San Francisco from Twin Peaks 1981 Photo by the Poet‘San Francisco’ by James A. Tweedie (Part 1 in a Sonnet Series) The Society May 24, 2020 Beauty, Culture, Poetry 45 Comments Download [93.65 KB] NOTE: The Society considers this page, where your poetry resides, to be your residence as well, where you may invite family, friends, and others to visit. Feel free to treat this page as your home and remove anyone here who disrespects you. Simply send an email to email@example.com. Put “Remove Comment” in the subject line and list which comments you would like removed. The Society does not endorse any views expressed in individual poems or comments and reserves the right to remove any comments to maintain the decorum of this website and the integrity of the Society. Please see our Comments Policy here. 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) 45 Responses Susan Jarvis Bryant May 24, 2020 Firstly, the poem in both forms is admirable. It’s full of engaging imagery, especially the “cat-feet fog”, which brings to mind both T.S. Eliot and Carl Sandburg. I also like the “Alcatraz plays peek-a-boo” image. I love the fact you’ve used the two forms. I arranged a sonnet I wrote for my late grandfather in free verse for the simple reason that I thought the strict form detracted from the emotion I wanted to convey, and it worked. In this case, I like each form equally but for very different reasons. The strict form version showcases the craft of the poem and highlights the excellent use of end rhymes. I especially like peek/mystique. And, of course, I am a fan of this form. The freeform version offers another angle into the craft. The line breaks work to full effect here, especially when read out loud. The line-end pauses allow concentration and emphasis in different areas of the poem. I also like the way the internal rhyme is showcased – peek-a-boo/moo brings to life the harbor noises much more vividly. I also like the intrigue of the shape. One question. Have you ever considered dropping the punctuation on the free verse version? I sometimes like to use line breaks as a natural pause for purely aesthetic reasons. What a great start to my Sunday morning. Thank you, Mr. Tweedie. Reply James A. Tweedie May 24, 2020 Thank you, Susan. As for punctuations, I usually omit them in free formats except when I think them necessary to preserve the sense of the thing. I agree that the free-form version of this poem would be improved if they were removed. Leaving them in appears to have been an oversight on my part. Reply Mike Bryant May 24, 2020 James T, I’ve been to San Francisco and you have captured the feel of my memories perfectly in both forms. I love your open mindedness and innovation. Somehow I’ve missed the religious and political connotations. You’re definitely a sonneteer. Reply Joe Tessitore May 24, 2020 My sword unsheathed, I fall upon it And die for my beloved sonnet. Reply Mike Bryant May 24, 2020 Love the couplet… now you need only twelve more lines! Then you’ll have another tetrameter sonnet to add to the collection! Joseph S. Salemi May 24, 2020 Your sonnet “San Francisco” in the proper sonnet formatting is truly excellent. The rhymes are perfect, the metrics are precise, the diction is sophisticated, and the meaning is as clear as a bell. Why spoil it? The “free verse” version only proves one thing — that modernism is a destructive and anti-cultural poison. I don’t say this in any spirit of polemics or controversy, but simply to point out what seems (to me at least) to be a glaringly obvious fact. I realize that you are attempting to showcase the differing styles of formal and free verse, and explore the ways in which the two aesthetic approaches work. But the larger issue is this: modernism is the enemy. If you were printing these two parallel versions of the poem as a way to show how deeply inferior the free-verse approach is to the traditional one, I could understand that. But it seems to me that you are doing this as a way to indicate that some kind of equality and commensurate value inheres in the two forms, and that they are both commendable and acceptable ways to write. If that were true, then there is no reason for the SCP to exist. If the free-verse version is just another liberal “peace-offering’ to the enemy, you’re wasting your time. The poetry establishment hates us with a passion, and their hate will not be palliated by such gestures. And if formal and free verse poetry are equally acceptable styles, then why are we here at all? Reply Joe Tessitore May 24, 2020 I’ve read the same about the deconstructionists – Picasso in particular. Reply Susan Jarvis Bryant May 24, 2020 Dr. Salemi, Your learned opinion has unsettled me somewhat, and I would like to respond. I am hoping to find some peace and clarity surrounding my passionate relationship with poetry. Firstly, I would like to say I respect and appreciate every word, and especially agree with your opening paragraph on Mr. Tweedie’s admirably crafted sonnet, right down to the “Why spoil it?” question. I agree that if one has taken the time and trouble to write a beautiful sonnet, why on earth would they chop it up and serve it in free verse for a different effect? I certainly wouldn’t be able to tell Mr. Tweedie’s free verse example was originally a sonnet without being told. Therein lies the shame of it – all that hard work on the sonnet is lost. But, I do feel there is a place for free verse. I like the conversational setting. I like the line breaks and the freedom it offers to add emphasis to certain aspects of the poem’s point. I like the way it can fade in and out of rhyme with a subtlety that doesn’t detract from the subject matter. I like its inviting shape and easy accessibility – and sometimes, I want beautiful, lyrical language in little vignettes that are free of formal constraint. Of course, formal poetry can be accessible. I always try to take that route. A little background here. I was born in the U.K. and I graduated from your equivalent of High School in 1982 with the opportunity to go to university – still a pretty rare thing in those days. The exams I took in Language and Literature were classical. I went on to gain a BA (Hons) in English Literature as a mature student in 2008, and WOW, what a change. Colonialism and feminism reigned supreme. It killed Shakespeare for me. I have always had huge respect for classical poetry and have written rhymed and metered poetry since the age of six. I did, however, come to respect modern varieties of poetry due to this unorthodox education, which I feel gave me a finer eye and an instinct for what I wanted from classic poetry. I feel my writing has benefited… but, maybe not. My Sunday morning shock is your observation that “it seems to me that you are doing this as a way to indicate that some kind of equality and commensurate value inheres in the two forms…” may be a wake-up call. I felt the only way I could get some of my formal works noticed was to do just that – convert them to freeform. How sad! It makes me want to look at all my favorite modernist poets and see if they’ve chopped up a sonnet. Reply Joseph S. Salemi May 24, 2020 Dear Mrs. Bryant — As in many matters, it is a question of personal taste. I don’t hate all free verse, since the works of Eliot, Pound, Crane, and Stevens contain a number of brilliant things, and I certainly can appreciate them. Modernism is the enemy, but even one’s enemies can produce good things at times. As a matter of fact, I wrote free verse for close to twenty years in my youth — wasted years, from my perspective now — so I think I can speak from experience on both styles of writing. I recognize that free verse allows for certain moods and revelations and juxtapositions that are much harder to do in formal verse. And if some people prefer that, well… de gustibus non est disputandum. But my main point in my post was not to argue questions of taste or preference, but to raise a strategic, or tactical, or political question: What are we here for, and what is our position vis a vis our sworn enemies and antagonists? I respect Mr. Tweedie as a man of good conscience, decency, and poetic skill. But he is at heart a sentimental liberal, dedicated to harmony, peace, brotherhood, bridge-building, handshaking, compromise, and all the other code-words of cultural surrender to the enemies of Western culture. I saw his deliberate wrecking of his excellent sonnet therefore as not an act of aesthetic practice, but of sending out a political peace-feeler to the enemy. And as all history teaches, an overwhelmingly strong enemy does not pay attention to peace-feelers. Maybe I’m paranoid, but I’m also old, as Joseph MacKenzie has pointed out. I’ve seen quite a bit in the po-biz world, and the outside world as well. And I have learned this: Once sentimental liberals with an ingrained sense of moralistic piety start to “reach out” to the other side, that’s the thin edge of the wedge. If we start allowing free-verse to appear here at the SCP, and start defending it, I guarantee that in six months this place will be overrun by the enemy. Now I’m pretty sure that Mr. Mantyk won’t let that happen. But I’m raising a red warning flag anyway, because I have seen too many times how the thin edge of the wedge manages to break open the entire door. Mike Bryant May 24, 2020 Having read everything here I know Joe S. is correct that this site was created to bring classical poetry into the 21st century. The mission statement makes that quite clear. Also the motto, “Rhyming, rhythmic and rapturous” makes it clear. I think we’ve kept the mission statement and we’re well on the way to fulfilling the promise of the motto. I know that this site will continue to be tremendous as long as we live up to those statements of belief. For this site to really thrive we have to bring all the beauty of the classics into all the positive values that the majority of people have. We have to bring all right thinking people together around rhyming, rhythmic, rapturous poetry. When someone is published by Evan, we absolutely must welcome each of them and encourage them. Rudeness and condescension must be discouraged by Evan and each of us. This discussion is a model, so far, for that type of interaction. Susan and I have friends that are poets that we have not invited because we don’t want them to be treated, frankly, as we have been. The thread after ‘The Watchskulls of Erringtide” is worthy of a doctoral study in Narcissism and how to combat it. The recent poem, “Bereaved” illustrates how badly Mr. Kemper was treated. Dr. Salemi has a knack for treating people exactly right, probably because he’s a teacher/professor… I know that I’m not exactly the easiest person to get along with but I only counterattack. We’re all adults and we should all be treated as adults. I also agree that we cannot make any kind of peace with those who wish to destroy this country, our constitution and our freedoms. I’m done. Mike Bryant May 24, 2020 JCM, I better be careful. Please don’t make my head spin oh mighty daemonium rex. James A. Tweedie May 24, 2020 Mr. Salemi, Having been challenged, I shall pick up the gauntlet and offer my response. Form and content are two very different things, and, unless you have sold your soul in full embrace of Marshall McLuhan’s ridiculous assertion that “the media is the message,” you will agree with me on this. I am, in fact, happy to affirm my belief that both formal and free verse poetry are equally acceptable styles. Just as I am happy to affirm that classical music, jazz, rock and roll, and the vast array of ethno/cultural folk music (such as Klezmer) are equally acceptable forms of music, each serving a purpose unique to itself. Does Itzhak Perlman debase himself when he switches from classical music to Klezmer? Are the Hebrew Psalms to be rejected because they do not follow the prescribed forms of 16th, 17th, & 18th century English poetry? Is Homer to be rejected because he neither rhymes nor utilizes iambic pentameter? Is there a moral value to be discerned in the rhymic beat of a person’s speech? Is the spiritual truth expressed in the Authorized (“King James”) Version of the Bible superior to that found in the Douay English translation of the Latin Vulgate because the one flows more “poetically” than the other? As I said earlier, form and content are two entirely different things. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. made the same point when he said, “I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin, but by the content of their character.” Just as a sonnet form can express modernist, Marxist, or pornographic content, so also can a free-form poem express faith, hope, and love alongside truth and beauty. If someone thinks that the only way to engage 21st-century Western culture is by eschewing AK-47s in favor of 16th-century matchlocks, then they might as well change their name to Miniver Cheevy and throw in the towel. The argument that one cannot embrace both formal and free-form poetry because the one makes him a Modernist and the other makes him a Traditionalist (whatever that means) is, for me at least, unpersuasive. If this leads to a “Mexican standoff,” then so be it. I will not be the first to blink. Reply Joseph S. Salemi May 24, 2020 I’m not challenging you, Mr. Tweedie. I’m simply raising what I consider some pertinent points. Form and content are certainly not the same thing. But “formal verse” is the name of the game here, and we are attempting to resuscitate the tradition of formal verse in English. Formal verse and free verse both may indeed be “acceptable” styles in the eyes if the world at large, but they are not equally acceptable here. And the Hebrew psalms in the original do follow the traditional rules of Hebrew verse composition, which of course are not the same as ours. Homer uses dactylic hexameter, which was the standard verse form for epic in his day. And what the devil do the various translations of the Bible (King James, Douay, or the Latin Vulgate) have to do with anything being argued here? You seem to be very anxious to separate form and content, and your words clearly suggest that you think content is the crucial thing about any text, and that therefore if the content is acceptable to you, the form is a matter of choice and expedience. But that is NOT THE CASE here at the SCP. We are deliberately privileging traditional English form over the lack of form practiced by our enemies. We are not here to make friends, but to defend a position. Yes, a form like the sonnet can express any kind of content at all. There can be Communist sonnets (Pablo Neruda) Fascist sonnets Gabriele D’Annunzio) pornographic sonnets (Pietro Aretino), anticlerical sonnets (Gioacchino Belli), or bisexual sonnets (Shakespeare in some places). So what? What does that prove? The FORM is the key, not what is being said. In my magazine TRINACRIA I have never censored the content of any poem, as long as it adhered to the rules of proper English formal poetry. I don’t care if what the poet says is true, false, obscene, vicious, impious, or obnoxious. I just want sterling English verse. I have lost a number of tight-assed conservative and religious readers as a result. We are not “engaging 21st century Western culture” here. No such thing exists anymore. We are engaging the pre-existing culture of our past centuries, from times before the cultural pourriture set in! We nay write on contemporary subjects and topics, but our style hearkens back to our immortal traditions. It is the height of absurdity for you to bring up that Martin Luther King quote. What the bloody hell does that have to do with anything concerning aesthetics or poetic composition? Again, your sentimental liberalism is showing. James A. Tweedie May 24, 2020 1. I am amused by Mr. Salemi’s unrelenting attempts to marginalize my view of the world through his prescient stereotyping of my beliefs and motives. Although it would be easy for me to do the same in return, it would serve no purpose except to lower the conversation even further. 2. I created this post for no other reason than to demonstrate how the same words and thoughts communicate differently in differing formats. If Mr. MacKenzie and Mr. Salemi wish to continue to revisit the theological and political conflicts of the Reformation while critiquing a poem that makes no reference to anything related to that subject, then I must conclude that their criticisms are directed at me personally, rather than at my poetry. Since this reflects more on them than on me, I will let it go and allow my poetry to speak for itself and not be lured into a rehash of the Thirty-Years War. 3. I fully recognize that SCP is a site dedicated to formal and classical poetic forms. My support and enthusiasm for those forms and for the goals of the SCP are not, and should not be in question. 4. I expected a strong response to my post and thought long and hard as to whether the likelihood of ruffling people’s fur or raising their hackles was worth the risk. In the end, I decided it was and I do not regret it. 5. Having served its purpose, I will bring this experiment to an end and post the remaining sonnets in this series only in their classical, sonnet form. Reply Susan Jarvis Bryant May 24, 2020 Dr. Salemi & Mr. Tweedie, Thank you both very much for your honest, in depth and thoroughly engaging viewpoints. Strangely, I find myself in agreement with both of you. I have always gone about writing poetry in whatever form the mood has taken me with absolutely no thought of politics, unless I’m making a satirical statement on current affairs… until, now. I am sad to say that I know you are right, Dr. Salemi. I know this from personal experience. I’ve begun to worry about reactions to satirical posts. As you quite rightly pointed out on my “Triggered” villanelle, this is possibly the only site that would publish it. For that reason, I feel the site must maintain its integrity and adhere to its mission statement. I thoroughly appreciate that. I also appreciate your take on art, Mr. Tweedie. It aligns strongly with my own and I have always prided myself on having an open mind and broad view when it comes to poetry for the simple reason it allows me to indulge in my passion from every pleasurable aspect and angle. Sadly, I’ve come to realize that art is weaponized. While I will not let politics dictate my tastes, I am mindful that those with preferences not approved of by the current cognoscenti are shut out and down in the name of political correctness. I am grateful to all on this site who support my poetry and often controversial opinions – a rare value these days. Reply Joseph S. Salemi May 25, 2020 Mrs. Bryant, never worry about any satiric posts. The reactions of other people are not important. But I would mention that, from my experience here at the SCP, some persons are completely oblivious to sarcasm, irony, satire, and sardonic remarks. They simply have no way to understand them, and therefore take everything that is said at pure face value. For this reason they often take what one says as one’s actual opinion, rather than as a witty subterfuge. Reply Susan Jarvis Bryant May 25, 2020 This is very good advice indeed, Dr. Salemi. I always write poetry with no thought of the reader’s reaction… until it’s published and someone threatens to leave the site on my account. Your explanation for this reaction makes me feel I don’t have to defend the subject matter quite so vigorously, if at all – and that is a good thing. Thank you. Susan Jarvis Bryant May 24, 2020 Mr. MacKenzie, your insulting generalisations and stringent personal rules would ensure that you would be the only poet left on this site. I have a sneaky feeling that’s your plan. 🙂 Reply Mike Bryant May 24, 2020 That is hilarious, Susan. Reply Mike Bryant May 24, 2020 You don’t need a vaccine to kill members off – this sickening egotistical gloat will be enough to send anyone running as far away from this site as is possible. “It’s only the virtue-signaling snowflakes and their hypocritical, Victorian daintiness that people can’t stand in this venue. Most readers can’t wait for a Salemi or a MacKenzie post to show up. Mr. Mantyk can tell you that the degree of interest in this venue, to speak of sheer numbers of comments, increases with my participation.” I think it’s absolutely hilarious that you think you’re on a par with Dr. Salemi. This Narcissistic gush of self importance should come with a health warning. Reply Mike Bryant May 24, 2020 Speaking of conspiracy theories, the internet is brimming with funny stories about you. They say you changed your name, created your own press releases filled with self-aggrandizing lies and what’s the deal with the trans Mexican midget? Anyway… don’t worry because I don’t believe any of it. Reply C.B. Anderson May 24, 2020 It’s a strange thing, James, but having been forewarned, I tried to find the sonnet in the “free” version. I could not. Perhaps it’s because rhymes are hard to find when they don’t come at the end of a line. And I wondered, how many different ways could the poem have been rearranged? The problem for me with “free verse” (an oxymoron according to Lewis Turco) is that though it may be art of a sort, as all prose writing is, too much of the traditional craft is neglected and abandoned. The upshot is that, for me, the expectation of a sonnet made it difficult to tell how much different and in what way different the poem felt to me in its two renditions. I do know that I rarely read a “free verse” poem all the way through, because I am frustrated by the pseudo-structure evident in most examples Reply C.B. Anderson May 24, 2020 Susan, Neither you nor Mike should you knickers in a twist over what Mr. Mackenzie has to say. As he asserts over and over, these are just his humble opinions. If he seems not humble enough for you, that’s your problem. He has a certain style that some persons find abrasive, and I have a similar style. It could be due to our Scottish heritage — please recall that the thistle is an important Scottish emblem. So far I have not been the subject ofMacK’s animadversions. If that should happen someday, then sparks will likely fly, but I’m not afraid of sparks, and neither should anyone else be. By the way, when the CDC buys Evan out, I’ve been promised a seat on the Board. In the meantime, I wholeheartedly wish that someone would excoriate me for the deficiencies in the poems I post here. So far, only Monty has come close, on the matter of a worried/buried rhyme that was not quite perfect. Reply Susan Jarvis Bryant May 24, 2020 Firstly, my apologies to Mr. Tweedie for replying to C.B. There is indeed poetry in the middle of this and I have thoroughly enjoyed reading it and our exchanges on it. Secondly, C.B. if you think for one minute someone’s Scottish heritage and the word “humble” is an excuse for downright rudeness, you’re wrong. And as for the thistle, how laughable. My emblem is an English rose and the fact it has huge thorns doesn’t make me downright rude and insulting to nearly every poet on the site. Reply Mike Bryant May 24, 2020 I have done an internet search and can not locate these groups that are intent on demolishing the sonnet. Did you just make that up? Reply James A. Tweedie May 24, 2020 Somewhere in the middle of all this is a poem. Reply C.B. Anderson May 24, 2020 James, several poems, I should think; perhaps an epic. Joe Salemi is possibly the only person qualified to write such works. He has a very long view on such matters. You probably didn’t even know there was a war going on. Reply James A. Tweedie May 24, 2020 Ha! How could I not be aware of there being a war when people (who supposedly share the same love of formal/classical poetry) are so quick to unsheath their swords at start swinging at each other. As with you, when expressed in a civil manner, I welcome constructive, critical comments regarding my poetry. I believe that my meager skills as a poet have improved as a result of enfolding the knowledge and wisdom of others into my own. When, however, someone takes their sword and takes an unprovoked swipe at my personal faith, that is a different matter, entirely. While I do my best not to strike back in kind, I will dig in my heels, hold my ground, and do what I can to deflect the blows. As regards “the war” I believe you are referencing in your comment, for you to suggest that I “probably didn’t even know (it was) going on” is too condescending to merit a response. Mark F. Stone May 24, 2020 James, I have not been to San Francisco in about 18 years, and your sonnet makes me want to go back. I enjoyed the sonnet very much! Mark Reply James A. Tweedie May 24, 2020 Thank you, Mark. It is not exactly the same city I knew when I was growing up in (adjacent) Daly City (I could see the top of the towers of the Golden Gate Bridge from my bedroom window); years that included two summers employed in Chinatown and the Outer Mission District and six years of study at San Francisco State University. Even so, it is certainly one of the most beautifully situated cities in the world, with more than enough culture (both high and low) and sights to make a visit worthwhile. C.B. Anderson May 24, 2020 And yet you responded. And to Susan Jarvis Bryant: The difference between a rose and a thistle is the difference between a chipmunk and a wolverine. Each is entitled to its own cup of tea. You write so carefully, and you should read even more carefully. I don’t think I have quite written what you seem to have read. Dander and horse feathers! Reply Susan Jarvis Bryant May 24, 2020 With regard to Mr. Tweedie’s response, I hope everyone will respond each and every time you are condescending or downright rude. I am in full agreement with Mr. Tweedie’s take down. As far as your ridiculous comment to me is concerned, I have wrestled with a thistle patch and an English rose, and the English rose has left me with a four inch scar. BUT, this isn’t about gardening, but if it were, I’m astounded you’re not au fait with roses. This is all about CONDESCENSION AND RUDENESS, just as it was on the Watchskull’s thread. You seem to have learned nothing. I will NEVER drop this crusade against condescension and rudeness. EVER. You can gaslight, project, and stand up for those who are obviously in the wrong as much as you like. No rose or thistle analogy will EVER cover for inexcusable behaviour. You said; “I’m not afraid of sparks, and neither should anyone else be.” I’m sure as hell not. I’m certainly not afraid of sparks when it comes to poetry critiques OR rudeness. As I said before – constructive critism, YES – gratuitous rudeness and character assassination – NO. Get over yourself! Reply C.B. Anderson May 25, 2020 Susan, This is all about what you’ve made it all about. I don’t care about your four-inch scar, and I don’t care about your crusade. What I care about is the right of a person to criticize in whatever fashion that person chooses, regardless of how butt-hurt the “victim” might get. You’ve lived in Texas long enough to know that Victim Nation doesn’t fly in a free state. You can criticize my style or the style of anyone else who offends your sensibilities, but that don’t cut no mustard. In an alternate universe, what you call condescension and rudeness are called instruction and frankness. I have no need to defend Mr. MacKenzie, for he is quite able to defend himself (cela va sans dire). Your pretensions of a moral high ground carry no weight with those of us who serve no master but the truth, and dare to speak what we believe is true. Rudeness and condescension are artifacts constructed from your own inability to call a spade a spade. Oh, if only the universe were constructed of sweet dainties and kumbaya smoothies. Susan Jarvis Bryant May 26, 2020 CB, what a sly and wicked move. You well know that the thread of this argument has been removed. The only reason you’re replying to this comment of mine now instead of after it was written is because it sits here without any context. Mr. MacKenzie’s ill-mannered offerings and your blatant defense of them have been removed. The reason they were removed is because they’re offensive to everyone apart from you. And as for the truth, you’re skirting it and bending it to your own purpose now. Evan knows it, I know it, you know it, and everyone else who was following this thread knows it too. Shame on you! Mike Bryant May 26, 2020 CB, Everyone that has read this thread before the deletions and the Watchskulls thread knows exactly who you are. Talk about condescension, you embody it, you defend it and you revel in it. You are rude as well. And now you want to paint a picture of my wife as some pretentious idiot. She is not. You have gone too far. Cal Wes Ubideer May 25, 2020 1. First off, I find Mr. Tweedie’s sonnet a decent addition to those being promoted @ SCP, though I certainly disagree that there is “no form more representative of Western culture”. 2. L2, ironically, while being stuffed, seems hollow, though I do like the inclusion in poems, as in Longfellow’s “Midnight Ride of Paul Revere”, of data and facts. Like Ms. Bryant, I noted Sandburg in the “cat-feet fog”, and admired the simile “moo like brazen cows”. I also enjoyed the alliterative “free-fall cable cars”, which I relate to viscerally. 3. I enjoyed Mr. Tweedie’s “San Francisco” for several reasons. First, I do like poems of urban landscapes, even Carl Sandburg’s free verse “Chicago”. Second, it brought back memories of San Francisco. Third, it was interesting to see what he chose to include in his urban landscape, having written several San Francisco poemscapes as well. Fourth, I remember taking a class at the University of Maryland in the 1970s, on essay writing, in which I wrote one essay entirely in sonnets disguised as prose. Though the professor, not surprisingly, didn’t notice, I still felt it was a worthwhile experiment in the visual presentation of poetry. Though I’m not sure I could find it, I still recall that comparison-contrast paper on Emily and Gerard, whose famed identities were also not revealed, with satisfaction. 4. I think Mr. Tweedie’s sonnet shows a poet working to understand and explore his craft, and as such is fine, despite all the hot air against his beliefs. Reply James A. Tweedie May 25, 2020 Lol…”Stuffed” is a good description of L. 2. Indeed, I pictured it as a sausage link when I wrote it! Reply Peter Austin May 25, 2020 I very much like the sonnet in both its forms, though I prefer it unrearranged into free-form. Shakespeare found no need to this, leaving it to the reader to decide (and redecide) how best to read his sonnets aloud. In particular, the ‘And’ hanging stranded in stanza two seems irritating and unneeded. Reply James A. Tweedie May 25, 2020 Thank you, Peter. The word “and” is a strange bird both in poetry “and” in prose since it merely serves a functionary role joining two or more thoughts, none of which it belongs to. Reply C.B. Anderson May 27, 2020 Susan, You sound like a sour pickle. I had no idea that any comments were removed from this thread, and, if I understand the rules correctly, it could only have been done by Mr. Tweedie. My “rudeness” & “condescension” goes no deeper than the thinness of your skin. Freedom of speech — remember? Reply Mike Bryant May 27, 2020 Please see my comment of May 27 below… Reply James A. Tweedie May 29, 2020 C.B. I was not aware that any of your comments were removed. If they were, I did not make such a request. Reply Mike Bryant May 27, 2020 Your lies continue… Susan and I are not the only people that have a problem with you. Here are a couple of others and these are only the most recent: To C.B. on San Francisco thread “As regards “the war” I believe you are referencing in your comment, for you to suggest that I “probably didn’t even know (it was) going on” is too condescending to merit a response.” -James Tweedie To C.B. and JCM on Watchskulls thread “But you have taken it upon yourself to go beyond the duty of a critic, and speak to my character, on the basis of a single datapoint. In this you have made a mistake, if you can believe it. I can accept that a critic concludes that a work is an atrocity. Fine. It is less clear that a critic should become a judge of moral (!) failure. Would you have a man of substance never write anything but theses?” -Joe Spring Don’t piss on my leg and tell me it’s raining. Here’s one of MY many experiences with you: “Either magic/tragic or automatic/democratic would be perfect rhymes. Are you following this?… you can take good advice from someone who has looked deeply into the subject of rhyme, or you can stiffen your neck and learn nothing from this exchange.” -C.B. Anderson to Mike Bryant Stop with the condescension and insults. When you do that you won’t have to then act like you’re nice again, explain that your insults are perfectly acceptable, pretend that the target is the one that is crazy and then rinse and repeat ad nauseum. If that doesn’t work you leave the site for a while till things calm down, hoping people will forget because they usually do. Well, it ain’t working this time because I have an excellent memory. And LEAVE MY WIFE ALONE, DAMMIT!!! Reply C.B. Anderson June 2, 2020 I’ve never touched your wife, Mike. Nor will I ever. Reply Monty May 31, 2020 They say the camera never lies, James; but your above photo seems to be fibbing (at least to one as uninitiated as myself). I’ve never been to Frisco, but from a lifetime of seeing clips/images on TV, I’ve always been aware that it’s situated on a hill, and contains a significant slope from one end of town to the other. And yet your photo appears to show the city as being fairly flat! Is it the case that there IS a significant slope which the photo (maybe because of the angle) fails to capture? Or is it the case that the slope is NOT as significant as it appears on the TV? I for one am glad that you chose to demonstrate how a structured poem can appear when written in free verse. I make no secret of the fact that I always have and always will detest free verse with a vengeance. I’m not being unnecessarily or ignorantly dismissive; I just simply don’t recognise it as being poetry. Another in this thread has labelled it as “chopped-up prose”; no term could better describe my feelings for it . . and it’s for that very reason that I will never be able to recognise one who writes only free verse as being a poet. One who writes structured poetry and occasionally dabbles in free verse . . a poet. One who writes strictly only free verse . . a writer. Hence, the reason why I’m glad of your demonstration is because it perfectly exposes, to me, how your structured poem was annihilated when transmuted to free verse. For example, I can and will never understand the sheer pointlessness and disorder of a line containing only one word. To me, that’s nothing short of injurious: criminal even, in the sense of how easily it can disturb the reader’s flow. It’s a total distraction. My question to any writers of free verse will always remain the same: ‘Why don’t you simply write the piece in prose? It IS prose, so why don’t you write it as such?’ I hope you don’t feel that I’m denigrating you personally for submitting the above piece: I’m not. It was an interesting comparison you made, which provoked the necessary thought and debate in the form of comments. And what’s more, you had every right to do so. You’re recognised by all at the SCP as being a proven accomplished poet, and if you sometimes choose – maybe out of innocent curiosity – to write in free verse . . you’ve earnt the right to do so. p.s. I was glad to notice on these pages, a few weeks back, that you received a full and deserved apology for the unnecessary attack to which you were subjected at that time. I found it particularly sickening that one who – earlier in that same thread – had propagated the use of free speech, then chose to attack you for your own.. free speech! ‘Twas that very audacity which prompted the comment I made in your defence at the time; a comment which was subsequently deemed – either of Mr Mantyk’s own volition, or at the instigation of the others involved – to be sufficent for me to be temporarily banned from the SCP! Yeah, banned (until last week) for trying to defend you! And yet, during the whole time of my ban, all I saw on these pages (and am still seeing) was virulent conflict. Much of this, of course, has come from the tortured Kenzy, whose unfortunate return to these pages has been filled with his constant, hateful remarks towards everyone who’s dared to submit a poem to the SCP. But some has come from those same people who have the misfortune to believe that they’re personally at “war”; and has led to yet more personal attacks on you, due to their perception of you as not being involved in their war. It’s such a glaring anomaly. The very traits which they accuse you of – easy-going; live and let live; neutrality; the ability not to get involved in petty mud-slinging; the contentedness which comes with having a clear head, untarnished by thoughts of being in a war – are the very traits for which any human would and should normally be congratulated. And yet they hold those traits against you! It’s so puzzling. One wonders if they may secretly envy you for the space in your head: and the clarity of thought that such space affords. (If you never see my name again on these pages after today, you’ll know that I’ve been permanently banished for this further defence of your character.) 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