23 June 2008

Greetings from Thunderland.

Don't get me wrong. I love a good thunderstorm. Like Sunday afternoon, before the tornado warning and all that, I was hiding under a blanket with my kids and a few cats, and that was great. But enough already. Look what's rolling into town right now.


Anyone else getting bombarded with t-storms lately? Have you ever noticed how different thunder sounds when you're in a well-fortified building, like the Bierce Library (see bldg fortification on the right side of the pic above).

Thunderstorms are nice, but only at the right time, and in moderation.

Since this isn't a thunder blog, here's a poetry question. How do you feel about NOTES sections in books of poetry? Dislike them all together? Enjoy certain kinds? Think the work should stand on its own? Etc?

I know some people who like the notes more than the poetry. That's crazy! I'm kind of a less-is-more person when it comes to notes. I don't think I'd ever want to put notes in my books, though. Twinkie (noun)--a golden snack cake...

16 comments:

Jay Robinson said...

I'm also getting bombarded with t storms. But we're (mostly) in the same weather system. You should see the pictures of all the hail we got here yesterday.....

PS--You forgot a picture of some fruit to go with your post!

Penultimatina said...

Did you get any grapefruit-sized hail, perchance?

Is it still winter in your weather system?

Kelli said...

How do you feel about NOTES sections in books of poetry--

I like the note section, but only if the poems are strong enough to stand on their own without the notes. If I have to keep turning to figure out what's happening or to be clued in to poet's secret world of wonder, I think they are being used incorrectly.

However, if I read a poem, enjoy it then go to the notes to see say the recipe of something mentioned in the poem, a translation, or just a little info on something in the poem, it's as if I've been given a gift, that I can read the poem again and get even a little something more out of it, a sort of second helping in the poetry world, that I like.

myshkin2 said...

Aren't the notes to The Waste Land better than the text itself?

Adam Deutsch said...

On notes, I defer to page 69 of Steve Davenport's Uncontainable Noise that reads thus:

"Note on No Notes:

This book jimmies a few lids and doors to borrow a phrase here and there. If probity on faith is impossible and notes you must, then ask and I'll give sources. I took no oath."

P. J. said...

I classify as "thunderstorm" any storm strong enough to wash the bird poop off my car. If my black Elantra is still polka-dotted white the next day, I'm always a little disappointed.

I like the name "Thunder Blog," by the way. The byline could be, "Two bloggers enter, one blogger leaves...a comment."

I think notes sections for books of poetry would be more interesting, if not more useful, if the notes referred to criticisms of the poems in their draft stages. What a rich experience for the reader to come upon such classics as "Fish or cut bait?" or "Break up with her already!" I only speak from experience, however, but your mileage may vary in terms of the useful criticisms you've recieved.

Valerie Loveland said...

I don't like notes--if I want to find out more, I'll look it up myself.

Karen J. Weyant said...

I actually like notes -- as long as they give more information, but don't explain the poems themselves! (And yes, hailstorms, thunderstorms, flash floods -- everything that is hitting Ohio seems to hit Western NY, too!)

jeannine said...

Of course I'm pro notes, because I have to be! I can't assume everyone knows everything about x obscure myth or y obscure folk tale or even z anime/comic book reference, but I still want those things in my poems, and you can only put so much "data" in the poems.
Plus, I'm one of those crazies who LOVES reading other poem's notes. I think the Waste Land was probably the beginning of this, but I like the little bit of "solving a mystery" feel you get from looking in the back of a book.

Steven D. Schroeder said...

I like David Foster Wallace amusing/enlightening-tangent notes and Gabriel Gudding Defense of Poetry more-mini-poems/jokes notes that are fun to read in their own right. I hate dry explanatory notes. (But I'm a filthy hypocrite because I praised the dry explanatory note section in Susan Tichy's new book. That was because a good portion of it was notes of a personal nature that I could not have looked up elsewhere.)

newzoopoet said...

I vote no notes. It's kind of like the poet who stands up at a reading and blathers on explaining the poem, what it means, who it's about, why they wrote it, etc. I always tell my students that the work should be able to stand on its own. Notes are like the writer whispering, "and..."

Sandra said...

DC is known for the 6-7 PM June thunderstorm. I like them, as long as I can be watching from my balcony versus walking home from work! No hail, thankfully.

I'm not crazy about Notes sections. Even when they are crucial...for example, the notes to Dan Chiasson's _Natural History_ are what give clear credit to Pliny the Elder--right down to borrowing phrases and imagery to flesh out Chaisson's "Elephant" poems. A second paragraph credits many more borrowed lines from more recent authors--Forrest Gander, Maxim Gorky, Desales Harrison.

Chaisson's a brilliant guy, and he steals in the most honorable tradition of T.S. Eliot. If you'd given me all this sourcing in conversation or buried in the introduction/acknowledgement pages, I'd have been fine with it. But as the last page in a book I loved? It's a little...deflating. The curtain pulled back on the wizard of Oz.

Justin Evans said...

I don't like notes. I think they are a bad habit and should be reserved for when the reader asks for them. I still read them, but with a mildly morbid (tank you Bill Logan) fascination, wondering why they mean anything to me.

Leslie said...

We've been having nearly daily t-storms, some violent, some just fun. I like 'em. As long as no trees fall on my house.

As for notes, well, I'm such a po-gossip I read everything, including notes. Mostly, if you need them, you should have them, because I feel like if your poems owe something to another writer or artist or source, you gotta fess up.

But I hate notes that are all 'look at me, aren't I well read.'

I've considered making up notes to obscure or nonexistent sources. Like, "in line 86 of the third poem, I use the word shiver in sense of the 1574 citation of the blah blah as cited (and deleted in subsequent editions) in the 1891 edition of the OED."

Jay Robinson said...

No notes for me. Unless they concern orange peels.

Eduardo C. Corral said...

I have a notes page in my mss. The notes note (ha!) the language I've stolen from other poets. It's only fair.