View Full Version : Interleaved Contrasting Threads?

December 11th, 2015, 05:18 PM
Having played with a few poetry pieces with distinct threads, I want to write a longer poem with interleaved contrasting threads merging in conclusion. Kind of a yin and yang, good and bad, whatever, type of thing generally leading to balance.

Having a bit of trouble with it though, and wonder if anyone could point me at any examples of such I might study.

I've been playing with dark and light stanzas, but my attempts so far would be confusing to read.

December 11th, 2015, 08:31 PM
Wish I had a decent accredited poet's example to offer, but I'm drawing a blank.

I've done longer narrative sequences and one thing I've found that really helps is doing a number of smaller poems, viable in their own right, which read almost as chapters of the story.

I wonder if a similar tactic could work here, two helixes spiralling with contrasted points. Start off with the bite-sized chunks, see if they can support their own weight. If they do, add the next layer. Keep the pattern balanced, so the reader is familiar with both the light and the dark themes. Utilise foreshadowing, hint at the opposite and draw the reader deeper.

One of the beauties of forums like this is they offer the platforms that allow one to take the abstract concepts and put them into a linear construct. And from what you've described, it sounds like you need the linear, almost chronological overlay for this project.

- D. the T. of P.B.

December 11th, 2015, 11:19 PM
Thanks Darkin, you do understand what I want to do :-) Balance is a primary concern because it's literally the ending point of confluence, but hadn't thought about foreshadowing. Even pretty much have the two pieces to be employed, but can't seem to get off the ground with two starting points. Love your double helixes visualization. I can see doing this as like a colored visual artwork, but want it to work as formatted text for inclusion in a novella.

I'm hoping that with me not that widely read in poetry, someone here that is might know of some examples like this.


December 12th, 2015, 01:58 AM
LEE -- don't know if I'm on track here, but the Dramatic Monologue--esp. as wielded by The Master, Robert Browning--might be a form that would be an interesting practice mat for your quest. The DM, obviously, only ever has ONE speaker, but that speaker is constantly reacting to and responding to the unspoken 'messages' conveyed to him by his audience. Any DM has ONE 'truth', that of the speaker, but many of Browning's most notable speakers are monsters of the lowest kind, and everything they say is designed to justify themselves TO themselves and, of course, to their silent audience. The entire poem is a perverse exercise in striving for balance--structural balance within the poem and psychological balance between the speaker and his audience. Rarely is it achieved. Browning's THE RING AND THE BOOK (just in passing, it's the longest poem in the English language. Longer than PARADISE LOST by a few lines) presents 12 voices in 12 books, each persona examining and presenting THEIR perception of one event, a murder in 16th c. Venice. After reading it, you'll never again worry about Truth with that capital 'T'. It's an illusion. As perhaps our passionate defence and pursuit of 'balance' is an illusion available to us because the language produces the polarities that support it. Whoops! Now I'm REALLY getting off into left field. I'm not at all sure this post is going to be of any value to you at all;; minimally, it raises a question or two about 'balance' and why we seek it. Perhaps there's a bit of value in that?.

December 12th, 2015, 05:29 AM
Thank you clark. I looked at dramatic monologue sample poems (interesting as I wasn't all that familiar) and I see why you mention them, but that doesn't fit what I trying to do. Basically, I'm thinking of two narrators, as if e.g. yin and yang are each relating the same thing, but from differing perspectives. And, as with yin and yang, they are complementing each other's perspective until the perspectives merge bringing out the balance.

I once read a book that was presented as two different narrators, one seeing and one blind, in side by side columns — can't remember the title. I suppose I'll end up doing some such with varying indentation like a merging double helix (two swirling vortices of perspectives that balance in the end if you will). My clumsy attempts thus far aren't what the reader would get that impression from easily though.

I hope that helps describe what I'm trying to do better, though it may cause you to run from a seeming nut case :-) I'm not the brightest bulb in the room, and think someone else must have done something similar I could learn from.

December 12th, 2015, 10:37 AM
I've written two intertwined works. I believe I posted them both here (...listen to "The Girl from Ipanema" while I search...)




Maybe something in one of them might spark an idea of how to intertwine stuff.

December 14th, 2015, 01:02 AM
Hey LeeC..... I been cogitating on this problem a spell now and it finally come to me that what was snagging my progress was not the form itself-----how could that be? as folks have already pointed out, it's ancient and proved as Moses climbing a mountain, the first one I mean, the one where he eventually got the goods to straighten things out, not the second one where the old meany anglo god showed him a glimpse of the promised land where he'd never get to reside------------------ it come to me that the form was sound enough, providing a body could conjer up suitable voices that'd play in the contemporary mind-space without embarressin' them self. So anyways, with that there supposed insight, I found a couple visions that struck me as possibly helpful from a inspirin' sort of angle. Funny thing is, both of them's from the theater arts, and both of them use song to induce the viseral altitude for their heavy idea dose to work right. Sort of reminded me of you and your poem, I guess. The first (and I got to think the more potent albeit a kinda condensed nut to crack) is a segment in Ira Glass' This American Life radio broadcast. It's Act Two of Episode 379: Return To The Scene Of The Crime. Ira's setup is totally vital but the guy's such a crack-up. The link to it is http://www.thisamericanlife.org/radio-archives/episode/379/return-to-the-scene-of-the-crime which I'll try to liven up in a seperate reply since when I tried it the first time the WF bots tossed me on my ear and so here I am in notepad trying to recompose my lost self. ------------ The second example is a movie which actually has interleaved stories, one about the underground railroad and the other about the composer of Swing Low Sweet Chariot. It's called [I]Freedom and I saw it on Netflix streaming. Cinema mostly panned it but I'm calling them wrong; I sort of think it nails a murky middle which may be instant paranoia for all but the most enlightened high-brows.

So anyways, I'm carrying on here more'n's called for 'n probably to small avail so I'll just shut up now. pp