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Thread: Structured for reading aloud or viewing on page?

  1. #21
    Quote Originally Posted by andrewclunn View Post
    I mean the ellipsis is useful, but short of attaching a musical score, the timing and dynamics seem out of your hand.
    I'm never sure about the use of the ellipsis as it primarily implies missing words rather than a silent pause, even though the latter is the purpose for which I most use it in my prose, which is also my normal way of writing poetically because it fills the page better. After reading this thread I posted a revised version of my short poem Captives with stage directions and that shows that perhaps I should have included an ellipsis on the last line even though the poem itself doesn't demand it. It's presentational and the question here is whether that is a separate form of the piece.

    My stage directions also suggest a tempo, so evidently one does virtually need a musical score to state exactly how a piece is intended to be read. With only sixteen words in the poem it could end up with more Italian words than that in the score though. That's heavy, overweight in fact, but characteristic of very short poetry where much of the meaning is implicit.

    My angel and I were watching an episode of The Man From Uncle one night when I noticed that the actor who played Waverly, a rather wooden actor to my mind, stressed the wrong word in a sentence and as a result completely changed its interpretation. You know the sort of thing, something like "I wouldn't do that to you," where the stressed word is all important. There's actually a story about how that actor got the job. The chap in charge said, "Get rid of that man with the name starting with a 'K'," meaning David McCallum who played Illya Kuryakin, so they got rid of the original actor who played Waverly, whose real name did start with a 'K', and brought in Leo G. Carroll to replace him. This was a fortunate misunderstanding for David McCallum considering his later popularity in the series. So, getting back to the subject, maybe italics are pretty important in poetry as well.
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  2. #22
    Quote Originally Posted by Phil Istine View Post
    ...letting how a piece flows mirror the content...
    Aptly stated here, Phil.

  3. #23
    Quote Originally Posted by andrewclunn View Post
    Hmmm, now this brings up a follow up question. Assuming another person will be reading your poem out loud, how do you preserve the proper timing? I mean the ellipsis is useful, but short of attaching a musical score, the timing and dynamics seem out of your hand.
    Prosody. My favorite example of how to provide a tempo is Robert W. Service's, The Cremation of Sam McGee. And for a good intro to the power of word choice to to accomplish wha you're looking for, I recommend the excerpt from Stephen Fry's, The Ode Less Traveled, on Amazon. It has thoughts and observations useful for both structured poetry and other writing.
    Jay Greenstein
    My articles on writing.
    The goal isn't to tell the reader that the protagonist is terrified, it's to terrorize our reader.

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