Poetic Experimentation: The Reduction

At dVerse Poets today, Anna is encouraging us to experiment with poetic forms and language. I’ve chosen to ‘minimise’ or ‘reduce’ the unyieldy sauce of an old but previously unused poem.

I found my old lovers on Facebook.

They all had wives and kids>

Remarkably unpining after my charms,

nor did they realise what my fecund ideas

might have done to their lives.

Instead of world creation

bland holiday snaps.

Instead of creativity, those endless quiz results.

One had gone to seed

cow-like in pasture

happy in his ruminations,

aside from the fray.

Once angular faces now rotundly benign,

with eyes that flashed danger

now dulled by routine

and contentment.


The reduced form of this is as follows:

Old lovers on Facebook,

all partnered, with kids,

no pining for my charms,

or fecund ideas.

Creativity reduced to quizzes.

Rumination in pastures.

Dangerous angles rotundly benign.

Routine contentment now ruling their world.





29 thoughts on “Poetic Experimentation: The Reduction”

  1. Love the first poem a lot … that idea of how we change.. maybe sometimes the same changes in ourselves that we do not see..

    Love this line which made me smile “Dangerous angles rotundly benign.”


  2. Funny how time can change our perspective, smiles ~ Admiring the reduced poems specially:

    Dangerous angles rotundly benign.
    Routine contentment now ruling their world.

  3. Oh, this has so much to it, Marina Sofia! We do really change over the years, don’t we? And I like the way you describe the Facebook environment.

  4. I like how the persona reflects on Facebook. An obviously smart person who does not seem to realize that what you see there may have very little to do with the real lives of the ‘old lovers’. Both poems work well.

    1. What – you mean people would… gasp… exaggerate things on Facebook? Just to put themselves in a good light? No! Shock! Horror! I have to admit I’m a bit fed up with FB, although I do like getting updates from some good friends who live far away.

  5. So very true in both versions. As I read, I think to myself: And yes, it has all come to this. When in one’s youth one dreamed about ‘world creation’ in the end it turns out to be the facebook quizzes that occupies one’s time. And, as Bill said, where is the fire that once was? I like the second version best. Has all the main points, but a stronger more pointed presentation.

  6. ha. well, there is another reason for me not to be on facebook…lol….in the second one, i like creativity reduced to quizzes — it made me chuckle…and the dangerous angles rotundly benign…i dont know that i like either of these better….there is some humour to dull the edge of the reality of it…ha…shivers

  7. for whatever reason…even though my life is good…there is disappointment in seeing that former flames (or those we WISH had been former flames) have good lives now too…
    great piece!

  8. haha…ok i think i have to type in some names into fb search…ha
    would be interesting to see what they’re up to…though on second thought – i don’t really wanna know…smiles

  9. I agree that both work well though the bite in the second appeals for the lines much quoted above. The psychological complexity of the speaker is a bit diminished in the second but still present. Reduction can work wonders for some poems and not others tis true so really your judgment is best. One of the best parts about experimenting is to find for ourselves what we love most about poetry and understand how we use it in our own work. Facebook really is a fascinating and disturbing space. How people represent their digital life is always interesting and you give us a feast in a compact space here!

    1. Thank you, Anna, and for such an interesting prompt. I feel I took the easy way out with a reduction, but I’ll be back with an Oulipo when I have time.

  10. Both are good but I like the bite in the reduction. Excellent – “Creativity reduced to quizzes. Rumination in pastures.” Oh how I like these lines. Those idiotic games where one trades livestock or a quiz to determine which Beatle you are….don’t get me started. I was on FB two weeks and fled. I’ve had friends say, but I’m on FB…and I reply, so send me an email and attach those incredibly boring pics of your vacation/son/daughter/grandchildren/new car. I liked the bite and sarcasm so much in the reduction. Can you tell? also, Hayes Spencer is the google sign in for Kanzensakura.

  11. Oh, I love it in both versions — and yes, the reduction is even more to the point. 🙂

  12. This is great fun 🙂 I blocked all the posts about farms and circuses and fish and whatever other nonsense games people play on FB…If someone needs a goat for Farmville, they can harrass someone else for it 😛

  13. Interesting transformation – I saw this prompt but couldn’t join in, but your example inspires me to work on something.

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