Thursday, July 28, 2005

Manuscript title mayhem

I'm hoping for a big response to this post, so rally the troops. I'm (once again) changing the title of my manuscript, which I just can't seem to get right. First it was catastrophe, which I like a lot but severalf others didn't, then face the asking dance which I got some good responses to but I'm not sold on and neither is Simone, who is currently and graciously reading my manuscript for me (what a doll!!!). So here's her suggestion, torn ever so gently from my poem "Face the Asking Dance" :

eye, electric field

I like it a lot. The comma bothers me though for some reason and I'm contemplating

eye electric field

for various reasons. Or maybe with caps.

Eye Electric Field

Or if commas are your thing

eye, electric, field

which I think is slightly intriguing. But I need some help fo reals, peeps. Let me know what your vote is PLEASE. Don't be shy.


Scott Glassman said...

Mackenzie, I really like "face the asking dance" --moreso than "eye the electric" or any variations, there's something too I don't know, mechanical maybe? about it. "face the asking dance" flows and suggests something ritualistic, hurried and unhurried at the same time. I always thought having a title of three verbs separated by commas would be cool: "Face, Ask, Dance"
something along those lines.

poetzie said...

Thanks Scott! I knew I could count on you. Simone also suggested "The Asking Dance" which is less didactic that "Face the asking Dance. I like "Face, Ask, Dance" too. maybe "face, ask, dance" Dance may be too celebratory for the tone of this collection, though.

brandijay said...

Hey Mackenzie,

I wasn't sure about the title either... if you like Simone's suggestion, then my favorite is "Eye, Electric, Field."

However, I'm more of a fan of just "The Asking Dance." It's intriguing... makes me want to know what "the asking dance" is...

Just my thoughts!

Justin Evans said...

Not having read a single poem from your manuscript, I feel somewhat over-qualified to answer this question, so I will speak from the perspective of an interesting workshop I attended three years ago, part of which dealt specifically with titles. The presenter, William Kloefkorn, who is Nebraska's state poet, argued for titles with action. That is, action in the grammatical sense. With that in mind, the obvious choice is "Face the Asking Dance." The title brings up a lot, even without having read the poetry, or knowing what it might refer to. The other titles fail to make me wonder and ponder what the book is about. Quite frankly, the other titles do not inspire me to pick up the book anywhere close to the title, "Face the Asking Dance." I am safely saying this because scott has said it before, but it is still the better title.

Lorna Dee Cervantes said...

Mackenzie, I'd LOVE to see the ms. (many hugs to Simone!) It's too hard commenting on a title without seeing the collection.

Of the choices, I would think "Eye Electric" just imagining the poems I know. Or, reversing the word order: "Field Eye Electric." Commas, if forced to them, might be too directing; if you need to, go with slashes. But then, I've long been into slash & burn poetics myself these days. Although good suggestions, all, just from the poems I've seen, I would agree that "Dance" might be too celebratory, and too light, for this collection. Maybe keep "Eye," "Electric," and "Field" as working titles for manuscript sections?

"Facing the Asking"

This comes to me just thinking of your poems (& your special strength) (yes, an inner strength that's gemlike) and the idea of a poem being a form of "facing the asking" which also implies masks & renewals.

youki said...


I'm only commenting here because you have so many contradictory opinions:) (I expected this; it's exactly what I went through); however, I'm really surprised that you have any takers for "Face the Asking Dance" for all the reasons I gave. hmmm. Shows you what I know.

However, I do think whatever you decide will be wonderful, but I highly doubt this will be your final title. To give a weigh in, Kevin Smith, Jackie White, Kristy Odelius and I all think it should definitely be something else. We all had the same response as to the heavy-handedness of it; its overly poetickal nature: "hey look at me I'm poetry". But, I like your latest idea as well. Hope this helps instead of adding to the mayhem. Yikes!

youki said...

It's me again, procrastinating:) I meant to add, that I like "Face, Ask, Dance" better than "Face the Asking Dance." It's still a lot of hissing but it's quicker and more evocative because the reader has to make the leaps instead of being commanded.

I like Lorna's idea as well "Field Eye Electric" (Hi Ms. Lorna!!)

I also like your new idea "leave, light, entropy"; however, my favorite is still:

"eye electric field" (I think I prefer it without the comma as you do). It sizzles!

I'm ready for a big frothing margarita:)