem."

If you had several glasses of quality absinthe, not knowning what it was, would you derive pleasure from it?

Same goes for words...

By Chrysippvs on Tuesday, January 29, 2002 - 10:50 am: Edit

Chevalier

"I'm not sure that anyone who doesn't know a good deal about absinthe would derive much pleasure from this poem."

The very nature of Symbolist poetry (Which this is my first major attempt at). I purposely left the word "absinthe" out of the poem, I don't spoon-feed anyone poetry, as I worked to write it, the reader is thus obligated to work to understand it.

By Chrysippvs on Tuesday, January 29, 2002 - 10:41 am: Edit

"Was the poem written in a Rimbaudized (absinthe-soaked) state?"

No, but that is a very complicated no.

Poetry, and all art in my opinion, cannot be achieved by accident or induced state. Poetry, and paintings, are only art in that they take human experience and force them into very systematic formats, thus it is the skill of language (or paint) for force them into these systems.

For instance try to write a poem in Terza Rima verse (The one Dante used for the Divine Comedy), it is very very difficult, earning impossible despite there being over 1 million words in English. Thus to me, the higher the skill needed, the great the poem has potential to be as long as it is sensible (not just random words that rhyme).

Rimbaud is an exception, as for him, drunkenss (and other altered states) polluted his mind and it made it very difficult to think clearly and thus to compose poetry, matter being of fact very little of his great poetry was written in such states. Unlike Verlaine, he seems to disliked being drunk (certainly not the point in which Verlaine did so) and rarely did so when not with Verlaine, and certainly not in Africa. To rimbaud the Bohemian experiment was a form of inverse acetism, he hated the things he was doing, but suffered his senses to undergo an almost alchemical change, atleast I would argue. This is reolvutionary and which seperates his notion of prose poetry, from that of the 15 year old girls writing about how much the worlds sucks and they wish they could go die, or other type of confessional (often complaint) poetry, all which are very modern in conception.

By Verawench on Tuesday, January 29, 2002 - 10:32 am: Edit

"Damn" = Good poetry makes me tremble with rage because I have Rimbaud Complex.

By Chevalier on Tuesday, January 29, 2002 - 10:30 am: Edit

Just curious: Was the poem written in a Rimbaudized (absinthe-soaked) state?

Speaking seriously, it seems very abstruse; I'm not sure that anyone who doesn't know a good deal about absinthe would derive much pleasure from this poem.

By Petermarc on Tuesday, January 29, 2002 - 10:17 am: Edit

i dunno, 'damn' seems like a pretty good, thorough response to me...it would be tough to do that in 5 minutes on a bathroom wall...trust yourself...

By Chrysippvs on Tuesday, January 29, 2002 - 09:59 am: Edit

"Damn"

Expand on that for me, I am going to finalize this today and tomorrow and turn it in and need some expert opinions, and there are tons of well read, and absinthe minded people around here...

By Verawench on Tuesday, January 29, 2002 - 09:34 am: Edit

Damn.

By Chrysippvs on Tuesday, January 29, 2002 - 09:28 am: Edit

Here is a poem I wrote for a Southern Literary collection of Undergrads, it may or may now be published, but things are looking good as of yet...let me know what you guys think:

An Ode to Green Pillars
-in iambic pentameter-

“Gagnons, pèlerins sages,
L’Absinthe aux verts piliers…”

-A. Rimbaud, “Comedie De La Soif”

I
In distant lands, with rolling hills of green,
where clear air fills the lungs of wanting man.
The Alpine wilderness, so sweet, so clean,
hides some treacherous spirit under ban.

This spectre haunts in the veins of lost men
and floods into the alpine hills and lakes.
She rises up in green pillars as sin,
and many the broken man she swift makes.

In Couvet, and Pontarlier she haunts.
Among the sullen valley did she stroll,
and now this spectre, being loose, she daunts.
Her bitter kiss is now to take its toll.

II
In copper ambelics distillation
Of saintly herbs, anise, fennel, tansy
Yields, in time, by steam this transmutation
To suit the lust of girls and their fancy!

I know you filled the Doubs with anise green
A louched stream of mud and opalescence
Flowed into the earth, forcing her to feign
Sleep, the desolation of consciousness.

And when you awoke a great war to cease
The toxic treachery of this green muse.
The drunken rage of the world did increase
And banned till yet this alchemy’s abuse

III
A Wistful green, clouded and befuddling
Dripping from some ethereal moist cloud
To prevent such curious meddling
the mind is made dark, covered by her shroud.

Their suffering is pleasant, yet to cease
While wife and child hopelessly stir sleeping
Their hearts and minds shall have no rest nor peace
While this spirit is dolefully creeping

Hear her in the noisy cafe this night!
Intoxicating! The poets inspired
To swoon the priest, the maid, the sodomite,
with that opal wand the heart is thus stirred

IV
And stronger yet upon the lover's breath
like the flowers aroma quite, hotly sweet
In the still of night, coming like vile death
The anise panting of evening’s feat

From Couvet, the opal wand seeks to rape
sweet with sugar-water, still moist with love
the limping wands of men. To bend! To drape!
But shall the sweet drippings come from above?

Certainly not! Boyish vigor returns!
still drunk and wanting she jostles and throws
then the nose bleeds, the stomach starts to churn...
Bitter wormwood (and love!) expelled forgoes!

V
The ancient gnosis is lost! We are Shamed!
Huddled in dim alleys, silent and drunken
We suffer in stupor and fiercely maimed.
We die with anise breath, our eyes sunken.

“Oh opal wand, where are you now?” we cry
What is written can be rewritten still!
Please! Oh dire witch of justice we defy,
Why are we cursed to drink, to rage, to kill?

I have loved with passions fierce and death yet,
Ejected from they embrace is ripe pain
Witch of Couvet I lay in bitter debt!
I, your child, love of the sick and insane.

VI.
Evangels! Evangels! Save us from her!
She is a rigid mistress, stark and black.
There is not hope! From sheol please defer…
This muse, only salvation does she lack.

Return to those distant lands with great haste!
Dig swiftly again her grave in Couvet.
Place her living in the sepulcher haste,
Burn the factories! Witness our dismay!

We have starved our husbands to death with drink!
These scatological desires must cease!
Write her elegy with our blood as ink!
Haters of justice and we despise such peace.

VII
Vicious alchemy, skiomancy yet
did bring you from your grave to haunts our beds,
Bring a priest, a shaman, to end our debt!
We are scarlet, stigmata on our heads!

Green pillars rising from the alpine hills
Swallow up this beast, this wondrous bride.
Burn the wormwood crop, destroy the dark mills!
We can be slave no more to her rank pride.

And yet, we do nothing in drunkenness
We love with rape near our death
For we have one secret in our hearts crevice
“Be Always Drunk!” the anise on our breath.

VIII
We do not need your forgiveness father!
Our drunken blasphemy is salvation,
To the prostitute, thief, and the lecher.
Send no Messiah among stagnation!

We shall water our drink, and dance a dance
With the colors melting when the sun goes
We have the night for our unholy trance
A bitter wind sings, in our heart it blows…

Green muse of poets, divine alchemy
We have you as hope, a new gospel true!
We praise the new goddess Melpomene
Blackout in a stupor, our divine coup.

Epilogue
-in blank verse-

The sun did rise on the sullen café
It torn between the lovers sweet embrace
Their blasphemies and repentance done while
they lay amongst the shattered green pillars




For Rimbaud (1854-1891)


Thoughts?

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