poetry critical

online poetry workshop

If James Dean hadn’t died

he might be idling in a diner, staring
down at his mug, coffee dregs gathered
at the bottom into a misshapen star -
Hopper’s poor man version of Americana.
he might be making special appearances
on forgotten games shows, snubbed
for center square by some Dallas actor.
he might be damning Dennis for stealing
Easy Rider, his svelte stomach now swollen
by Schlitz, his head a hazy valium dome.
if he hadn’t swerved left, avoided the brunt
of dark oak, gone forty instead of sixty,
he might’ve kept driving, sloping down
the road, dwindling to a stained still,
a red dot on the twilit horizon.

17 Oct 09

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he might be lost in some beat old people's home in montana, with heart-to-heart pictures of marlon on his bedtable and nothing but a view of the airport motel 6 out the window, and maybe a copy of a poem written about him carl shapiro or somebody titled 'if james dean hadn't died'...
 — trashpoodle

yeah, he wouldn't because he wasn't really into poetry -- he was kind of dumb that way, mostly into guys and action. not a poet.
 — trashpoodle

that's one way of reading it. it'd be neat to know how you read wallace stevens.
 — trashpoodle

 — andyleggett

"yeah, he wouldn't because he wasn't really into poetry -- he was kind of dumb that way, mostly into guys and action. not a poet."

james dean was not dumb. also, this poem has more to do with mass culture's perception of jimmy rather than what he was really portraying on film. i don't think some people "get" dean, nor do they want to. it takes a certain person to appreciate him.
 — a2b489

who's stating that he's dumb?
 — unknown

so, tell me again why you're writing this poem about him? if mass culture is dumb, but he's smart, but it's not about him but about mass culture? so, that would mean that mass culture intuited that he was smart -- maybe from the way he looks in movies -- but, you're able to intuit beyond them because you've read mass-culture biographies -- or seem PBS specials -- on james dean?

but, as poets -- conscious writers -- why would we think anything at all about him and not about a million other brooding bisoxuary males hustling a career in the 40's and 50's? millions.
 — trashpoodle

the question was directed to a2b
 — unknown

that's right. but, it opens up the dialog so that more can be said. what can be said about james dean? that he was an actor and that actor's are the problem, for a writer, not the solution. you can only hope for the best.
 — trashpoodle

maybe you're not understanding, I have zero desire to hear what you have to say.

a2b, if you revisit this poem, please respond, thanks
 — unknown

maybe you're not aware that this isn't a chat-room or a social network, and that it's only about writing craft. the point of actors is that they perform our work for us. additionally, the role of a movie actor is to just stand there and reflect light.

what's worthless in this poem is that i don't know if you're lusting after dean's karma or lusting for fame as a poet here in p.c.

if you want to be a poet, talk about your poem and stop desiring airhead complements from airheads.
 — trashpoodle

i don't understand why you feel it's okay to talk so condescendingly, this is exactly why i don't respect your "suggestions" nor do i want to hear anything you have to say, i know this isn't a chat room, i wanted to get feedback from a2b, stay out of it, i too have every right to ask you not to make a comment on my writing if i want to...

i don't care for you because you are not objective in your feedback but want to prove how "clever" you are with your responses, i have no want, urge or desire to indulge your self-righteous attitude leave me the F**K alone
 — unknown

well, 'understanding' comes with age, so don't give up hope. so, you don't get the idea that this is a writers workshop site and not a dumpster? we're supposed to talk about how the poem is made and what it's good for and who wrote it and why. i'm totally objective, and maybe that's what the problem for you is -- that 'objective' means comment on your spelling and telling you what a genius you are for liking james dean. i'd rather respect you for being a poet and having to write a good poem.
 — trashpoodle

how dense are you? it seems like your id runs wild,  I don't care for your comments because they're in no way constructive, I know the purpose of this site, I just don't want to have anything to do with you, I'm more than happy to hear anyone else's input and suggestions, the more critiques the better,

i simply don't care for yours, get it??? You, alone, have nothing to offer. I'm not making a general statement to all the members, this is specifically to you, I don't want you to comment on this piece because you do not offer any help just offenses.

Do you get it now?
 — unknown

you don't control the comments page. once you post your poem it's open to any kind of comment. what you'll get from me is comment on craft, if it's a good poem, or comments on its meaning and necessity, if it fails as a poem.

i'm writing my comments for the other writers here, and they'll comment on your poem or on my comment. of, maybe, they'll not even look at this poem at all because the title didn't work for them. i looked at it and commented. i gave you a ten so that it would stay up here and be commented on by other people. some of them may think this is wonderful. that's just how it goes here: you have to let everyone comment on your writing the way they do.

if you want to show me how conscious you are as a poet, comment on my poetry -- it's there and available, and whatever you find in it, i hope you'll talk about as poet to poet.

 — trashpoodle

this poem's preceeding set of comments is dumb.
 — a2b489