Loren Eiseley tribute sonnet / Dennis M. Hammes
Posted in the Poetry Forum
Since: Dec 08
"Loren Eiseley was an archaeologist who dug mostly in the western U.S., one of a few whose work I've followed "rather more or less" (with Dart, Broom, Lorenz, Leakey, Leakey, and Leakey). He also wrote at least three slim volumes of poems he insisted were not to be published, but his wife sneaked them to us, the last posthumously (thank her; they're worthy)..." -Dennis M. Hammes
Read the poem here:
Since: Dec 08
Dennis M. Hammes was a poet friend of mine, who passed away a few years ago.
Dennis M. Hammes,(April 8, 1945 - December 23, 2008) was an American poet.
He was a 1963 graduate of Park Rapids High School, Park Rapids, Minnesota. Hammes was the author of several books of poetry, published in pdf and available for download from his online publishing company, Scrawlmark. He was well-known in Usenet as a regular contributor to the newsgroups alt.arts.poetry.com ments and rec.arts.poems.
Dennis M. Hammes
Hammes was a prolific writer of many forms of verse, in particular the haiku and the sonnet.
His master work was an epic series of sonnets which is loosely based on the legendary Orphic trilogy, and parallels the story of the trials of Orpheus but within a landscape of contemporary events. The three sequences of the sonnet series are:
Sonnets to Eurydice
The Women of Thrace
The Singing Head
There are over 900 sonnets in the series.
There's some amazing writing in there. I did learn a lot from watching how he rewrote lines and added new ones, and seeing the improvements before my eyes. He built in some great consonance -- the p's in S2 and t's in S3 -- just read it out loud and watch them pop out. I could go on and on about each line he wrote, but I'll limit it to one example that shows his talent; the rhyme in LL7-8: From every jealous Dick and peeping Tom, it Gushed, the prophet-zealot-preacher vomit. The problem here was to come up with a rhyme for 'vomit'. First, Dennis moved 'vomit' to L8, so it looks like the rhyme we came up with, rather than the word to be rhymed. That's just standard good writing; but look at what Dennis came up to rhyme it with! Because "Tom" works so well there, on so many levels (from "Tom, Dick, and Harry" to the Lady Godiva association), the reader can see that "Tom" has to be the word used there -- that "it" has to be pulled up from the next line, just to make it scan -- and therefore "vomit" has to be the rhyme the poet came up with: a truly inspired rhyme, rather than the word we were looking to fit in. And look what pulling "it" up did for "Gushed"; it becomes the first word, and gets capitalized; the second-most prominent word in the line after "vomit". Dennis was a master craftsman, and one can learn a lot about the craft by reading his poems.-George Dance on the poem Hollywood Slut
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