"Children Playing in the Snow under Plum Trees in Bloom" by Yōshū (Hashimoto) Chikanobu ‘Tulip Tree in Bloom, January’ and Other Poetry by Tim J. Myers The Society May 16, 2018 Beauty, Humor, Poetry 38 Comments Tulip Tree in Bloom, January Every working day I pass a tulip tree on yellow grass and strain to see, when it appears, petals out this time of year. Even our southern winter’s strong– it hunkers down and won’t move on: A sky that presses close its gray; chilling drizzle day by day; dark roofs ranked as far as sight can make them out in dreary light; the city’s business, lusterless, car and bank, store and bus. Even as we rush about, we settle in to wait it out; the whole world sighs and mutters Winter– except this small and frail dissenter who seems to have her signals crossed– stands half-splendid, half at loss, and throws out from each kindling branch blossoms whiter than a trance. Winter has its point to press; like everyone, I acquiesce. So why be caught by such a thing– one little fool who thinks it’s spring? ‘Round Bedtime a villanelle for my daughter When will sleep subdue this noisy cub? It’s 10 p.m., but still she wants to take her seventy-one-piece tea set in the tub. This is what she wants, and here’s the rub: Until she’s all played out she’ll stay awake. Oh when will sleep subdue this noisy cub? She’ll scream if I (before that final glub of water down the drain) should undertake to lift her precious tea set from the tub. She’s belting out a tuneless rub-a-dub– the tiles echo till my eardrums ache. Oh when will sleep subdue this noisy cub? I might assuage my dolor at the pub, but cannot here shake off the urge to break her seventy-one-piece tea set in the tub. She’s out now, but she cries for frosted flakes. The bathroom floor’s an unnamed little lake. Oh when will sleep subdue this noisy cub? I fish her floating tea things from the tub. Tim J. Myers is a writer, songwriter, storyteller, and senior lecturer at Santa Clara University. His children’s books have won recognition from theNew York Times, NPR, and the Smithsonian; he has 16 out and more on the way. He’s published over 140 poems, won a first prize in a poetry contest judged by John Updike, has three books of adult poetry out with one in press, published a nonfiction book on fatherhood, and won a major prize in science fiction. He won the West Coast Songwriters Saratoga Chapter Song of the Year and the 2012 SCBWI Magazine Merit Award for Fiction. Find him at www.TimMyersStorySong.com or on Facebook at www.facebook.com/TimJMyers1. Views expressed by individual poets and writers on this website and by commenters do not represent the views of the entire Society. The comments section on regular posts is meant to be a place for civil and fruitful discussion. Pseudonyms are discouraged. The individual poet or writer featured in a post has the ability to remove any or all comments by emailing submissions@ classicalpoets.org with the details and under the subject title “Remove Comment.” Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to print (Opens in new window)Click to share on LinkedIn (Opens in new window)Click to share on WhatsApp (Opens in new window)Click to email this to a friend (Opens in new window)Click to share on Pinterest (Opens in new window) 38 Responses E. V. May 16, 2018 I think the tulip tree is an optimist, and many parents (myself included) can identify with how it feels to have our “cub” feel energetic at bedtime. I enjoyed reading your poems. Reply C.B. Anderson May 16, 2018 As always, I am the dissenter. Learn to count, and learn where stresses naturally occur in English words. For me to parse every line would be tedious for everyone, especially for myself. Everybody knows what the rules of meter are — and these are constitutive, not regulative, rules — so why does everyone get a pass here at SCP for cute work that isn’t up to the standard of polished craft. And when will people realize that adding an “s” to a rhymed word (for example, “appears/year”) is just an incompetent rhyme? Perhaps I am being too harsh on inconsequential dabblers, but, dammit, if we extol the standards of past and present masters, then let’s uphold them. Reply Joe Tessitore May 17, 2018 I find myself wanting to agree with you, C.B., but hesitate because I feel it would be a criticism of those who decide what gets into print. They, and Evan in particular, have “led me along” to a remarkable degree and I’ve learned to trust them implicitly. Maybe they’re doing the same for Mr. Myers. Reply Evan M. May 17, 2018 Thank you to Mr. Myers for contributing his poetry and thank you to Mr. Anderson and Mr. Tessitore for your editorial feedback. My editorial outlook is that classical poetry or formal poetry is in a stage of rebirth and the spirit should necessarily be an open one, as a matter of pure awareness and growth. Dovetailing on Mr. Myers first poem, we are the fools who in fact know that it is spring and are brave, some might say naïve, enough to wonder why the emperor (free verse and degrading themes) is wearing no clothes (form, as well as basic propriety, piety, and morality). Therefore, anyone willing to venture into the noble cause of classical poetry today, in other words, first time or rare contributors, are often given special consideration. If you think this is a bad policy feel free to express your opinion publicly or you can email me. The standards have been getting higher and I presume will continue to do so. When we get to where we want to be, the little girl in the villanelle above will have a sound spanking and learn her lesson. Reply C.B. Anderson May 17, 2018 Evan, I do not contest your policy. After all, half a loaf is better than none. And as long as we all strive for at least a semblance of perfection, then all is right with the world. Interestingly, Sally Cook, in a private conversation, suggested that what you disclosed above might be your rationale for lenience and pardon. Reply David Paul Behrens May 17, 2018 I think we would all agree that each of us is entitled to his or her own opinion. I believe all styles of rhymed poetry should be considered, as long as it is good writing and the poet has something to say. We should keep our minds open. If you examine the song lyrics of Bob Dylan, it all rhymes and is often regarded as poetry. He uses very little punctuation and does not concern himself with the “rules” of classical poetry. Dylan was awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature in 2016. Reply Joe Tessitore May 17, 2018 I believe that C.B. was right in pointing out the shortcomings of “Tulip Tree…”. In a six-verse poem there are six couplets that don’t rhyme and so this is not an opinion – a poem that doesn’t rhyme cannot be considered a “style of rhymed poetry”. Furthermore, the first verse is grammatically incorrect and, to a large degree, senseless. If it read: Every working day I pass a tulip tree on yellow grass and strain to see, should they appear, petals out this time of year it would be grammatically correct and make sense (and it would rhyme). “Rules” in a case like this would help the reader. As far as the Nobel Prize is concerned, President Obama was awarded one for getting elected. Need I say more? Reply David Paul Behrens May 17, 2018 Your point is well taken, Joe. I agree that the rules of grammar should always apply and rhymes should be exact. It may be Obama did not deserve the Nobel Peace Prize, but I wholeheartedly agree with the decision to award Dylan the Nobel prize for Literature after five decades of output. C.B. Anderson May 17, 2018 David, I agree with you to a certain extent. Opinions are paramount. But very few Hallmark greeting cards are worthy poetry. Bob Dylan was a great songwriter, but song lyrics, in general, never have to conform to the conventions of good prosody. That he was awarded a Nobel Prize just shows how far those inbred Norwegians have sunken. Lew Icarus Bede May 18, 2018 1. Mr. Myer’s poems have some nice qualities. Note the last stanza of “Tulip Tree” with its Frostian accents… “Winter has its point to press, like everyone I acquiese. So why be caught by such a thing— one little fool who thinks its spring.” or the nursery-rhyme villanelle which uniquely undertakes the humourous dominant rhyme of “ub”. “Oh when will sleep subdue this noisy cub? I fish her floating tea things from the tub.” 2. I like rhyme. Yet although the obsession with rhyme in poetry is definitely not Classical (id est, the remarkable poetic practice of Greek and Latin writers), it is at least a catch against the pandemic curse of poor free verse. 3. Rhymes are traditional in English verse, in balladry and song, and in poetry, since the practice of great writers, like Geoffrey Chaucer. 4. Still, much of the greatest poetry in English does not rhyme, “Beowulf,” wide swaths of Shakespearean drama, Miltonic epic, etc. 5. In my mind, the Classical (ancient Greek and Roman) understanding of and feeling for metre is superior to our own; but at least @ SCP we are struggling with it. I daresay I have seen at least one poor piece here, where the artist attempted something no Neoclassicist or Formalist ever tried; so I say press on, Mr. Mantyk. 6. Not only is the conflict of syllabic verse vs. metrical verse complex, but poets also weigh syllables diff’rently. 7. There is no poet whose poetry is not lacking in some ways, but so what? That holds true for every single human endeavour…ever. What then—simply sit around and moan? My answer is a resounding no…duh. 8. Even the best of poets violate simple metres. In the great, later plays of Shakespeare, hardly anyone is perfectly steady; as the characters are flawed, so is the metre. 9. Even the best of poets violate rhyme, as Dickinson does, Apparently with no surprise To any happy Flower The Frost beheads it at its play— in accidental power— The blonde Assassin passes on— The Sun proceeds unmoved To measure off another Day For an Approving God. 10. Finally, here is an unseen, unpublished piece from half a decade ago “On Evan Mantyk,” where the poet, in a bilding [sic], violates both rhyme and metre. I have enormous admiration for the man, because of what he’s trying to accomplish now, creating a poetic portal. It’s his plan to be conduit for American verse. How could anyone do such a thing? It is too large. And yet he’s trying it—with family in tow. Row, Mantyk, row. Row on in this fantastic barge. Th’ ideals of youth are inspiring, if futile, breathtaking, if hopeless. Still, they are what will forge the fresh, th’ invigorating new, the beautiful, the good, and true. The little engine who dares, can, by trying the impossible, infuse the real. Reply Joe Tessitore May 18, 2018 To seek rhyme for the sake of rhyme may well be an obsession, but to seek exquisite rhyme is a quest for beauty. Reply Lew Icarus Bede May 19, 2018 A half decade on, I would supplant the word “American” with “English speaking”; for Mr. Mantyk was, even back then, publishing works in English from around the World. Reply Beau Lecsi Werd May 22, 2018 Nota bene: Bede mires himself in Mires’ name, should avoid duh; otherwise quintessential Wise. Reply Leo Yankevich May 18, 2018 I agree with C.B. about the Swedish Academy. It’s sunken very low. The Nobel Prize means nothing. Thank you, Tim, for these charming poems. Reply David Paul Behrens May 18, 2018 Perhaps you fellows are right about the Nobel Prize. That “inbred” comment was funny. My reasoning may have been clouded because I am an avid Dylan fan. I recommend a book called “The Lyrics 1961 – 2012.” Reply C.B. Anderson May 18, 2018 And I am (or once was) an avid fan of The Byrds, who covered a number of his songs. Go figure. C.B. Anderson May 18, 2018 Count Leo, talents In the hands of modern grandmasters — such as Yeats, Frost and yourself — metrical variations can often lead to grand results, but less talented writers often piss in the soup, which is the source of my indignation. Reply Leo Yankevich May 19, 2018 To be honest, Bob wrote a few good songs. I especially like “Knocking on Heaven’s Door.” But Dylan was never as good as Cohen: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HKEdWBXcgAE Reply Joe Tessitore May 19, 2018 I think it’s important to consider the differences between song and poetry. Song is listened to and has the benefit of musical accompaniment to help carry its message. Poetry is read and so the music must be built into it through rhyme and meter. It is not an obsession to do this. It is an attempt to make the poem sing in the mind of the reader. Reply Joe Tessitore May 19, 2018 A further thought – with rhyme or meter that is not up to standard the message, at least for me, is all to easily lost in the shuffle. This is perhaps the source of my indignation/frustration. I think I need poems to sing to me. Is it wrong for me to expect that they do so? C.B. Anderson May 19, 2018 Joe, I think that there is more to the difference between poetry and song lyrics than the music that attends the latter. Sung words can be stretched or shortened at will, defeating the need for metricality, and consonants (unlike vowels) can’t really be sung, and so can be glossed over as long as the “rhyming” vowels share a good degree of assonance. Listen to country music (or Rap, if that’s your thing) and you will see a lot of this. David Paul Behrens May 19, 2018 You are right, Joe. Poems with good rhyme and meter should sound almost musical. Reply "Weird" Ace Blues May 20, 2018 O, Like a Rolling Stone How many songs must a man sing before he’s called a man? No bell was ringing in the ears of Robert Zimmerman. The times they are a-changin’, gruff Bob Dylan has received a noble prize in letters, said the joker to the thief. How does it feel…to have opened the folk-blues-rock door upon the World stage, electric guitar troubadour, a champion of the World, in which hard rains continue on, as they have ever done so since the very crack of dawn? How better then to be unfettered at a microphone, freewheeling up and down life’s slopes, o, like a rolling stone? Reply Wes Caribu Deal May 20, 2018 Leonard Cohen by Wes Caribu Deal He sat upon the cyclone, like a bird upon a wire, in conversation singsong, like a drunk in midnight choir, who danced to beauty’s favour with a burning violin, when not off course in sorrow or engaged in holy sin; a raspy singer, as unhappy as Bob Dylan, but without the social bitterness and fire in his gut; a light for those in darkness who were trying to be free, in their lone ways, through their own haze, in this reality. There is a crack in everything, including death, it seems; off flapped old Leonard Cohen on gaunt, hallelujah wings. Reply Joe Tessitore May 20, 2018 C.B. Thanks for your thoughts. If we can say that hearing is intuitive, then I’ve known them intuitively all along. I thank you, for the sake of my own clarity, for putting them into words. I’m a classical/country kind of guy, truth be told. “Wierd” Wes, Well done! What’s next, the Nobel Prize? Reply James A. Tweedie May 20, 2018 I will add four thoughts. 1. I am grateful to Evan for allowing me to stumble into this site by allowing me to post several poems which (in retrospect) only marginally reflected the high standards we all seek for ourselves and hope for in others. I believe that rubbing shoulders with better poets has opened my mind’s eye to greater things and my writing has improved as a result. 2. I agree that good poetry should “sing,” but sometimes the song can be an angry shout as blunt as a sledge hammer to the head, as somber as weeping, or as maudlin as pondering mortality in a country churchyard. 3. The slogan for this site is “Rhyming, rhythmic and rapturous.” Along with several of you I agree that this sets a limit on what sort of poetry is expected here. The term “Classical Poets” in its widest sense embraces far more than the slogan suggests. It should be obvious that in even in Western poetry from Chaucer to Yeats we find great works that include two of these characteristics but not the third. Indeed, there are even some that manage only one of them well and bend the rules on the other two! I have written English poems in the style of the Hebrew Psalms. They are neither rhythmic nor do they rhyme and it unlikely that anyone would describe them as rhapsodic. But although they are good poetry I do not submit them to the site. Nor would I submit haiku or similar poetic forms (although a Clerihew or two or even a good limerick wouldn’t hurt me to see here every so often). 3. I believe we can be critical without discouraging folks who take a risk by jumping off a cliff into this site with their best efforts. If at all possible, we are all better off if we cushion the fall and help steer one other away from the rocks. It is not helpful if we simply throw them. 4. I want to thank Tim for submitting his poems. I am particularly impressed with his effort to rise to the challenge of a villanelle. By coincidence, I wrote my first poem in this form only this past week. Tim, you carried it off quite well with some creative flexibility and a great deal of humor. In my mind, all of that taken together is a big success. I look forward to seeing more of your work in the future. Reply Tim J. Myers May 20, 2018 Hello to everyone—hope you’re all doing well! I find this whole discussion not only interesting but important, and I can’t help but note a great commonality among us all that’s perhaps being overlooked: Namely, we all believe that questions of prosody are deeply valuable, worth great mental effort, and crucial in their potential influence out in the larger world. So thank you for that! However, I also think there’s some confusion and conflation here that are muddying the waters. Let me be clear from the start: I’m not defending my poem per se, and I’m not arguing against anyone’s general aesthetic judgments of it. It’s a free country. Besides, although I’m a rationalist (and more), I also know that artistic judgment will always be subjective to a significant degree—thus De gustibus non disputandum est. The problem here is a confusion of the categories by which you, Mr. Anderson (apologies if I’ve incorrectly assumed your gender!), and you, Mr. Tessitore, are criticizing the piece. First, a minor point: Mr. Tessitore, there is NOT a grammatical error in the first verse. The referent of the pronoun “it” is the tree itself, not the blossoms. I’m happy to grant that this could be seen as one of those “squinting” constructions that modify in either direction—but I see no lack of clarity, so feel no need for a change. I find it hard to believe the stanza was actually “senseless” to you; I think you got everything I needed you to get. Maybe you’d go on to object that the syntax is too loose. To me, though, since poetry can be defined, in large part, as playing with language for artistic purposes, I delight in playing with syntax and find it can often create powerful effects. (Of course THAT’S an aesthetic judgment on my part, and I’d never object CATEGORICALLY to any disagreement you might register against it). But the big issue here is rhyme. And here we do have a categorical-reasoning problem. You both attack the rhyme in this poem based on a rigid assumption—namely, that rhyme must be exact. And you state this, astonishingly, as fact: “…[T]here are six couplets that don’t rhyme and so this is not an opinion…” Surely neither of you is unaware that there are a variety of approaches to rhyme in the world! Of course you know all about this! A few seconds of search took me to http://examples.yourdictionary.com/examples-of-rhyme.html , which lists 19 different kinds, including near rhyme, which is what I was using. You may not agree that all 19 are actually forms of rhyme—and of course you can reject them any or all of them on the basis of your own aesthetic opinion. What you CAN’T do is pretend they don’t exist—or ignore the fact that so many poets use them, including luminaries like Yeats and Dickinson. That’s just unreasonable. And it suggests you have an ax to grind. But don’t get me wrong—I don’t mean to disparage having an ax to grind! As I said, you’re both clearly committed to that noble quest for the highest expression in poetry. I’m just surprised that you’d try to win your point by mere declaration. You can tell me my poem fails, even that it stinks—no problem. But you can’t tell me that it “isn’t up to the standard of polished craft” when what you really mean is that I didn’t use the only rhyming technique you approve of. I didn’t set out to write like Alexander Pope; you can’t then fault me for failing to do so. (By the way, I’m a huge Pope fan). You could call me a “dabbler” for OTHER reasons, and I couldn’t argue against that accusation in any categorical way. But I CAN reject the accusation as unfounded when it’s based only on a normal prosodic difference of opinion—in fact, I have to. It’s a logical error. In a word, you’re criticizing my poem on the basis of craft standards, when in fact this is a natural disagreement concerning technique. That’s a pretty big difference. If you admitted that poets can legitimately use forms besides exact rhyme, I’d be all ears. We could then have a conversation about whether or not I pulled it off. But what you’re asserting now is a circular argument: “This poem shows bad craft.” “Why?” “Because it doesn’t have exact rhyme.” “What’s wrong with not using exact rhyme?” “It’s bad craft.” But I also think this question is important because you’re suggesting something about artistic form that never really existed and never can. I’m sure you wouldn’t dismiss the sonnet as illegitimate or somehow not an example of “formal poetry.” But we all know that Shakespeare made further development to the Petrarchan sonnet after it made its way to England. This is only one example of thousands. I’m not defending willy-nilly experimentation; I think leading-edge artists are fittingly called the “avant garde” because the vast majority of them “die in battle,” i.e. produce bad art. But it’s fallacious to assume that a work of art is bad purely because its form is innovative or different. And artistic forms evolve whether we want them to or not; ask any historian. A rigid view of “formal poetry” is similar to the logical problems with “Make America Great Again”: Which America, when? Things change. Don’t get me wrong; I believe in transcendence, in deep forms of essentialism, etc. I’m no relativist. But I also have a sense of history, and I know that those who become too rigid in their devotion to particular forms become something like the character Yeats wrote about in “Easter 1916”: “Minute by minute they live; the stone’s in the midst of all.” Devotion to form is a beautiful, fructifying thing—I’ve dedicated my life to that devotion, and I salute you for doing the same! Frost knew what he was talking about when he said that poetry without form is “like playing tennis without a net.” But that devotion can morph into fetishization. And then what happens to art? Ironically, form begins to overwhelm content. What should be a means becomes an end. What should be a seamless partnership becomes a one-sided domination. I love your line, Evan M.: “My editorial outlook is that classical poetry or formal poetry is in a stage of rebirth and the spirit should necessarily be an open one, as a matter of pure awareness and growth.” You’re clearly thinking like Shakespeare did. One of my most fundamental artistic principles comes from Basho. He of course was to Japanese literature what Shakespeare was to English. And he achieved this in part by reinvigorating a rather indifferent form in a way that took it to the heights. Haiku has traditionally been conceived in what we have to call a “rigid” way—we see this in something as simple as the 5-7-5 format, not to mention features like the kigo. But even the great Basho sometimes wrote haiku or renga stanzas with more or fewer than exactly 17 syllables. In that small example, we can see that he followed his own profound advice: “Do not follow in the footsteps of the great masters. Seek what they sought.” Nice talking to you! Tim Reply E. V. May 20, 2018 I followed the link to your FB page and read your perspective on the defense of your poems’ merits. I’m impressed with your literary skill and (if I lived on the other side of the country), would want to take your class(es). Even within the realm of formal poetry, diversity of opinions exist. Thank you for your insight. Reply Tim J. Myers May 20, 2018 That’s so very kind of you, E.V.! I appreciate it, and like I say, not just for ego-preservation purposes. I love form, and I hate to see it in chains! Best, Tim Joe Tessitore May 20, 2018 The criticisms we offered you were valid. The fact that you chose not to address them confirms their validity. For a university lecturer to imply that grammar, rhyme, and meter are chains is astonishing. Reply Tim J. Myers May 21, 2018 Ah, Joe! I point out an example of circular reasoning, and you reply with a new example of circular reasoning. You’re actually suggesting that if someone disagrees with an assertion, THAT proves the assertion? And you’re willfully misinterpreting my line about “chains.” I wrote “…to see it in chains.” That’s like saying, “I’d hate to see America under tyranny.” You see the difference, right? It’s really not fair to misrepresent my views so violently. I LOVE grammar, rhyme, and meter! But the thing about circular reasoning and willful misrepresentation is that, however I may want to continue this discussion, you’re determined not to let me. If you change your approach, though, I’m happy to continue! Best, Tim Reply Joe Tessitore May 21, 2018 I missed where you pointed out an example of circular reasoning. You can go as far afield with this as you like and suggest whatever shortcomings in me as you will. I’m staying on the planet and sticking with the issues. “Tulip Tree …” is a poorly written and poorly rhymed poem for the reasons stated . Since you haven’t addressed them and chose to make it personal I’m no longer interested in anything you have to say. Lew Icarus Bede May 21, 2018 1. Thanks to Mr. Myers for his lively debate, and his informative link. 2. On the rhymes in Myer’s “Tulip Tree in Bloom, January”: a. pass/grass: exact; b. appears/year: partial; c. strong/on: assonantal; d. gray/day: exact; e. sight/light: exact; f. lusterless/bus: near rhyme; g. out/about: masculine; h. winter/dissenter; syllabic; i. crossed/loss: partial; j. branch/trance: partial; k. press/ aquiesce: masculine; l. thing/spring: exact. 3. Mr. Myer’s aural presence is nice; he handles rhyme adeptly. His rhymes are ordinary; he does not indulge in most of the 19 listed types of rhymes in his link. 4. Mr. Myer’s mentions he is a fan of Neoclassicist Alexander Pope, who indulged in sight rhymes. 5. Take just the first section of Yeats’ “Easter, 1916”, which Mr. Myer’s quotes from. “I have met them at close of day Coming with vivid faces From counter or desk among grey Eighteenth-century houses. I have passed with a nod of the head Or polite meaningless words, Or have lingered awhile and have said Polite meaningless words, And though before I had done Of a mocking tale or a gibe To please a companion Around the fire at the club, Being certain that they and I But lived where motley is worn, All changed, changed utterly: A terrible beauty is born.” 6. Here Yeats uses a subdued, relaxed anapestic trimetre with alternating rhymes, some exact, but many not. He even purposefully indulges in an identical rhyme. So, though while his metre and rhymes vacillate, at the final line of the section, he hits with his memorable, alliterative, exactly-metrical and rhymed line” “A terrible beauty is born.” Now I am not as much of a fan of Yeats, as many here @ SCP claim they are, but it is fairly easy to see that it is the play (to use Mr. Myer’s meaning here) of inexact and exact rhymes and metre that makes the poem memorable. 7. Sometimes, and this is what Emily Dickinson is so good at, the purposeful break of any kind of rhyme, throws the power of dissonance into a work. Forgive another unpublished poem from two years ago, but this shows “exactly” what I mean. Easter 2016 by Waseel Budecir The ceremony everywhere of innocence is drowned, and gruesome wickedness continues at the kids’ playground. Close by a children’s swing set at Gulshan-e-Iqbal Park, on Easter Sunday in Lahore, east Pakistan, near cars, a member of the Taliban, unleashed his bomb device… o, many women died, o, many kids were sacrificed. His target was the Christians celebrating Easter day, the flames so high above the trees, the bodies borne away; stampeding chaos following, in mad rush to escape: a horrid ugliness has shown its wretched face again. 8. Now let us return to Mr. Myer’s poem. Notice the dissonance throughout “Tulip Tree in Bloom, January”. Something is off. The tulip tree is blooming in winter, just when one thinks it couldn’t, or wouldn’t, or shouldn’t. But there it is. And then notice the transition from the fourth stanza to the fifth, where he even uses a syllabic rhyme, but purposefully here (though others @ SCP indulge more randomly) and leaves the stanza up in air, without much of a pause at all; because something isn’t quite right, and hence the violation in stanza, metre and rhyme supports the meaning of the poem. Here is this tree blooming and at the wrong time, and that is memorable. QED Reply Tim J. Myers May 21, 2018 Dear Lew: At the risk of seeming self-serving, let me just say that I loved your detailed, highly specific analysis of those rhymes, and I’m in awe of your obvious depth of knowledge here, not to mention your analytical ability. I’m always delighted, naturally, if someone likes one of my poems. But that’s not what I’m thanking you for (though I’m very grateful for it!). I’m thanking you for all the light you’ve shone on the question of rhyme and formal poetry. THIS is the level of detail and background knowledge that, it seems to me, such issues require. Again, thank you! Reply Tim J. Myers May 21, 2018 And in reply to Joe, above: I understand, Joe, and of course won’t bother you further. But one last question: You didn’t consider it “personal” when you accused me, someone who’s dedicated his life to poetry, of having absolutely no craft? Wouldn’t a person like that HAVE to be either an idiot or a poser, or both? Let’s not pretend that wasn’t personal, even if only by implication. In fact, I showed you a great deal of respect, a respect I actually feel. Reply Joe Tessitore May 21, 2018 Point taken. Early on I said that Evan may be trying to do for you what he did and continues to do for me. I was remiss in not saying that yours was a charming message and I apologize for that. I called my wife to read your poem as soon as I read it. I can get over-zealous when it comes to poetry and particularly when it comes to this page. I apologize to you for that as well. Reply Joe Tessitore May 22, 2018 Ps. You are OBVIOUSLY a very accomplished writer and a very accomplished poet. Do not let an idiot like me make you doubt that for a moment. Tim J. Myers May 22, 2018 Joe, that is so gracious and generous of you! And please forgive me–it seems I read more into your original critique than you intended, and that was my fault! Like I say, your enormous devotion to poetry is obvious, and some zeal is only natural. It’s kind of funny too, when you think of it: Some of the strongest disagreements come when people are actually unified by dedication to a particular ideal–so what seems to be pure contention is actually more of a “family quarrel.” And family quarrels don’t stop families from being families. I’m especially moved that you shared the poem with your wife! Thank you for that, and for the kind words! 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