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Jennifer Hohensteiner


The only game I really want
to win is the one that but
for the chance of a spade
I almost do not lose. This
is what drives me to deal
one hand after another, all afternoon.
To repeat my mistakes
and my arguments. My lovers and
lyrics, the colors, the rooms,
The words of old prayers, that last
sordid affair. To revisit, rehash and redo,
give everything oh God for the chance
to renew.
And to waste my life as I strive
to perfect it.

September, 2002

Jennifer Hohensteiner's Questions:

1. Do the opening lines read smoothly or is the rhythm bumpy?

2. I have spent a lot of time wondering about the lists of things that are repeated (mistakes, lovers, etc.). Would it be more effective to stop after "lovers" and leave off the less straightforward things like "colors" and "rooms"? Or should I try for more surprising phrases and things here?

I think the line breaks could be improved in the opening line to give it a more musical quality when reading, but the meaning, to me, is not lost in the 'bumpiness'. Also, let me just say that the opening line is fantastic, especially your choice of words: "...Almost do not lose", that is slyly phrased and works well. I also think that opening line leaves the poem open to a lot of possibilities that are not explored in the rest of the poem, that it could be a longer musing of the initial line, but I am personally attracted to longer, often vague musings of things. Hope I helped some.
Jason Daniel Smith
USA - Tue Oct 15 13:17:23 2002
I don't think that the structure of the poem is necessarily a problem. I do however, have some concerns about it's rather confused message. You seem to be saying that Solitare is an easy game to win. Then it appears that the game becomes a metaphor for the "mistakes" in the life of the speaker. It might be more compelling to focus on the aspect of playing the "game", in solitude, as a way of avoiding making mistakes, avoiding any real attempt at life. Just an opinion. Thanks!!!
John Dalton
USA - Tue Oct 15 21:34:54 2002
I love the fantasy/metaphor of life as a game of cards. Perhaps tying each type card to the specifics in life (love as a queen, lost to a Jack, maybe), would make it stronger, as the connection from the card game to life's troubles is not quite made. The poem does give a visual picture, however, so you come away with an idea of life's struggles.
Dana Pertermann
USA - Sun Oct 20 07:47:19 2002
I too get mixed messages and while it is an overall poignant type of message, it is not clear. I like the idea behind it!
pam gebhard
USA - Mon Oct 21 17:24:06 2002

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