The Left Bank – Revisited

One of the things I love most about WordPress is the sense of being in this writing malarkey together. We’re all working on trying to find the best way to express an idea, find the words that work for us, the aha! moment. It’s trial and error and trust in others reading and commenting in such a way that keeps us going. It’s supportive, constructive and, blessedly, a willingness to share.

Earlier today I read a poem by one of my favourites here and he asked for input on his work. I’ve been burnt once before elsewhere in doing that – even although it was invited – and became reluctant to comment at all at that particular blog. I figured our poems and writings are a bit like our children. We can criticise them all we want but dare anyone else! I get that. I slag my own kids off all the time but I’d defend them to the death in the face of others’ remarks.

It’s refreshing to find once more someone who is actively seeking genuine feedback and, like the true gent he is, insisted on crediting my tweaks.

I’m slightly mortified to tell the truth because I can’t even help the teacher in me but I’m no poetry teacher for sure.

Simon’s poem was already full of the sense of a Paris morning, awakening after a night of love. I just couldn’t help getting my pen out when it was invited!

Please leave any comments at Experimental Fiction. It’s not my poem. I’m just a cheeky teacher with a penchant for jumping in when invited. 🙂

Experimental Fiction

One of the people I am lucky enough to have following my blog has been kind enough to improve my recent poem “The Left Bank”. And I say that with no malice or sarcasm! She has captured the essence of the poem completely, but made the language far cleaner and far more elegant. My version is what happens when you do something with half a mind, and not completely focused on what it should be. Anyway, please visit her rather splendid blog Scottish Momus because she has an absolute treasure trove of poems and other delights. I hope you like this one as much as I do.

Scent of coffee, sounded horns,
Yellow light on skin,
Dawning day in tired room,
Paris life began,
Sleepy eyes consumed your form,
Body made for sin,
That summer morn revealed its bloom
While passing buskers sang.

Iron frame, its shadows cast,
Dark, old-fashioned…

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9 thoughts on “The Left Bank – Revisited”

    1. This isn’t actually one of mine – just working with another blogger on techniques. I enjoyed your poem and I now have ‘a ship called Dignity’ playing in my head but I don’t mind as it’s a great song. Thanks for the follow and welcome. I found you through OM too. What a man for sharing. 🙂

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      1. Agreed. He is generous to a fault. No idea why the troll he picked up. Thanks by the way we will be following closely your posts. If you have ideas for my technique I’d love to hear them. English is my fourth language. I sometimes struggle with my words.

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      2. I’m so impressed you know so many languages and can sign in them. My signing consists of the alphabet and a few phrases, taught by my dad years ago because he said everyone should know how to get by. I rarely have opportunity to use and would have to spell out just about every word(!) but I have passed it on to my own kids and my school kids. I think it’s amazing you have taught yourself so much in so many languages.

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      3. Oh I had ample support. Without my parents as my support system I’d not be who I am today. They instilled in me a love of language and education just as you are instilling in your children the same. 🙂 big hugs

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  1. I used to teach fiction writing and I worked as an editor, so I got to watch lots of people react to criticism. Some took it and ran with it, and they were amazing. Others –well, maybe they moved a comma around. Some fell off the radar entirely. It’s hard to look at our own work and accept that someone else can see what we can’t in it and that maybe we should listen to them. When it’s my own work, I sometimes struggle to listen to what people tell me, but I do listen.

    For what it’s worth, I’ve also seen a few listen to criticism they shouldn’t have and lose what was best in a piece. It’s a tightrope act. You have to listen, but you can’t accept everything.

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    1. Quality advice in all, Ellen. Editing my own work is a nightmare – except for poetry. I slash away quite blithely till I get what I want from it but struggle to do the same with longer pieces of prose – still making a pig’s ear of last year’s Nano challenge. :/ I lack the distance from my own work till enough time has passed so that it doesn’t feel like my own. I’m beginning to fully appreciate the different skill and mind set between writing and editing. Our words are our babes, right enough, but I definitely value a good babysitter even while I know there are those who would never leave their charges to anyone else.
      Thankfully, Simon invited and welcomed contribution otherwise I wouldn’t have dared.
      Those are tough jobs you describe when people can be so averse to constructive criticism, given their reactions. A tightrope for sure.

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  2. Criticism is hard to give and take, so I try to avoid it. One of the things I like about WP is that it tends to be a safe place to be oneself, for the most part. There are some very sensitive people here and I make it my mission to avoid hurting them. We get so much blowback from thoughtless people in real life that it seems we need a place to relax and not fear being wounded. But, when someone asks for help it is good that competent and skilled, considerate people like you Anne-Marie, are here to give them honesty and diplomacy in your usual gentle, thoughtful way. That said, poetry to me is about the spaces between the words and the images evoked in our imaginations, so I take all of it as being perfect, as is.

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    1. I completely agree with you, Beth. No one comes here to be offended and if there is a risk of that at all I’d rather keep my peace than say anything. As in life. Well, except with my kids. I give them hell. 😉

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