Film Noir–for dVerse Critique


Film Noir

Image by Grumbler %-| via Flickr

Film Noir

Radiance cuts through
a haze of smoke.
The room is full of bad guys.
Heads turn
when you walk in.
Evil disrobes
itself of ugliness—
evil masked
in moonlight.

We inhabit a world
cast in black and white.
Values
of gray.
Life in shadowed frames
backlit
by the moon.

Femme fatale,
a leaf tossed about
in the wind,
I hand myself over to you
and wind up
in the gutter.

Convoluted roads
we follow.
Convoluted plots
shaded in deception.
Double-crossed
left to die
next to a pile of garbage
in the corner
of a stinkin’ alley.

Because of you
I accept
my wasted life.
Another
unhappy
ending.

I penned this poem for a prompt that asked us to write about the moon. I liked the subject because those old black and white movies dealing with bad guys and gals always took advantage of the dark, backlit by the moon, to create a sense of eerieness and even evil. That being said, I didn’t quite feel like I pulled it off…it seems a bit forced. Rip it apart, if you will. I’d like to see it work.

Thank you, Luke, for hosting this week’s critique and for all you do for our development as poets.

Advertisements

32 thoughts on “Film Noir–for dVerse Critique

  1. oceangirl says:

    Hello Victoria, I liked this a lot. I watched the movie scene by scene. I like, in the wind, I hand myself over to you, but of course, I would love a happy ending:)

    Like

  2. Jamie Dedes says:

    Bravo! I love film noir and how original to celebrate it in poem. I don’t think I’ve read another like it. Enjoyed much.

    I don’t think its too long and as for redundancy: maybe that’s about making a point. I didn’t find it jarring. If you are uncomfortable, maybe this is a draft from your perspective and still needs work. Just a thought. Sometimes when I’m not comfortable, I eventually realize it’s not the poem, just that the work isn’t finished ….

    Happy days, dear Victoria. Poem on … Hope all is going well with book and new editor.

    Jamie

    Like

  3. S Basu says:

    what an amazing imagination! hats off! i have not been online for quite a few days, now back again, will have to miss some works of you guys. will try to catch up later.

    loved the way your imagination went wild.

    Like

  4. David King says:

    I’ve been back a few times to re-read this poem, which I like immensely. I have seen it slightly differently on each occasion, so I am hesitant about offering too much by way of critique. I would, though – if the poem was mine – consider rewriting the ‘convoluted roads, convoluted plots’ stanza. The poem needs it – or something like it – but I do feel that it is not up to the standard of the rest of the poem. Sorry not to have been more helpful. Ignore it if you don’t agree!

    Like

  5. Luke Prater says:

    great piece, looks like I’ve nothing to add that hasn’t be said already! Poem on, V x

    Like

  6. Thanks, Ms. Calif! One thing that I believe is so important about crit is to allow time between when you receive it and when you edit. Everything we “create” is ours and we have the final word. I, personally, like you, like to use articles etc. because I think they tend to make it more understandable. On the other hand, I do believe there is room for some tightening. Probably, I’ll end up with a hybrid form of what’s been suggested. Thanks so much for your insight.

    Like

  7. I like the poem and can’t find anything to criticise.

    Like

  8. David King says:

    I think this so good that I offer only one thought: good though they all are, I think stanza three is SO exceptional that I would consider making it the first verse.

    Like

  9. uma says:

    As usual I enjoy your works..has intense subject in it .Like all ,I can never critique your work as this work is entirely dependent upon your thoughts and more over I ‘m just half way through learning

    Like

  10. Claudia says:

    wow – you already got lots of good suggestions…the only thing i would add..think i would cut “We inhabit” in stanza two and just make it…a world…and i don’t like the word “stinkin'” in here…no doubt it was a stinking alley but for me it disturbs the mood…and you painted a fine and dark mood here…a mood of evil and fogs and intrigues..it smells of different things…adventure, darkness, moistness, fog, whiskey etc…and the stinking overlays the other finely pointed out smells for me…sorry for my bad english in the crit…still wrapped up in the mood of the piece..which i like a lot..

    Like

  11. Aida says:

    Hi Victoria, this is a such a slap on the face! I love it. I’m turning my other cheek! 🙂 I think that this is the axis of this poem and of life’s unfairness, too:

    “I hand myself over to you
    and wind up
    in the gutter.”

    Such perfect bluntness!

    Like

  12. I really love your idea for this poem, and I think some of the other poets have given some great suggestions for improvement so there is very little for me to add but look forward to the end result! 🙂

    Like

  13. beckykilsby says:

    Victoria… this a great subject. I love how you explore the black and whites and shades of grey by using B & W movies as a trigger… v. effective.

    As far as pruning goes…my thoughts are very much along the lines of Beth and Christi, primarily:

    Second evil not required
    I would lose the second Convoluted and go straight to plots
    I like the notion of a leaf being carried without agency by the wind, but wonder about tossed, which feels a little too familar…maybe something stronger like buffeted or spat?

    Maybe re-write the opening of S2:

    Our world is cast
    in black and white.
    Values of gray.
    Shadowed frames
    backlit by the moon. = love the weight of association here

    I also wonder about the closing lines, especially unhappy…there is scope for a more vivid word than unhappy, perhaps picking up on the theme of garbage or waste or of someone else writing your script (editing).. something like ‘clipped’ ?

    These are just a few ideas… you have a strong central idea, which progresses very effectively for me and I’m looking forward to seeing what you do next.

    Like

  14. zongrik says:

    I hand myself over to you
    wind up
    in the gutter.

    WOW I know this guy.

    Like

  15. I also love those movies, the suggestions at scenes that allow imagination to fill in the colors. Your poem captures it well. A few suggestions if you don’t mind, mostly paring words and cutting out redundancies:

    Radiance cuts through
    a haze of smoke. (smoky haze)
    The room is full of bad guys. (this line isn’t needed, The next few explain fully)
    Heads turn
    when you walk in. (not needed)
    Evil disrobes
    itself of ugliness— (brilliant)
    evil masked (repeating evil? maybe another word like vile)
    in moonlight.

    We inhabit a world (I think I’d remove this line)
    cast in black and white.
    Values
    of gray.
    Life in shadowed frames
    backlit
    by the moon.

    Femme fatale,
    a leaf tossed about
    in the wind,
    I hand myself over to you
    and wind up
    in the gutter.

    Convoluted roads
    we follow. (I’d remove this line)
    Convoluted plots
    shaded in deception.
    Double-crossed (stanza break)
    left to die
    next to a pile of garbage
    in the corner
    of a stinkin’ alley.

    Because of you
    I accept (remove this one)
    my wasted life.
    Another
    unhappy
    ending.

    So, consider this edited version:

    Radiance slices
    smoky haze
    Evil disrobes
    itself of ugliness—
    despair masked
    in moonlight,

    cast
    in black and white,
    values of gray,

    shadowed frames
    backlit
    by the moon.

    Femme fatale,
    a leaf tossed about
    in the wind,
    I hand myself over to you
    and wind up
    in the gutter.

    Convoluted roads,
    convoluted plots,
    shaded in deception.
    Double-crossed,

    left to die
    next to a pile of garbage
    in the corner
    of a stinkin’ alley.

    Because of you,
    life wasted,
    another
    unhappy
    ending.

    Just some thoughts. Feel free to use or not. I love the poem as it is, just thought to pare it down some. Have a wonderful evening!

    Beth

    Like

    • Thanks so much Beth. I love your paring…it was much needed. I really appreciate you taking the time to work this.

      Like

    • zongrik says:

      how about

      Radiance
      slices
      smoky haze.

      Evil
      disrobes
      ugliness.

      despair
      masked
      in moonlight,

      WHICH SETS A PATTERN WITH THE NEXT TWO LITTLE STANZAS:

      cast
      in black and white,
      values of gray,

      shadowed frames
      backlit
      by the moon.

      THEN TAKE THE NEXT ONE AND BREAK IT TO THREES

      Femme fatale,
      a leaf tossed about
      in the wind,

      I hand myself over to you
      and wind up
      in the gutter.

      THEN AFTER THAT, EITHER KEEP THE THREES, AND DO A LITTLE REWRITE, OR YOU COULD NUMBER THE SECTIONS AND THE NEXT PART CAN BE SECTION TWO.

      HOWEVER, THIS COULD WORK IN THREES TOO

      Convoluted:
      roads,
      plots,

      Shaded
      in deception:
      Double-crossed,

      left to die
      next to
      a pile of garbage.

      stinkin’
      in the corner
      of an alley.

      Because
      of you,
      life wasted,

      Another
      unhappy
      ending.

      Like

  16. christi moon says:

    Hello Victoria– I really enjoyed the ominous and edgy tone in this piece.

    I do think that you have a bit of redundant wording/phrasing and that this poem would benefit from a bit of snipping. I have taken some liberties—please feel free to disregard my feedback if it does not work for you.

    Radiance cuts through
    a haze of smoke.
    [The] room [is] full of bad guys.
    Heads turn
    when you walk in.
    Evil disrobes
    itself of ugliness—
    [evil] masked
    in moonlight.

    [We] inhabit a world
    cast in black and white.
    Values
    of gray.
    [Life in] shadowed frames
    backlit
    by the moon.

    Femme fatale,
    [a ]leaf tossed about
    in the wind,
    I hand myself over to you
    [and] wind up
    in the gutter.

    Convoluted roads
    we follow.
    [Convoluted plots]
    shaded in deception.
    Double-crossed
    left to die
    next to a pile of garbage
    in the corner
    of a stinkin’ alley.

    Because of you
    I accept
    my wasted life.
    Another
    unhappy
    ending.

    (so would look like)

    Radiance cuts through
    a haze of smoke.
    room full of bad guys.
    Heads turn
    when you walk in.
    Evil disrobes
    itself of ugliness—
    masked
    in moonlight.

    inhabit a world
    cast in black and white.
    Values
    of gray.
    shadowed frames
    backlit
    by the moon.

    Femme fatale,
    leaf tossed about
    in the wind,
    I hand myself over to you
    wind up
    in the gutter.

    Convoluted roads
    we follow.
    shaded in deception.
    Double-crossed
    left to die
    next to a pile of garbage
    in the corner
    of a stinkin’ alley.

    Because of you
    I accept
    my wasted life.
    Another
    unhappy
    ending.

    This stanza really stands out for me Victoria:

    inhabit a world
    cast in black and white.
    Values
    of gray.
    shadowed frames
    backlit
    by the moon.

    Nicely penned!

    Like

  17. Very little to suggest. I love the intensity and the great economy of language. If I’d written it, I would have punctuated it differently, but perhaps, that’s just because I’m not you. By any poetic standard this is a very accomplished write.

    Like

  18. Jeff says:

    I like the ‘grittiness’ of the language. I think it consistent with your theme and there is a pulsing rhythm to your poem that creates a foreboding.

    If anything the jump from the movies to ‘reality’ in the last stanza seems a bit abrupt but I think I’m trying too hard to find room for improvement (because you asked me to).

    It’s pretty nice the way it is.

    I like it . . a lot.

    Cheers

    Like

    • Thanks, Jeff. I actually wrote this while watching a movie…can’t remember which one. But in the end, but the detective and the femme fatale got offed. She had led him down the slippery slope.

      Like

  19. I really liked this poem. I am just a beginner, therefore I would not know how to critique. I wish I could be more value to you with this. I just enjoy all your writing.

    Like

    • I would never have thought you were a beginner! Wow!

      Like

      • I see by the comments, many want to condense the poem. I guess that is the popular theme I see in many poems. I love words. I like to be taken by the hand and swim within a poem. Perhaps my left and right sides of my brain lack the connection. One day I might explore free form, use less words. I like the challange of form, it makes one really think of what word to use to convey many feelings, as so with free verse. I would love to see more form used sometimes. BUT being that said, this poem of your is brilliant! IMHO

        Like

Your comment and feedback are important to me. Thank you.

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s