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Lamont Palmer Male, 53, United States (7/3/2013 3:08:00 PM)

The Jumping Boy

by Geoffrey Hill

Here is the jumping boy, the boy
who jumps as I speak.
He is at home on the king’s highway,
in call of the tall house, its blind
gable end, the trees—I know this place.
The road, on broad contourings drawn out of sight,
stops—wherever—but not at Lyonnesse,
though from Lyonnesse I shall bring you,
through grimed orchards, across gorse-hummocked
old common land everywhere given back
to the future of memory.


He leaps because he has serious
joy in leaping. The girl’s
eyes no way allowed for, or else
she is close in covert and we
are to know that, not knowing how.
I’ll bet she worships his plebeian
bullet head, Hermes’ winged
plimsolls, the crinkled toy tin hat
held on by elastic. He is winning
a momentous and just war
with gravity.

From the poem 'The Jumping Boy'.

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  • Freshman - 644 Points Jefferson Carter (7/4/2013 10:46:00 AM) Post reply | Read 1 reply
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    Lamont, I'm jumping back out of the on-going (pointless) thread about the difference between prose and poetry and just saying this here: your comment about Joyce's " poetic prose" is right on! No matter how " poetic" (a perfectly legitimate though slippery term) the writing is, it's STILL prose! ! ! Why? Because it's organized by paragraphs! My argument is against using the term " poetry" to mean writing of the highest order, implying, as you do, prose means writing of a lesser order, reserved for exposition and the more mundane tasks. Open your mind, considr what you're really saying and let the sunshine in....

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    • Freshman - 644 Points Lamont Palmer (7/4/2013 1:46:00 PM) Post reply | Read 1 reply

      I'm sure Stevens and WCW never fully agreed on these issues either. And certainly not Buk and Merrill. And I suppose neither will we, since we've been going at it from 2005. In the end, the work speak ... more

  • Freshman - 644 Points Jefferson Carter (7/3/2013 7:43:00 PM) Post reply | Read 1 reply

    Lamont, I really like these sections. The strange syntax and GREAT diction really energize the experience, " plebeian bullet-head, " " crinkled toy tin hat" —truly original phrasings. I do love these lines, their tonal shifts, just beautiful. WHAT I'd like you to do is STOP declaring " this can't be prose because of the unusual syntax." Don't you get tired of your own mulishness? I do. If these words were arranged in paragraphs, they'd be PROSE! ! ! ! Really original prose, with fresh syntax, but prose nevertheless. Of course, it would lose the advantages of line breaks and line rhythms, so it would be dumb to re-write as prose.

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    • Freshman - 644 Points Lamont Palmer (7/3/2013 8:39:00 PM) Post reply | Read 3 replies

      Your contention that the only distinction between poetry and prose is merely how its laid out on the page is utterly ridiculous. No one would write an essay or a novel using that syntactical arrangeme ... more

  • Freshman - 837 Points Lamont Palmer (7/3/2013 6:33:00 PM) Post reply

    In no way does the syntax in this poem match the direct, straightforward syntax of prose. Not even close. But nice try. -LP

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