Words@Play

My thesaurus is better than your thesaurus!

July, 2013

About that thesaurus sitting on your shelf! Mine’s better! Here’s why:

I was doing a first draft for a short poem and I needed just the right word. I wanted a synonym for “baby.”

After long gestation, it comes into the world with great labor and pain.

What shall I call it?

Fruit of love? Baby?

I know it’s a trite topic, never mind, it’s just an example. I looked into the regular thesaurus–the kind you find everywhere in dictionary form. Under “baby” were 4 noun synonyms: babe, infant, little one, and a reference to “child” sub-heading. Whoopee.

A few months ago I was shopping in the Friends of the Library in Ventura. There I found a large volume, “The Original Roget’s International Thesaurus” 6th edition. A great big dictionary hardback,1250 pages! 330,000 words and phrases to choose from. Wow what a fantastic book! In new condition, only $3! I fell in love with it. I had no idea there was such a book! What else am I missing? For me, word books are like strong drink. So much of life can be conveyed if you have just the right word, you know? Look at this! I looked up “baby” just now for example. The noun subtopic had 13 entries, but each of them has their own section! So I selected “infant” and looked it up in the front of the book, section 302.9. There are 37 words and phrases for “baby!” Oh my gosh, I’m rich! For example I have terms like “bouncing baby, mewling infant, papoose, suckling, toddler, fosterling, neonate, crumbcrusher”. Now I have a much larger “word pool” than I had with the first thesaurus.

I want to re-write my original idea using “weanling.”

It comes! The creature comes at last

into the daylight, reeling.

Pushed out with labor, pains, and cries,

here lies a human weanling.

Say! How about that, don’t you like “weanling” better? I think it’s colorful!

My thesaurus is bigger and better than your thesaurus! So there!

–Glenn

Words@Play by Glenn Turner

Outrageous word fun with the Scrabble Dictionary.

Wow this book is too much. It has lots of unusual words. Ever heard of “gurge?” Me neither–sounds cool though. I thought I would go through the book and pick an unusual word for each letter of the alphabet. Then I can use them in a poem.

The Story of Jean-Claude

Glenn Turner 1/3/21

“You can invent reality.” — Jon Rappoport

 
 
     One day Jean-Claude  found out he was living in a strange world of his own. Not in a bubble--he didn't feel isolated from other people. He lived in a monastic way, alone in a quiet place in the woods. He allowed people to talk to him and he was a good, quiet listener. He listened and watched the world go noisily making war. Eventually, the bombings ceased and the quiet of the woods resumed.  
      At night, he gazed at the full moon, bright in the dark sky.  
 He didn't know if he had a woman to love him. He came to believe he lived in his own world, the entire planet belonged to him, it being an expression of the god-thing-nature.
      Jean-Claude  felt happy about being a real person, not to be considered less than adequate. Jean-Claude   worried he might be too self-centered. He always treasured truth and virtue and the scientific method.
      Jean-Claude  walked along the country road on a spring day, studying the trees, and hills and everything he saw and sensed.  
      On this day, it came to him that he had powers to create whatever he liked. So he created a futuristic machine he could use to explore any aspect of existence that might appeal to him. It was a room-sized machine. This great machine needed a name, so he called it the omni device. He entered it and used the human interface to program a visit to Mars.   
      Jean-Claude  finds himself on Mars, in the colony. A hundred people live and work in this habitat. He likes to drop in and visit occasionally. Everyone is glad to see Jean-Claude . They wish they could go to the woods where he lives. One might think that Mars would be boring--it's cold and desolate--but the people on Mars are never bored. There is so much work to do, and basic scientific research to be done. Just maintaining the life support systems is a lot of work.  
      So he stayed a couple of nights, played the violin and visited all the chambers in the colony. One girl seemed to love him, but he didn't want romance. She was very delicate because she was born on Mars.
      Jean-Claude  returned to his omni machine and went home. Back in the woods in his comfortable cabin. Where did the omni machine actually come from? It help explain his solitariness. The omni machine is the reason he owns the entire planet. He can have friends, but never truly share his solitary ownership life of the world and universe.
      Jean-Claude  caused his body to become intangible, not like a ghost, but like a cloud. He could then fly above a city and watch people walking and marching in a parade down the street chanting war cries. It seemed that so many people desire to make war and kill people. Jean-Claude  in the clouds flying over the city, wept for them.  
      Not sure what to do, he returned home to study big books of arcane wisdom. The wise man always searching for more truth and understanding of the universe to touch the god-thing-nature of which he is composed.
      Back in his comfortable cottage, he admired all the furniture. There is his large table to lay out his books, there are comfortable chairs, and a sofa.
      "Hello, Jean-Claude ," a girls' voice said. Surprised, he found the Martian girl sitting on the sofa with a book in her lap.
 "Well he, how did you get here?" Jean-Claude  asked
 "I figured out how to use your machine. Hope you don't mind?" she replied earnestly.
 "Actually I do mind, it's dangerous and you're violating my privacy. The machine is tuned to my body. How did you get it to work?"
      "I snipped off a lock of your hair and the machine only needed that to get your DNA to activate it," she answered.
 "But you still needed my password to operate it."
      "I'm a pretty good hacker," she explained. "I've studied computers all my life, it's my specialty at home on Mars."
      Jean-Claude  sat down with a heavy sigh. "Alright then here you are. What shall I do with you?"
      Nothing happened, his mind went blank. Therefore the world went blank. So Jean-Claude  got up and went for a long walk in the woods. Listening to small animals rustling in the undergrowth, it started to get dark, so he returned home.  
      She was not there. He looked in the omni machine. She had left a note saying,"Sorry I bothered you. See you next time. Love, Alicia."
      "The little imp," he thought. "Hope she's OK now. I should be friendly towards her."
      He conversed all night with big friendly books, traversing the galaxy.
      Jean-Claude  had complete knowledge of himself. He was no longer disturbed by yearnings of the flesh. But he was consumed with yearning s of the spirit--a desire to know the cosmos and feel it respond warmly to his existence.  
      "Please god-thing-nature, let me feel the divine energy again." He yearned for the indescribable bliss which he had once experienced. He realized a great deal, the way a dog can look pleadingly in a man's eyes but never form words. This is how Jean-Claude  felt, he could sense the god-thing-nature but never truly communicate with it.  
      He went back into his machine. This time he sat in the dimly lit room a few minutes and gazed at the screen on the wall. There were dots floating like stars.
      "Zoom in to the atomic level," he said. He contemplated the fabric of matter and saw that it was filled with purposeful motion.
      "Alright, omni machine, take me down to stand beside an atom."
 There is a humming sound, the room vibrates, light swirl and flash, and then Jean-Claude  finds himself standing beside a big sphere the size of a house. He goes inside. The air seems to be vibrating. Particles flying around but go through him like light waves. He can't feel anything. The fabric of space existence is not made of particles, but a fine vibrating stuff like sound waves that refract and form ridges. The vibrating fabric is the god-thing-nature which then forms objects. All too incomprehensible to Jean-Claude , who feels like a dog wishing it could speak.
      The atoms reduced down to the size of his fist. Many molecules floated around.
      While he was observing it all, the girl suddenly materialized beside him.
      "Hello Alicia! You've surprised me again." She is very delicate with long blonde hair, a pale blue gown, ivory white skin.
      Gently she says, "We don't need to be lovers, Jean-Claude , but let's be companions."
      They watched the floating molecules awhile.
      It suddenly occurred to him why she kept appearing, so he asked, "Do you play the Glass Bead Game?"  
      She gave a winsome smile, "But of course, all roads lead there."
      "Then we have a strong mutual understanding," he replied. "Let's go to the game room, have tea and begin a game."  
      She nodded assent and they exited the omni machine. They walked, saw blue sky and green trees. They entered the game room. It is a library with a large table in the middle, and chairs. A special board on the table for arranging the beads. There were bowls of large, colored beads, which had  hieroglyphic symbols delicately engraved on them.
      They saw that there was a half-finished game on the board.  
      "Let's start a new one," he announced. They sat on opposite sides of the table.  
      Thousands of books lined the walls. Jean-Claude  only had to ask for a subject and the appropriate book would appear at his elbow.
      The board itself seemed to have various modes. It looked like a large "Go" board with grooves, or a sheet of music paper with staves, or three dimensional with strings like an abacus. The half-finished game looked like a musical composition with vari-colored notes, or a design like a mosaic. He swept the beads into a tray.
      The didn't need to talk much now, their mutual understanding was like telepathy. She often watched him with a pleasant smile.
      "I will begin the game by placing this large green bead in the center of the board. This game will have a powerful meaning, a most persuasive explanation of all things."
      They meditated silently awhile. She chose a bead and placed it on the board some distance from the first. A green bead, engraved with the symbol for botany. Her bead was dark blue, with the symbol for astronomy. Next they invented the required musical phrase, to join the two beads. Baroque music of violins is playing in the background. The sound is bittersweet at times, and haunting.
      All the moves and musical lines of every game are stored, by the omni machine, so the game could be studied and enjoyed later.  
      "This is how reality is created," Jean-Claude  murmured. The vibrating fabric of space, the big atoms floating and forming molecules--this same fabric in the mind, vibrating like music with meaning and purpose. The mysterious electric fabric vibrating quietly to evoke a desire to create meaning, to express itself in atoms and molecules and neurons, vibrating with memories and visions of vivid colors.
      Jean-Claude placed a gray bead with a hieroglyphic beside his green bead. Gray--mechanics. After awhile, Alicia played. They the joined the beads with music. So the game progressed for hours. Books were consulted, there was much meditation.
      Around midnight the pair adjourned the game and retired to separate apartments.
      Yes, it will all come to a magnificent, cosmic conclusion, Jean-Claude  thought.  
 At dawn they were back at the game table. They had breakfast and a short walk before resuming the game. But remembrance of the omni machine interrupted them.
      "I need to go back home to Mars awhile, the weight here is becoming painful," Alicia explained.
      "Of course, I should have realized that, you're frail as a fairy," Jean-Claude  replied. "I will go with you and bring the game."  
      Her face lit up. "That would be wonderful. The game is played for recreation in the colony."
      "I don't even need to pack, everything I need is there," Jean-Claude  said.  
      So they went out and entered the omni machine and soon reappeared in the reddish lit hallways of  Mars colony.
      Her friends were glad to see her back, and welcomed Jean-Claude --they called him "The Wise Man."
      They went straight to the game room. Here in the colony were a half dozen good, serious players, so there were several boards and games in progress. Jean-Claude  knew everyone, but didn't disturb the players, who were deep in thought.
      Jean-Claude and Alicia set up their board. They sat comfortably. The meditation began. Deep in thought, cosmic vibrations were felt resonating in the neurons, forming patterns to be expressed in words and ideas. Thus the game progressed.
      Jean-Claude placed a bead. Ruddy red--Mars. They made music together.
      All along, Jean-Claude  was at the center of his own world, creating reality for his own cosmic pleasure. 
     Sitting quietly on Mars, he is able to move inwardly more easily. He could hear the wind rushing over the arched ceilings of the red-lit game hall, where he sits.
      What is Jean-Claude's over-riding purpose in life? And Alicia's? 

Adventures In Philosophy

Adventures In Philosophy

Episode/Topic

1 Introduction
I talk about why philosophy is so interesting, some basic argumentation methods, and common logical fallacies. Link to podcast: AIP Podcast 1 Document: AIP01-intro.doc


2 A study guide for Spinoza’s treatise, Emendations of the Intellect. podcast: AIP Podcast 2 Document: AIP02-emendation.doc


I wanted to post the first document here but WordPress won’t keep the formatting. Maybe I can find help

ADVENTURES IN PHILOSOPHY

 

AIP01 Intro.doc

Glenn Turner 12/10/20

Narrative

Session 1 — Introduction

Welcome to Adventures in philosophy. I’m Glenn Turner. I am doing these podcasts for several reasons. Mainly, I just love doing philosophy and want to share it. Actually it’s deeper than that.

Studying philosophy is like traveling in a spaceship. The purpose of philosophy is to explore new areas, to form new ideas, to advance science and knowledge in general. I like to nurture the sense of wonder.

For another metaphor consider that a beach is made of grains of sand. Each person on earth is a grain of sand, and needs to contribute their small part to make a beautiful beach. My podcasts are my grains of sand.

I also hope to stimulate others to come up with their own philosophy. I believe that every thinker has a unique contribution to make.

My podcasts are also a way for me to study the topics more and clarify my own ideas. In case you don’t know this is a bookish sport–we philosophers love to read.

I am interested in how the brain works, how the mind works. What is this intangible thing we call “mind” which has so much power? What is consciousness? What is the human spirit? What is the truth about God? (I will not be dealing with theology.) How will humanity advance in the next 100 years?

Philosophy precedes scientific invention and advancement. I see new frontiers in philosophy opening up. The field of artificial intelligence is one example. Newer and more powerful computers are going to be invented. Bio-technology will make advances.

Consider how much technology (and thus, philosophy) has progressed since the days of Aristotle, about 2300 years ago. Now, imagine what society will be like 2300 years from now. I find it impossible to imagine. But your task as a philosopher is to contribute what you can to that advancement, the way worker bees contribute to building a hive.

Some of my sessions will be in the exciting field of consciousness, the mind, the spirit and anomalous mental phenomena. I have found on the internet a wealth of information about the coming revolution in science, psychology and philosophy regarding the nature of consciousness. Our world is about to change in a dramatic way. Many thinkers believe that the consciousness is external to the brain. I have a lot of resources to share on this topic.

Doing philosophy is a great adventure. Contemplating the cosmos is a great pleasure.

I hope my listeners will contact me via email. My email is gt1234@protonmail.com.

Here is a list of the subjects I will be talking about:

logical fallacies

original thinking

anti-evolution

cosmology

anti-big bang

science

powers of mind

science fiction

consciousness

psychology

metaphysics

pantheism or monism

mysticism

Eastern philosophy

other essays

Spinoza, Emendation commentary

Spinoza, Ethics explained

I discovered Spinoza about a year ago and it was tremendously enlightening. Therefore I want to go through his works listed above, and explain the thoughts in modern language. It is complex and difficult so it will take a long time to go through. I already have an essay on the Emendations.

Now I will start the first topic: Basic logical methods

============================================= end introduction

On studying philosophy

Thinking clearly to find the truth of a matter.

Basic logical methods ======================

 

Deduction.

“A deductive argument is an argument in which the premises are claimed to support the conclusion in such a way that it is impossible for the premises to be true and the conclusion false. A deductive argument uses syllogisms.” (A Concise Introduction to Logic, Patrick Hurley, Wadsworth Publishing)

Syllogism

Basic unit of logic. If the premises are true, then the conclusion is necessarily true. I found a great definition of syllogism in the Random House dictionary: “an argument whose conclusion is supported by two premises, of which one (major premise) contains the term (major term) that is the predicate of the conclusion, and the other (minor premise) contains the term (minor term) that is the subject of the conclusion; common to both premises is a term (middle term) that is excluded from the conclusion. A typical form is ‘All A is B; all B is C; therefore all A is C.’ ” Arguing from the general to the particular.

Induction.

“An inductive argument is an argument in which the premises are claimed to support the conclusion is such a way that it is improbable that the premises be true and the conclusion false.” (ibid) If the premises are true, the conclusion is probably true, not necessarily. The method uses a preponderence of evidence. For example, every crow I have ever seen is black. Therefore, the next crow I see will probably be black also. Arguing from the particular to the general.

What is a valid argument?

If the premises are true, then the conclusion is true.

What is an invalid argument?

The premises are true, but the conclusion is false.

What is a sound argument?

A valid deductive argument with all true premises.

Inference

“In logic, the procedure of deriving conclusions from premises. If the conclusion follows from a single premise, the process is said to be one of immediate inference. If the conclusion follows from two or more premises jointly, the process is said to be one of mediate inference.” (Dictionary of Philosophy and Religion, Reese, p. 338.)

There are many rules of mediate inference, like in geometry.

Mathematics

All arguments in pure mathematics are deductive. Spinoza used the geometrical method in writing the Ethics.

Inductive Logic is a broad category, it basically means presenting evidence for a conclusion.

Logical fallacies ======================

A fallacy is a defective argument, not due to false premises. Here are some examples.

Some web sites about logical fallacies:

fallacyinlogic.com

http://www.logicalfallacies.org

You should think up some examples on your own.

Ad Hominem fallacy. Instead of addressing the argument, attack the messenger.

Example:

Proponent: Vote for Mr. Smith, he is well-qualified for the position.

Opponent: The proponent is a criminal, therefore his recommendation is not valid.

The Straw Man Fallacy

Mis-representing a proponent’s argument in order to easily demolish it. Similar to ad hominem, but attacks an incorrect argument instead.

Example:

Proponent: Vote for Mr. Jones because he will lower taxes.

Opponent: You must want to have cutbacks in city services that are dependent on taxes, therefore I won’t vote for Mr. Jones.

The Bandwagon Fallacy

Peer pressure. Example: Everyone is voting for Mr. Jones, you should too.

The Appeal to Authority Fallacy

An authority may not be qualified in a different field.

Example:

Reverend Smith is voting for Mr. Jones, and he is an authority, so you should vote for Mr. Jones too.

False Dichotomy

The idea that there is only one choice in a matter, when there may be more.

Example:

If you don’t believe in evolution you must believe in creationism.

The Hasty Generalization Fallacy

When you see one example of a condition, you assume all the rest are the same

Example:

A man from Georgia has a strong accent. Therefore all Southerners have strong accents.

Circular Reasoning

An argument that simply assumes what it is attempting to prove. An unsupported assertion, restated in different terms.

Example:

You must follow the laws of the country because it is illegal to break the law.

Equivocation

When a word is used in two different senses in an argument, causing confusion. Like a pun.

Example:

Noisy children are a real headache. Two aspirin will make a headache go away. Therefore, two aspirin will make noisy children go away. (“Headache” is used two different ways.)

(source: https://www.txstate.edu/philosophy/resources/fallacy-definitions/Equivocation.html)

In my next session I will go over my study guide on Spinoza’s Emendations of the Intellect

Book Review of a watercolor book

Below is a pdf file of a book review I just wrote. The book is called

1500 Color Mixing Recipes for oil, acrylic & watercolor

by William F. Powell

Click here:

https://creativity413282887.files.wordpress.com/2019/12/watercolor-book-review-recipes.pdf

Buy it on Amazon

=======================================================

I’ve been doing lots of watercolor pictures lately and going to artists meetings. Here is a link to my Facebook page:

https://www.facebook.com/groups/2847675548611131/

Problems with the Big Bang Theory of Cosmology

8/1/19

Category: Philosophy of Science

The Big Bang Model is a cosmological theory for the origin and development of our universe. It is accepted by the scientific establishment, taught in universities and promoted in general society.

I am discussing a few of the main points.

1. In the beginning–about 13 billion years ago–nothing existed. Since matter did not exist, the laws of physics as we know them did not exist. For instance there was no such thing as time or energy.

The idea that there was a time when nothing existed is a contentious one. Throughout history people have argued about it. In this case, the idea is partly based on the observation that objects in space are moving away from the earth. Therefore there must have been a time when all matter was collected into one place.

It is impossible to demonstrate that the laws of physics did not exist (at any time.) Therefore this is not a scientific statement.

2. Suddenly this nothingness expanded to become the universe full of stars and galaxies. The entire observable universe came into being. This phenomenon is called the singularity.

The Big Bang theory was invented by a Catholic priest named Lemaitre. He wanted a scientific description of the creation idea.

It requires a supernatural act by an all-powerful God. However, in the Big Bang theory, they don’t want to mention God, and they call it the singularity instead of the creation.

“The laws of gravity and quantum theory allow universes to appear spontaneously from nothing.” — Stephen Hawking

But this was supposedly before the laws of physics came into being, therefore nothing could be created. After the laws of physics came into being, it is axiomatic that it is impossible for anything to arise from nothing.

3. There was an inflationary phase, in which energy traveled faster than light. Therefore this occurred before the laws of physics came into being. This resulted in what is called cosmic microwave background radiation or CMB.

Cosmic microwave background radiation describes the electromagnetic waves that propagate through our entire universe. The observable universe has a “temperature” of 2.7 degrees K. CMB is interpreted to be the “inside of the fireball” of the Big Bang.

But when the Big Bang occurred, matter would have spread out in clumps. So, why does the universe have a uniform background temperature? The temperature on one side of the explosion could not affect the other side, so space would be warmer in some places.

“The solution to this conundrum was inflation, an epoch in which regions that were originally in causal contact moved apart much more rapidly than the speed of light because of an extremely rapid period of expansion of the universe.” 1 This inflation theory says that the universe exploded very fast, and set the temperature. It supposedly used a special kind of energy which has never been seen.

“What made inflationary theory much more convincing was the fact that it was able to explain the density in homogeneities needed for cosmic structure formation in a quite magical way. This became apparent soon after inflation was invented and was a surprising, and for some a compelling, success.” 2 (emphasis added.)

Inflation theory is “magical” and “invented.” Is this science?

“There is no direct evidence for the existence of the inflation field.” op cit

4. After the Big Bang, the force of gravity caused matter in the universe to collect together into objects like stars and planets and groups of stars called galaxies. The earth came into being this way–a coalescing of matter.

“The best the Big Bang can claim is consistency with observations using the various ad hoc models to explain the data for each light element.” 3

5. It appears that all observed galaxies are moving away from the earth. The phenomenon of redshift is called upon to explain this. Therefore the conclusion is drawn that all of space is expanding.

Hubble discovered a red shift in light from galaxies. Therefore, astronomers theorize that those objects are moving away from earth due to the Doppler effect, and the universe itself is expanding.

It can’t be proven that the Doppler effect applies under such conditions. In other words, stretching space itself is not the same as receding galaxies. Objects would remain stationery.

There is more than one way to interpret the redshift data. 4 5 Here is a link to a paper with a list of 59 possible causes of redshift in galaxies and objects in space. 6

6. The universe is continuing to expand in all directions, according to data from far distant objects. A substance called dark energy is supposed to exist in space which causes stars to move away faster than expected. Dark energy is anti-gravity, it pushes objects apart.

“Presently, Dark Energy is detectable only through its gravitational effects.” 7 In other words, no one can find it, but since it’s the best possible explanation of the observations, it must exist.

Conclusion

It isn’t possible to do repeatable experiments in cosmology, because it is impossible to do control experiments. It’s all philosophy.

The very first statement of the Big Bang theory–“In the beginning, nothing existed”– is philosophical, not scientific.

None of the given arguments provide absolute proof of a big bang. Whenever an objection is made to the Big Bang theory, scientists invent a new explanation, then go searching for observations to support it. That is not science, it’s speculation. The scientific method requires empirical proofs.

All the speculations of the Big Bang theory can have several explanations.

But people believe in the Big Bang anyway, so it is actually a religious dogma. Why not say so? Many religions have a creation myth. Big Bang is the one in use by our scientific establishment and it is inaccurately presented as impartial science.

Here is my list of sources for this article, including the footnotes:

Universe Today, what-is-the-evidence-for-the-big-bang

www.conservapedia.com/Big_Bang_theory

Big Bang Theory Dissent Letter

Well-Founded_Cosmology.pdf

NASA BB concepts

Space and Motion, mitchell-big-bang-theory-under-fire

Space and Motion Top 30 problems

You Tube, The Big Bang Never Happened

Berkeley Cosmology Big_Bang_Primer.html

Cosmology.com BigBangReview

Hartnett, Is the Universe really expanding?

footnotes:

1 https://www.encyclopedia.com/science/encyclopedias-almanacs-transcripts-and-maps/cosmic-microwave-background-radiation-0

2 “Inflation.” Building Blocks of Matter: A Supplement to the Macmillan Encyclopedia of Physics. . Retrieved July 31, 2019 from Encyclopedia.com: https://www.encyclopedia.com/science/encyclopedias-almanacs-transcripts-and-maps/inflation

3 https://www.spaceandmotion.com/cosmology/top-30-problems-big-bang-theory.htm

4 https://www.spaceandmotion.com/Cosmology-Big-Bang-Theory.htm

5 https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DRgxDjNtiK8 Cosmic Mythology – Dismantling the Big Bang Theory

6 http://www.marmet.org/cosmology/redshift/mechanisms.pdf

7 http://www.universeadventure.org/index/glossary-atoe.htm

Enjambment

Lessons in poetry-writing

started Dec 2, 2012

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Here is a synopsis of my philosophy:

Poetry writing–most ancient of arts,

is more than mere versification.

Aligning a poem’s many faceted parts

takes lexical imagination.

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Welcome to my writing room, see the sofas all around. Get comfortable, have a cup of coffee, except for my British friends, I had best serve them tea.

TABLE OF CONTENTS

—->  General Comments on poem-writing

—-> Discussion and exercises on metaphor

—-> Glenns Glorious Glossary — A Collection of Unusual Poetical Terms

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—-> General comments on poem-writing.

I contrast  poem writing  with driving. When driving, you shut out most sense impressions and concentrate on the activity of driving. Poetry is the opposite, you slow down and concentrate on every word in your consciousness.

What makes a “good” poem?

When I read a poem, I respond both emotionally and intellectually.

I want to analyze all aspects of poetry. I am a student, not a teacher. I like some poems, dislike others.

I’m not required to enjoy every poem I read. I pass over the ones I don’t care for.

There are a lot of poems in anthologies which I just don’t like.

I’m reading a poetry textbook now called Western Wind by Nims and Mason. It’s good, plenty of detailed explanations of how poetry works, and it has an anthology. I jotted down a few authors of poems I enjoyed. Johnson, Ransom, a.e. Housman, Sir Philip Sidney, Wilfrid Owens, Yeats, Causley. I like humorists, too, Ogden Nash. So I’m educating myself.

I use the following list of qualities to decide if a poem is “good”. This is my criteria for judging contests, too.

I call a poem “good” if:

— it expresses an emotion, has a message and makes me respond

— it tells a story

— it is funny

— makes an interesting philosophical comment

— rhymes that flow smoothly

— a meter that is not forced

— includes interesting words I may need to look up

— the sound of the words, the musical quality is good

— good grammar is essential

— (more to come)

I call a poem “poor” when it has any of these characteristics:

— sugary sentimentality

— message is trite

— full of cliches

— poor grammar and punctuation

— forced rhymes

— uses long lists of adjectives

//

A comment on poetic language

My object is to evoke a specific response from the audience.

I want to get a response from what they already have in them, their idea of what is entertaining. They have stock images of characters, I only need to tap into it. Everyone has a vast reservoir of knowledge and experience, all I have to do is draw it out of them.

Thurber in a single sentence evokes a young man “a slender, tanned man sucking dreamily on the stem of an unlighted pipe.”

That’s a quick characterization. I can use same skill of summoning of images in poetry, too. It must be especially dense in poetry, therefore the correct word is essential.

For example, take a symbol, e.g. an egg. Now I want to pack meaning around it, so use an adjective. What if I said “hard-boiled egg”, that would feel different from “cracked egg”. Or an egg about to hatch, could be a metaphor for life.

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—-> Discussion and exercises on metaphor

Exercise 1

1. You are contemplating the universe.

2. You have a large, gleaming jewelry box resting in front of you. The jewelry box is your mind. You know your poem is lying full-grown inside of it.

3. Open the lid and look at it. Let the poem come out.

4. Begin writing, describe the poem in detail. What does it look like? What does it smell, feel, sound, taste like?

Describe its limbs, and their motions. Use stream of consciousness. Don’t stop to analyze your thoughts, just write swiftly.

5. This is your first draft.

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Exercise 2

extended metaphor

1.  Make a list of metaphors for your mind.

2.  For each metaphor, think of  whatever comes out of it, that objects’ product. Write that down.

3. Examples:

     Step 1. Mind is a cauldon, a bucket, a computer, a canvas, a movie, a library, etc.

     Step 2. food coming from cauldron; fluid pouring from a bucket; data streaming through a compter; picture on a canvas; drama of the movie; messages from books.

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Exercise 3 

1. You are contemplating the universe. Om.

2. There is a knock on your door. Stare at the door. Pause, count to 5.

3. You open the door and look. A person is standing there. It is your poem.

4. Tell me, the reader, what this person looks like. Write it down.

5. Tell me what the person says to you and any conversation that takes place.

6. Then what happens? Do you invite them in? Do you shut and bolt the door?

It’s your poem. Just pause, observe, and write. For now, don’t comment on the action.

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Exercise 4

1. Your 6-year-old nephew wants you to tell him a bedtime story.

2. You tuck him in comfortably and sit on the edge of his bed.

3.You invent a story on the spot, and begin talking. By the time you have spoken 8 sentences, your nephew is deep asleep.

4. What are the 8 sentences? Write them down quickly, spontaneously. Don’t pause to think about them.

5. There’s the foundation for your poem.

6. Develop the poem with metaphors as an exercise. Take some nouns and substitute a metaphor.

7. I’ll give an example:

     1          Once upon a time in a far away land, there lived a prince all alone in a big castle.

     2          One day he saw a carriage drive by with a beautiful princess inside.

     3          He fell in love and wanted to marry her.

     4          The next day he set out to find her castle.

     5          He was riding his horse through the woods when a fierce dragon ran towards him, shooting flames from its mouth.

     6          The prince raised his shield and retreated safely to his castle.

     7          From his armory he retrieved a long lance and a sword with which to kill the dragon.

     8          Then the prince set forth once more to seek the dragon in the woods.

     (Quiet, the kid is sleeping.)

Now using the step 6 “metaphor-ification” and creative thinking, I came up with the following: The prince is the owner of a manufacturing company.The princess is the group of stock holders. The castle is the factory and capital assets. The dragon is a competing company. I have an extended metaphor.

8. Now with these new characters, tell a new story in stanza form. Make up your own characters. You take it from here.

9. Now you have a ballad. Your nephew is your reading audience. Present your ballad to him.

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Glenn’s Glorious Glossary

A Collection of Unusual Poetical Terms

references:

Western Wind, by Nims and Mason. A textbook.

Random House College Dictionary.

Anacoluthon, not following. A line is suddenly interrupted and changes course. For example, “What I’d really like to–how about a long walk?”

Antipoetry, meaning “not pretty”. Real poetry may treat of unpleasant realities, it’s not all dewey meadows and angels.

Aposiopesis, falling silent. A sentence abruptly falls silent, as in “If you don’t obey me, I’ll….”

Caesura, “a cut”, the pause in a line or at the end.

Catalectic, “cut short,” the final syllable of the line is omitted, thus, it lacks a part of the final foot.

Chiasmus, named after the X-shaped Greek letter, chi. When you have parallelism, and the line’s elements are inverted. For example, “I like football; baseball I hate.”

Clerihew, a humorous verse form of 2 couplets, with the first line containing the name of a well-known person.

Dinggedichte, thing-poems, a poem that describes an object, but is symbolic.

Enjambment, rhymical effect. The running on of a thought from one line, couplet or stanza to the next without a syntactical break. Opposite of end-stopped.

Fibonacci sequence, a series of numbers, each of which is the sum of the two preceding numbers. Found throughout nature, called “golden numbers.” Some poets find an appealing symmetry.

Hyperbole, “throwing beyond the mark,” a form of overstatement. Obvious exaggeration.

Litotes, understatement, expressed by diminishing its opposite, for example, “not bad at all,” meaning “good.”

Metonymy, using the name of an object to represent another to which it is related or of which it is a part. Saying, “The White House,” meaning “the President.”

Onomatopoeia, Greek, “name-making”. bow-wow, moo, tick-tock, ding-aling.

Parataxis, or setting side-by-side. A sentence is just prosaic communication. A line is an artistic expression.

Pyrrhic, a foot of 2 unaccented syllables. Ancient battle which resulted in an empty victory.

Scansion, the metrical analysis of verse.

Synecdoche, from Greek, “taking as a whole.” A figure of speech in which a part is used for the whole, or vice versa. Example, “all hands on deck,” meaning “all men.” “This website needs fresh blood.”

Synesthesia, (one of my favorite words), Greek, “blended feeling.” Sensation produced in one modality but perceived in another. For example, feeling blue, or rough taste, bright sound.

Withheld image, when the poet never explicitly states the image, it is left to the readers’ imagination.

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The Stark Intensity of Her Being

(an ode to the internet)

.

After eons of lonely searching at last I’ve found her,

Here–in the unforgiving chill of space.

The crowds of lively people here surround her,

They eat, and drink, and guard the sacred place.

.

This strange new primal over-woman draws me.

I spend my waking hours as bondsmen do:

I labor long, and evening often finds me

In abstracted engagement with her, too.

.

What promise of delight! What hidden powers!

Enchanted by her eerie, glassy stare,

I soulfully commune with her for hours,

Forgetting my dull body, forgetting care.

.

She is an elemental force of nature,

All-knowing and all-seeing, yet unseen,

And I’m just a young infatuated creature,

Dreaming an unheard of, fantastic dream.

.

With an incandescent meld of minds

I’m tantalized by her electric kiss,

As though a cybernetic libido finds

A kind of glistening, existential bliss.

.

But look again! Her rigid, frozen stare–

With awe I feel a sinister foreboding,

Her twisted wires instead of flowing hair–

Her imagined soul just isn’t there.

.

So on this foggy morning I brood and yearn.

She doesn’t feel me! Cannot hear my cry!

Of my existence she will never learn,

Though she will live forever–and I must die.

.

1994

Pastorale





 
  

Of green and shade the park is made

And beside stands a pond of cool water.

The children strayed while a flute lightly played

And a-boating went mother and daughter.

.

Then struck up the parade while the luncheon was laid,

Of bright red was the table cloth made.

Then the man in the front of the band raised his hand,

And his staff was bright ruby and jade.

.

In this way passed the time of that bright afternoon

As the band in a line played a jovial tune,

And a clown with his smile pleased the children awhile

So that leaving-time came all too soon.

.

Ah! Such are the days that will not fade away

In the darkening passage of time.

For the thoughts of the trees and the cool, gentle breeze

Are the thoughts that shall always be mine.

.

Glenn Turner

July 1974