What do you consider to be your best lines?

iVillage Member
Registered: 12-15-2004
What do you consider to be your best lines?
5
Fri, 08-17-2012 - 7:48pm

I have this urge to copy what I, (and others) considered to be my best lines into a single poem? Don't know just where this Will go, but is it worth a try?

 

iVillage Member
Registered: 06-13-1999
Mon, 08-27-2012 - 7:20pm

Try it and see what happens.  Your idea nearly follows the Dada method of cutting up newspapers, tossing lines in a paper bag, then shaking 'em up good before spilling them out to "see" a poem.  i say go for it and post the result.

"It is with a strange malice / That I distort the world." -- from The Weeping Burgher by Wallace Stevens
iVillage Member
Registered: 07-13-2008
Re: What do you consider to be your best lines?
Fri, 09-07-2012 - 7:42am

Pat, I can't believe I still have this—it happened 30 years ago! And now that I look at it, the editor didn't just select 4 of my lines. He selected words from my poem that he wanted to publish. So I'm lucky he even called me the author of the final version!

 

Here's what I submitted. He only published I hope you see here in red.

 

Discipline

 

There is a launderer

who slaps her sheets on a washing stone

in view of the upper classrooms.

I watch her in moments of grace.

She is without expression

in the distance.

That in hand, she trains

on the smitten stone.

Her body flourishes with the exercise.

 

You loom as justified,

as far from boys' eyes.

You flex canes slowly

in silken arcs

off one palm

between strokes prescribed.

 

Against the smitten

you are exorcised.

iVillage Member
Registered: 06-13-1999
Fri, 09-07-2012 - 8:58am

Well, he did get it down to bare bones.  When PW first started here, the CL would do the same.  While I can applaud the economy, I feel the "essence" of the poem dissipates with such a brutal paring.  You were a real trooper for going along with his advice; thirty years later, I bet you wouldn't allow it.  The second stanza and closing lines wrap the poem up ... it is complete.  I deem the editor an ass.

 

"It is with a strange malice / That I distort the world." -- from The Weeping Burgher by Wallace Stevens
iVillage Member
Registered: 07-13-2008
Fri, 09-07-2012 - 10:04am

Thank you, Pat. I agree with you; much as I'd like to be published, if it were now I think I'd say wait a minute, I'm trying to make a point here. I think I'll go back and revise.

So, Ray, that's something to consider, isn't it? If people praise us for the power in a few phrases or lines we write, maybe we should not abandon our whole message (your sonnets are full of valuable reasoned arguments!) but instead make the rest of our writing just as good.

iVillage Member
Registered: 12-15-2004
Fri, 09-07-2012 - 10:59am

Well now Jackie, I do believe you have saved my bacon, I was struggling to mix  diverse lines from different sonnets but the rhyme scheme often defeated me and to make any sort of sense for the whole is proving to be an impossibility.  So!  I shall do as you suggest and concentrate on making all of the lines unforgettable.