Hey! Look at that. Two very useful critiques. Good way to start a day.

@The Grimace
Spoiler
Show
First off, thank you for your comments. They were perceptive and useful. I have to admit that the repetition was a bit of a cheat. As you might have read, I spent the whole time trying to write a poem based on the other prompt. And had limited time to make this one happen.

And that kind of loose repetition is a good (and easy) way to create structure and resonance within a piece without resorting to formal rhythm and rhyme. Like a sestina for dummies. :p

In retrospect, I agree with that the 'velvet' line of motifs didn't work. I rather like the 'wrapped in silence' one. So there you go.

But it certainly could have used some polishing. Wholeheartedly agreed.


@Story Time
Spoiler
Show
First off, I'm glad you stuck around. You clearly know your stuff, and that's always valuable.

And, yes, good catch. It should have been 'choking.' But I was in a rush and the Spellcheck didn't catch it (because, of course, it's a word) and I didn't notice until after the deadline and so couldn't edit it.

I'm hot and cold on moody poetry. I find angst for the sake of angst to be as tiresome as giddy for the sake of giddy. So long as the poet in question earns the emotion, everything goes.

And that's, I think, what you're getting at with the comments on abstraction. Did I earn the moody? Or did I just make use of it as a design element? Was I being mysterious and evocative (La Belle dame Sans Merci) or just obtuse (every second song Kurt Cobain ever wrote). I'm not sure. Certainly I felt it while I was writing it, felt the narrator's pain and frustration. But, as you said, I left enough unsaid that the reader can't really follow the narrative as a narrative and so the only payoff is thematic. There's something to be said for minimalist narratives of all kinds (from William Carlos Williams to Hemmingway), but, like anything else, you have to earn it.

So. I think you're mostly right. This poem was some sincerity wrapped in technical cheats ("Writing in cold blood," Stephen King calls it). I'm good at the technical aspects of poetry, less so at the sincerity. And although I don't like using it as an excuse, I was really up against the wall on this one, time-wise, and so relied in my strong suits a little more than I like to.

But thank you for your comments. They were insightful and gave me a look at the piece (and therefore my poetry in general) that I might not otherwise have had.