Neil Hester

All poems © Neil Hester unless otherwritten

Location: North Carolina, United States

Thursday, April 26, 2007

Linkin'; Hark

Or, perhaps, read, seeing as to how audio is notably absent:

First, Multi-(Tasking, Media, Directional) from Art. I've always considered the idea that pursuing multiple artforms is unwise to be rather silly; artforms often play off of one another, and talents in one can be applied to another (especially from visual~>visual and textual~>textual). Naturally, most people have a tendency towards a certain media, but the pursuit of other forms of expression strengthens one's ability in general; it does not hinder it.

Second, On Taste(s) and 'subjectivity'. from Jess (with a link to Anthony). I've always found it strange how difficult it is to explain the concept of clichés to some people. They argue that clichés are commonly used because of their effectiveness; this is wrong. Clichés are frequently utilized because they are obvious pairings or narratives; in short, descriptions for the lazy. Don't tell me the night is dark, the sun is bright, or the grass is green; to me, the most annoying sort of cliché is the sort that tells something that is assumed to be true unless otherwise noted. Bad enjambment is also aggravating and heavily pervades poetry; I'll not expand (for the time being).

(See Addendum)

Finally, bits & bits & bits from Anthony, with a link to Jess (we do work to promote each other, don't we?); he touches on a Yeats post by Jess (I ought to read more Yeats), a trip back to a post on Frankenstein (I ought to read Frankenstein), and a sonnet by Neil (I ought to re... never mind that). I told you we promote each other.

LAEvaside: Four separate parentheses in one sentence; impressive, ain't it? [/laevaside]

Anyhow, read, reply, be happy. Oh, and remember to floss.

Take Care,


Addendum: It has come to my attention that my examples of cliché are a bit weak. I will leave them as they were, but here are better examples, in context:


The beautiful girl wept bitter tears in the darkness of the night; her eternal love was forever lost to death and suffering. Suddenly, the sun shone brightly, firing the girl's lost soul and mending her broken heart.


I'm proud of myself for stringing together that many clichés. All right!

Thursday, April 19, 2007

TAKS- Tertiary Abomination of Kayaks and Snails

Well, close; actually, it's the Texas Assessment of Knowledge and Skills, a series of state-given tests students from 2nd-11th grade are taking right now, if I'm not mistakened. I'm going to point out some of the problems with this test right now, since I'm in the thick of:

  • The TAKS test covers a very rigid curriculum; this leaves little room for deviation on the teacher's part and therefore cuts into their style and often disallows them to teach what and how they would like to.
  • The English/Writing test features three Short Answer questions and one Essay. These are then graded by hundreds of different teachers; subjectivity is an obvious and severe problem. Also, the writing (Short Answers in particular) can only deviate from the "proper" method taught so much before they dock your score; the quality of the actual writing isn't necessarily the primary concern.
  • While a minor issue (due to its infrequent occurrence), problems can occasionally be vague and difficult to understand (note: a muddled question is notably different from a complex question; the issue at hand is unclear language).
  • While perhaps more of an observation or preference than a flaw, the questions vary wildly in difficulty with no discernible pattern, in contrast to the easy~~>hard situation (and smaller range of difficulty) of the PSAT, which is preferred. Having a 6th grade question followed by a 12th grade question is a tad bizarre.

I'd say that's a good summation of the issues at hand; the first two are the big ones, really. Fortunately, change might be golden, should it actually occur and improve upon the current system. Enough about that, though; either lead to graduation in the end, so hey~ I suppose I'm just concerned about education, whether or not I'm in the area/range of effect.

Last note: an interesting article on Japan's energy conservation. The U.S. is incapable of such efficiency for various reasons (e.g. size and culture), but even meeting Japan (or the E.U., at this rate) halfway would be nice.

Take Care,

Thursday, April 12, 2007

Falling Back On Sonnetry

Busy. Or, perhaps, merely tired am I, pushing through the dregs of the school year. The momentum gathered from the previous summer has more or less faded. Anyhow, for tonight, let's just feature three sonnets: first, Mr. Schneider...


Siamese Reflection

By Dan Schneider


Linked because I don't think the formatting will work in the smaller margins of the blog. Now, Mrs. Schneider...


In the Tightness of my Sonnet

By Jessica Schneider


Linked because you should read the commentary below the poem. Next, Mr. and Mrs. Deering...


Mr. and Mrs. Deering

Each night, my time, all you.               These years, longing, too true.
These years, and still, so sad.               Long times, nothing. To add,
                            What if you had, what if you had?
                            What if you knew, knew how
We flew. The stars, the town                The blue, the blue, up-down
And us, smiling, grand flight                Water, wet skies, grand sight
                            Is for us! For us, so right, so right!
                            My hand, your hand! Give me
Good land, gardens, a spot                   The sand, soft sun, a lot
To grow, flowers, so vast                       Of us, laughing, at last
                            Is life with you! The past, and passed
                            Is life with you; have not forgot
Those years, us two, not one                Those years, us two, not one
Love lived; with you; are gone.           Love lived; with you; are gone.

By Neil Hester


Okay, so the Deerings aren't the authors. Another sonnet from a writer who's currently in sonnet mode; the sonnet form is nice because it's relatively short and precise (and therefore reader-friendly, especially to non-poetry readers), but highly capable of layering and deeper meaning (a haiku or limerick can only go so far, enjoyable as they may be). I haven't played much with villanelles and sestinas (just a couple mediocre villanelles), but I'll probably give it a look in the near future. As for the sonnet itself, the choppy style helps to alleviate what would be rather cliché (especially the last line). Finally, green tea; I'm more an earl grey person myself, but the stuff's good for ya~

Take Care,

Thursday, April 05, 2007


INTJ. That's my personality, based on the rather interesting Jung-Myers-Briggs Typology Test. Obviously, it's not totally accurate; I switch frequently between introversion and extroversion, for example. However, it hits a lot of things pretty squarely; I'm self-confident, perfectionistic, direct, and imaginative. I also have a problem with romantic relationships... actually, I haven't had much experience either way in that area, but hey ~_^ I'd suggest giving the test a go; the result is not that important (take it as a grain), but can be entertaining and perhaps a bit self-revealing. Here's an explanation of the different terms (among other things) for the test.

And now... the other part: typography, syntax, and spelling. In poetry, these things can accomplish interesting things (whether they be good or bad). First, a couple past bits- my personal punctuation hierarchy for line ends in poetry (from shortest to longest):


none, hyphen(ated word), comma, semicolon, colon, period/!/?, dash/tilde, ellipsis, stanza break


...and ~Til~de~, in regards to my usage of the "~" as a punctuation mark. And now, let's look at a few poems with unique typology (for better or for worse):


The Oxford Book of English Verse

Henry, from Nancy.
              to Christmas. 1926.
              browned ink. limned paper.

              bought. Smart & Mookerdum.
              booksellers. Rangoon.

by Nancy, for Henry.
              for British in Burma.
              no knowing. to come.
              between. all war.

              Henry finds. only dates:
              Wordsworth: 1770 - 1850
              Tennyson: 1809 - 1892

Henry reads. them all.

to Nancy, off Henry.
              the book. returns.
              death railroad. down Kwai.
              Major Dunn. delivers.

              “a good chap. held fast.
              to ends. Henry did.”

              Henry: 1901 - 1943

so Nancy, no Henry.
              well versed. rests down.
              those times.
              that won’t book.
              their becoming.

              still a while, far away.
              for Nancy. anyway.

              Nancy: 1904 - 2001

By Jason Sanford


Notice how the choppy lines create a great deal of impact; short and lower case. Also, the indentation singles out the "Nancy Henry" lines, and the dates give a distinct (and meaningful) timeline. The form here is brutal and conveys quite a punch (punch-conveying~ oh boy).

LAEvaside: Boy, I love HTML formatting for poems like that one. [/laevaside]

Now, let's look at another one:


a violent prson

is marreed 2 a changling

th changling can adapt
can sumtimez radikalee b
on her his gud side evreethings
going swimminglee sumtimez
get whn he she runs out
uv prsonas masks goez 2
th closet n thers nothing

hanging ther can b myself he
she thinks thn thats th feer
that th punishment will cum
fr sure if he she cant leev her
him self fast enuff breeth b
call her him n start packing

him her self is alredee enuff
is alredee fine is alredee all ther
can go now can b now she he is
sew flexibul now who 2 trust or
2 find discovr

a mountin sliding in2 th sand
sumwun who wud stay yu cud
with hold n they cud find yu they
wudint leev n yu wud bcum all
ther with them not that

thers anee all ther

th changling writes lettrs 2 her him
selvs in th ambr waves n touchinglee
with love keeps th nite

by bill bissett


Yes! I didn't have to add those aggravating HTML indentations to this one! ...Unfortunately, that's the extent of my positive feelings towards this poem. Supposedly, his credo is to "lift the poem off the page into sound or even into some happening that attempts the total involvement of the senses". Strange spelling and spacing doesn't do that: it's just annoying. Dan Schneider did a TOP on this guy; check it out.








By e.e. cummings

LAEvaside: The title that normally goes with this poem is "l(a...(a leaf falls on loneliness); I'm not sure if that was originally given by e.e. cummings, so I neglected to put it at the top. [/laevaside]


A couple of the most famous e.e. cummings poems, the typography is extremely effective and unique. I don't believe anything more needs to be said, so let's move on to a parody of Ron Silliman's New Sentence:


The New New Sentence

is endless, spiral, scrolling, and flexible, goes where it wants, following the brush, following the pen, reeling off its sidebar parenthetical remarks (which when read out loud by Clifford Geertz, each layer of embedded parentheses being read in a softer and softer voice, until some deeper, most important layers are barely audible) with gusto, yet finding its way back to its central point, eventually, if obliquely, before skirting off again into another parallel associative digression, long-winded, perhaps, but unapologetic to the post-Hemingway short-attention-span generation who like their sentences to be short and sharp and bitter (not knowing that irony itself is not a way of life, but only a tool of instigation), making no concessions to the reader that cannot track along, and eventually winding its way towards conclusion, having said a great deal (full of sound and fury) about very little (signifying nothing), very quietly coming to its close, having spread its wings to encompass the world, and now roosting at last on a cliff overlooking a quieted airless planet whose geologic plates ceased lubriciously floating and bumping against each other eons ago.

By Art Durkee


Check out this entry, The New New Sentence, for a better understanding of The New Sentence (which I think is fairly ridiculous). For William Carlos Williams, just check out this TOP; now, here's something of my own:


Here Cold They Be?

“They’re gone, they’re gone, all gone!”
“Speak, boy, what are gone?”
“The s, the s, they’re missing, sir!”
“Hh? ...By god, the s! Er,
Never mind! Yo rn for help– go, go!”
“Srely, sir, I know, I know!”

“Come now, boy, hand me my axe!”
First one, then a thousand lumberjacks
Took many swings, made many cuts
For thirty years...

“Attention! After thirty years, our fears
Are through, our luck has turned! –But,
A price is paid; ‘tis often so.
This for that, you kno.”

By Neil Hester


It's not idiosyncratic like cummings or bissett; however, it expresses a better (if sparing and specific) reason to leave letters out of words. Really, I could go on for quite a while longer on typography, syntax and such (because there are a lot of peculiarities out there), but this post is rather long already. Here are a couple more entries with somewhat unique jazz in them (though it's still not much compared to the above poems): that said, take care 'til next~


LAEvaside: Three self-links... yay for self-promotion. And on top of that, three asides in one post... [/laevaside]

Sunday, April 01, 2007


Another month, another Monthentry; let's begin April with some trivia:

  • April begins (astrologically) with the sun in the sign of Aries and ends in the sign of Taurus.
  • The Anglo-Saxons called April Oster-monath or Eostur-monath, the period sacred to Eostre or Ostara, the pagan Saxon goddess of spring, from whose name is derived the modern Easter.
  • The American Revolution and American Civil War both began in April.
  • April begins on the same day of the week as July every year, and as January in leap years.
  • April's birthstone is the diamond.
  • April is National Poetry Month.
  • The last week of April is National Lingerie Week, Egg Salad Week, and Reading is Fun Week, among others.

National Poetry Month, eh? I've never been affected by it, but I do support any reasonable attempt to bring poetry to the public. Anyhow, on to the couplet:



April showers bring May flowers;
As for fools, they’re always ours.


Come to think of it, April 1st *is* April Fools'. I don't think I tried to pull a fast one on you folks in this post, but you never know...

Take Care,