It was very like Jenny Diski’s cat in the box motif. Until you open the box there might be a cat in the box or their might not be a cat in the box or both things might be true. Right up to getting the two portfolios back and turning them over to look at the marks it might have been possible for me to get 70% or over for all my MA modules. But now I’ve seen the marks and it can never happen. I’d clawed my way up with one submission and but I didn’t with the other. I know they’re what I’ve earned but I’m still sad about the poetry, sad that I never really got it.
My feedback sheet had gone astray so I was convinced that the poetry mark reflected the effort I put into the commentary rather than the poems. But the Poet emailed me my feedback the day after and he used lovely terms like powerful and fine; who could ask for better than powerful and fine? Me, I’m deluded and I wanted 70. The criticism relates to my overuse of verbiage, too many adjectives and adverbs. And to the way I allow obsession with form (villanelle, I think rather than my best-sort pantoum) to interfere with what the poem is saying.
How true, how frustrated I am with myself, and who the hell do I think I am to deserve 70 for me peavey poems, Rimbaud? My sage friend urged me to fail better next time.
If I’d calmed down at the time I’d have stopped trying to make a villanelle out of my eldritch list - hedgehogs, giant clockwork, ziggurats, labyrinths, migraine, warts, Poll na bPeist, all that scary stuff, and just done something else with the words, insread of overwritting ‘Do not go gentle into that good night’ with my verbiage and hoping it might work.
Jenn Ashworth has been picked by Waterstone's as one of 12 new writers predicted to dominate the literary landscape in the years to come. Bloody Hell Jenn! How Wonderful.
Now Flo has been poorly too. Get well soon my mother-in-law Flo.
This week’s homework is to submit a stylistic analysis of the impact of language and grammatical decisions through a series of drafts. It is very difficult - but I’m enchanted by the notion that:
‘Unlike adjectival modifiers, determiners in the narrower sense are mutually exclusive, (really - no wonder I’m muddled!) ie they cannot co-occur with each other therefore, “The my new car”, is unacceptable in English.
Maybe unacceptable but I'm thinking powerful and fine and now I can’t stop trying to formulate other unacceptable phrases,
‘a your glass of tizer’,
‘that his tartan jacket’.
Perfect displacement activity.
So now I’ve seen the marks and it can never happen – unless of course, one of them was a mistake.
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