Neil Hester

All poems © Neil Hester unless otherwritten

Location: North Carolina, United States

Thursday, May 29, 2008

A Conversational Sonnet

Lately, I've written a few conversational poems, which are largely made up of scattered dialogue. Since I doubt this poem has much chance of being published in an online magazine/journal due to its nature (I haven't really been doing many submissions lately; the only reply I'm waiting on is one from StorySouth), here you go:


Answering the Question

“So- do you like him?”          “So­- do you like her?”
Well, yes, but not yet­­­­-           ­She can’t know just yet-
Inquiry, out on a whim- How can the two deter
Such a question? Should I say yes, Should I say no,
Then he would know,            She may come to know
And then­­ he- unless               A sad untruth- unless
I could avoid answering altogether...
Not so!
Whether or not you answer, they’ll know.
“Well... do you?”                    “Well... do you?”
“Um...” What to do               “Well...” Overdue
To answer! What do I say? What I do say? What...

“You know what? I don’t really care anymore.” “But-”

They both answered clearly by slight hesitation,
Unraveled sincerely by mute adoration.


Y'know, this sort of poem is quite the pain to format in HTML. Also, I'm starting to wonder how important online poetry publications are. I'll definitely do some submissions over the summer, but actually getting published seems like a series of longshots (it's a good thing I have some sort of résumé, or it'd seem even more difficult).

Anyhow, I just got back from a school trip a couple days ago (after finishing my last day of school the previous Friday), so hopefully I'll be ready to do some more substantial blog entries after a bit of rest. Until then-

Take Care,


Blogger Anthony said...

I also tried submitting a couple of poems recently, but they were rejected. However, I don't put a lot of stock in 'the system' as it is now, as it has totally failed to bring about work of consequence. Also, with the internet now, I think the 'old way' is going to crumble. Most literary mags are terrible, so other than the occasional glance, I don't buy them. With your blog, or your own site, I think you could pull in readers who saw the consistent quality of your writing.

I like the risks you are taking with the form. I've been looking at some contemporary sonnets lately that aren't nearly as innovative or engaging.

8:05 PM  
Blogger Neil said...

That's true; what great poems have been published in online literary magazines in the last 5-10 years? As for the old way "crumbling", I'm not sure what would replace it, since I'm pretty sure there's not going to be an abundance of Cosmoetica-quality literary websites to replace them, and poetry message boards lack any consistency or "guiding hand" of a head editor (I've never bothered posting in one). I suppose a united circle of literary blogs that are all of high quality could possibly rise above literary magazines in prominence, but again, finding that much independent quality is rough, especially considering that blogs are self-published. We have a circle of that sort, but it's super-small =p I'm not sure it actually has enough points to qualify as a circle; perhaps a triangle or square would be more appropriate (or, perhaps, rhombus, 'cause it sounds more poetic and whatnot). By the way- I hope you have another poem coming up soon. Building up a bigger poetry base for your blog would be nice, since, as you said, it's possible to pull readers in with a display of consistent quality.

Glad you enjoyed the poem; I like lighter verse, but when you have less of a point to make, it's best to be innovative and brief (sonnets are fantastic for this; they're short, and offer a base familiarity which can be tinkered with without completely losing the reader). I think I mentioned something of that sort a few weeks ago through the Cosmoetica mailing list.

12:50 AM  
Blogger Jessica Schneider said...

You're better off putting them onto your own blog, or you could always send them my way at M&C. Most lit blogs get so little traffic anyway. More have read you on Cosmo.

As I said, as much as a pain as it is, the best way of bulking up your publishing resume is writing book reviews/opinion pieces. I pretty much just stick with Blogcritcs, TMV, and M&C and it's enough. I don't bother sending "creative" stuff around very often because the "editors" are very dense, as Anthony also knows.

You both are such good poets and I feel so proud. (I like to think that maybe I helped a little, though I know you both have the talent to pull through on your own. Not to mention it's flattering to know my work has had even the slightest bit of impact, even if it's just a seedling for one of your own ideas).

2:38 PM  
Blogger Neil said...

Yeah- I'll probably still send a few poems out here and there, but publishing on the blog is so much nicer (control is a wonderful thing). I suppose it's been awhile since Anthony and I have sent poems to M&C, so I might send something your way soon, if you'd like. I might pick up on writing book reviews/opinion pieces when I'm older, but I'm busy being a kid right now; poetry is enough for the time being~

You have every right to feel proud, since you have helped me quite a lot, Jess. Remember, you're my literary mom ^^

2:49 PM  
Blogger Jessica Schneider said...

Aw, that's right.

You are in the right to want to be a kid. You're welcome to send me some stuff to post sometime.

:) ~~~~your Literary Mom~~~~

2:52 PM  
Blogger Anthony said...

Neil: I might put up some poems on my blog soon. I might also like to use my blog to host some by others, so we will see.

And Jessica, I do think your poems have exerted an influence. I did use your villanelles to give me an 'in' to that form, for example. There's another poem that has yet to be unveiled where I studied some of your work. And I have some ideas for things that I'd like to do that involve drawing on some of what you've done, so yes, you have played a part. Though I know there are a wealth of classic writers that I can look to, I do think it is important to look to current writers of quality who have contributed to the discipline. When I look at your poems and Dan's poems, you can see the continuum in poetry which cannot be seen by reading literary magazines--which make poetry seem dead, dead, dead.

10:43 AM  
Blogger Jessica Schneider said...

I'm glad to hear that. That's why they're there--to help other writers search for new ideas the way I've been influenced, etc.

I also have another conversational one that reminded me of your Single Motherhood poem--I'll send it to you next time you write.

You know you're getting better when you ask me for feedback and I'm searching hard for flaws.

It's nice to chat over here--there's no troll to worry about.

10:51 AM  
Blogger Neil said...

Yarrrrr *stomps in all troll-like*

...Okay, so that's true, there are no trolls here. The closest thing I've ever gotten was someone who told me I had no right to criticize others, even anonymously and for humor, and that my writing was pathetic.

Anthony: Good deal. I look forward to reading them.

Y'know, maybe I'll run a feature idea by Seamus for the Writing Circle. He could install a box (perhaps a scrollbox to save space) at the top for weekly poems or short stories. It's not much, but it's something, and the Writing Circle is friendly enough overall (after all, it has Lyons in it!).

11:24 AM  
Blogger Jessica Schneider said...


I remember when you got those lame comments and that "pathetic" writing comment. Most of the time people don't go onto others' blogs and make "pathetic" comments as that but at least those few made them once and left. This guy keeps returning and returning and returning and saying the same stupid things. This is not the 1st time we've seen him--but he's not as nasty as some others, he's just wanting to pick a fight and continues beating a corpse of a horse.

2:25 PM  
Blogger cosmoetica said...

Good poem. I have a poem, a Skyline poem, on a bank, forget the title, that is conversational- it, or something like Frost's Death Of the Hired Man is a poem style you should try, longer convos.

2:48 PM  
Blogger Neil said...

Jess: Yep, I'm fortunate that I've only had one incident on this blog. 'Course, it's really not that big a deal, and it's even a bit entertaining at times, but I still prefer to be without the disruption (so that friendly, productive conversations like this one can develop uninterrupted).

Dan: Thanks alot. A longer conversational poem... it may well be a good idea to try and write some longer pieces this summer. I've mostly written poems that are sonnet-length or shorter lately, as I feel uncomfortable writing longer poems (my ideas tend to fit in a smaller space). I may give it a shot, though. I didn't get to reading either of the poems you mentioned today, by the way; I'll do that soon.

1:37 AM  

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