Amazing, isn't it, how 2 people reading the same poem, or book, or viewing the same film can have such different reactions?
Poetry, especially, can do that.
In honor of National Poetry Month here is a case in point:
I once wrote a poem called The Dandyfosilthiselwig.
I posted it in my file on the writing website mentioned in the last post, introducing it by saying "Written on a 90 min. bus ride, in 7/03, that began near a wooded area" then went to the page where we can Plug a piece we wanted people to read, and announced it this way:
"What would Darwin make of THIS plant? Did the "Great Evolutionist" mix these ingredients while tipsy?"
I loved this poem! The Dandyfosilthiselwig sounds like something Dr. Seuss would have thought up! Someone with a less-quirky sense of humor wouldn't appreciate it, but you DID mention your weird humor in your bio.
Somebody knows how to laugh. ;-D
REACTION #2 ( From a person who made clear in their profile that they were Christian, and rated the poem 2.5 out of 5 Stars ):
Interesting, but not interesting. I felt no emotion, no enjoyment, or otherwise stylish sensation. what was the point? It wasn't funny, if that's what you wanted.
It wasn't intricate. There was no complexity.
I only read to find out more about thedandyfosilthiselwig.
Sorry if this is a disappointment. I wouldn't mind if you clarified your point a little.
Was it the choice of words in my 2 sentence plug, that chapped yer hide?
Hee, hee. ;-D
If I had not cracked a joke about the act of Creation would your reaction to the poem have been different?
Before you get all offended hear me out because offending you is the farthest thing from my mind.
Your reaction is the 1st I've had to the piece in 2 years, and THAT person was left in tears, and emotional.
It's also the 1st negative, or outright hostile opinion, so I found it interesting, and refreshing.
I've only had 1 public reading (The reaction was positive), and a half dozen other reactions to judge by, however. ;-D
I am NOT the most religious person in the world [Due to the various Christian denominations in my family, though, I tell people, when asked, that I'm 1st Church of Vegetable Soup, California Sinod. ;-D], but religion had nothing to do with creating the message of the piece.
The message was about beauty being in the eye of the beholder, and how something vitally important can be found in the strangest of places.
Like I have said, I wrote the piece on a bus ride.
Inspiration hit, and I just wrote, influenced by who knows what, after an evening at a writing workshop, and 20 minutes standing in the dark at a bus stop near some very large, and beautiful trees.
The title did it's job by making you curious, and that's a feeling in itself. ;-D
RE: Interesting, but not interesting.
Again, a feeling. Ambiguity about what you think about the piece, despite your faith.
RE: I felt no emotion, no enjoyment, or otherwise stylish sensation.
And I'm not feeling hungry right now either. ;-D
Don't be so hostile to Darwin. ;-D
RE: What was the point? It wasn't funny, if that's what you wanted. It wasn't intricate. There was no complexity.
The point is clear for all who wish to see it.
Why do you need complexity, and intracacy, in every poem?
As God would say: "Do not consider appearance. You are looking at the outward appearance when it is what is inside that matters most."
Isn't there some Proverb somewhere that suggests that just because you is uuugggglllyyy, don't mean ya have nothing to contribute?;-D
Even I didn't fully grasp what I had written until I'd stopped patting myself on the back for my peculiar sense of humor, and really thought about it. ;-D
The fact that I,of all people wrote this piece gave me pause.
The fact that you missed the point speaks for the complexity of the piece, and should maybe lead to some inner contemplation on your part.
If you let your Faith, or lack of it, affect your choices for reading, and viewing, and completely take over what you think in reaction to the material, and even the world around you, then you are missing out on so many thought provoking, entertaining, and informative experiences.
I may not belong to a Church, and disagree with my more Evangelical fellow Conservatives on some things, but that don't prevent me from reading, and viewing religious themed material, or even finding a reason to go to Church (Crystal Cathedral) for the 1st time in 20 years, and learning something in the bargain. ;-D
The response to my explanation was revealing...
The person wrote:
I see, that is, to some extent. Your piece is the first I've found worthy of fairly sharp criticism (And as you can see, my average rating hangs around 4 stars out of 5).
I wasn't really offended by your poem, and didn't want to offend you.
The problem for me here was -though I don't mean to reiterate all that malarky and malcontent, nor do I want to contradict what you said - the piece simply didn't hit me where I was at.
First of all, I have little respect for a man (Darwin) who extrapolated, based on finches that, as God planned, were able to adapt their beaks to the adverse conditions of an island, so as to be capable of obtaining food, could EVEN extrapolate to such an extreme as to assume thereof that the entire universe was subject to evolution.
This is basically why I don't sympathize with his work.
Secondly, I had not intention of being ambiguous: well, maybe I did. But I was trying to make a point, seeing as I saw little in your poetry (sorry), that I was interested in some ways while estranged in others.
To tell you the truth, writing a piece utterly upon inspiration is not the surest way to sail. Just as baking a cake without any idea of what ingredients are going into it will result in nothing, so also this poem, as a poem, really went nowhere for me.
Thirdly, and I know I am missing many points by summing it up so quickly, your theory that I was emotionally or spiritually biased as I read, while who can say what mood I was in!, held, truly, little ground.
I am a deep religious thinker; even deeper than most people think should be warranted.
Therefore, when I look at a piece from a religious PERSPECTIVE, I am not only seeing it as a literary work, but as an attestation of faith. Forgive me for any doctrine-centered lingo.
What I mean is while I have no intention of holding your belief against you, I am apt, as it were, ha ha, to heatedly attack the concept itself.
Fourthly, I do not demand intricacy or complexity from a poem.
When I said that, I was saying that since I saw no other outlet or purpose for this composition, this was my last resource, which I found lacking as well.
I'm sorry, but I must run. You don't have to respond to this email. If you'd like to continue this exchange, though, I'm quite willing to caper on with you.
Well, of course I wrote another follow-up:
I was never offended by your thoughts, just amused.
I understand where you are coming from a bit better now with this reply, and since I can't match you on the Religious Analysis level will not go there. ;-D
I just bought a copy of the magnificent new work FROM SO SIMPLE A BEGINNING: The 4 great Books of Charles Darwin.
Edward O. Wilson edited it, and provides several essays about each.
I figured it was about time I get a deeper understanding of what he had to say. ;-D
Anyway, let me say I am amused that you still don't touch on the "message", or purpose, of the piece even when it is pointed out to you. ;-D
(Though you are not the only one. One person loved the wit and humor, but didn't notice anything else, and now plans to re-read, with that in mind.)
I had one review this morning that pointed out something that suprised even me: My notion has some similarities with a more famous, and well-known (Though not to me), work:
As the person wrote:
"I like this plant, muchly. It reminds me of Flanders and Swan's 'philanthropic fruit' the Wompom. The similarity to Fand S's genius for comic verse/song doesn't stop at the subject matter; your first two stanzas romp along in the same way. Then, I think, it begain to get 'complicated' and 'serious comic writing'. Which is a pity.
Can you bring the witty simplicity to the rest of the poem? Apply pruning sheers to language like "Its natural instincts subverted" (Without losing the manure?) It's simple things, really. Like having a "triangular" flower instead of one that is "triangle-shaped". Same metre, snappier feel."
So now I gotta go research who the heck these guys were. ;-D
Anyway, I came here to get feedback on my work, and that's coming faster that I ever dreamed.
The thoughtfullness, and intelligence, even by those like you with criticisms is what, I think makes a place like this rewarding.
My correspondent never did continue the discussion. ;-D
As for the 1st commentor?
She originally didn't see the message either:
OK, I printed out your poem and have been over it several times. I still can't make out what the deep message is supposed to be. Help me out in my dimness.....it's been a long week. (waving the white flag). :-D
When I shared the same explanation with her she wrote back:
Hmmmmm, judging by the lengthy email exchange you had with the first reviewer, I obviously missed the deeper point to this one.
I recall being caught up in the sheer fun of leaping from one verse to another, following the development of this plant(?), and then being brought up all standing at the last two lines, somewhat puzzled.
I come from a long line of punsters and wacky folks, so I was reading it from that standpoint. Sorry if you were going for a deeper reaction and I missed the boat entirely.
I'm just starting my day (I'm on the opposite coast) and will be running about 'til later this evening. When I'm less rushed, I'll approach your poem again and dig deeper. If I'm still puzzled, I'll ask more questions. Fair enough?
Fair enough. ;-D
She later sent me her response:
I totally agree. God was telling that to Samuel when he thought the oldest of Jesse's
sons, the good-looking one, was to be Israel's new king.
I think I was looking a little TOO hard and trying to figure out exactly what type of thing you were describing. I thought that was the deep-down message to which you referred.
Maybe I took it a little too far, eh?
Overall, bravo on your work. I still like it best for the originality of the name, a la Dr. Suess :-D
Discussions like these are going on all the time at this site I joined, and they benefit both the writer, and the reader.
As for "The Bestiary of Flanders and Swann" and that which is known as "The Wompom"...
We have a song here, more or less as a postscript, it's about something that's not really an animal, but it's certainly more than a mere vegetable. I am referring, of course, to that fantastic newly-discovered hybrid, the Wompom. If you have not yet heard of this fabulous new raw material, and it is, I am proud to say, the discovery of a British scientist, a professor Werne von Lebensraum, let us tell you something about the Wompom, and the factory where it is turned into everything you could possibly want.
I love it! I love it! I love it! ;-D
It is such an honor to be compared to these two masters of humor, and song. ;-D