Some houseguests were consumed by the lutefisk as well.
Turns out, inside, there was a poetry workshop going on in there!
They all sort of ignored me, because they were getting into an argument at the time.
"You see," said Linda, "the English language contains two words for everything. One word to tacitly indicate approval of the concept, and another to imply a pejorative."
"Not true," growled Stan, "the English language actually has three words for everything. A Germanic word, from the original English, which bears a common, working-class practicality. A French word, from the Norman invasion, which has a smoother air. Lastly, a Latin word, from the Renaissance, which carries a scientific detachment."
Raymond stroked his mid-sized gray beard and quipped, "Actually, there's four words for everything in the English language. One, a word that indicates the speaker disapproves. Two, a Latin-based word that bears a scientific detachment. Three, a word that birds can understand, but which ultimately will earn the enmity of those birds, even if it takes months of soap opera-style drama to reach that point. And four, a word used by marketing and advertising departments that actually doesn't mean much at all."
Stan blustered a moment, "Look, we're getting off-topic."
Everyone glared at him for a moment, then Rochelle finally asked, "What is the topic?"
Stan laid it down. "My balanced-scorecard management method of poetry optimization."
Here's a paraphrase of what Stan said, since explaining verbatim would require showing all the charts and graphs he used, and they're copyrighted.
------------ BEGIN STAN'S THEORY HERE --------------
Of course, poetry and poetry innovation must be put forward by poets, but by applying simply principles of management, it's possible to provide meaningful feedback for poets to improve their works.
I propose a metric system in which the contents of the poem are measured against certain presumably-desirable traits, such that a poet can properly analyze their work, find portions of their enterprise which require attention, and enable them to highlight their core competencies. For this, I introduce the poetic balanced scorecard.
This is best explained by example.
Consider the poem "First Fig" by Edna St. Vincent Millay, and let's apply these metrics. Resource use: Four lines, one stanza, twenty-five words, twenty-seven syllables. Values added: One metaphor ("Fire is Life"), one metric and rhyme scheme (ABCB, alternative iambic triameter and tetrameter, meter slightly distorted in 25% of the lines), one voice (fond congeniality), and one moral lesson. Sum total of 1.25 values added per line, or, if you prefer, 18.5 percent values added per syllable.
Now, let's compare to, say, Shelley's Ozymandias. Resource use: Fourteen lines, three stanzas plus a closing couplet, one hundred and eight syllables, and one hundred and forty-one syllables. Values added: two metaphors ("Desert is Transitoriality", "Myth is Archetype"), two metrics and one rhyme scheme (ABCB with a closing couplet, iambic pentameter, meter disorted by syllable count in 14.2% of lines and by syllable stress in 7.1% of lines), three voices (narrator's anecdotal, source's nihilism, and historical figure's hubris), one cultural reference, and two moral lessons. Sum total of .64 values add per line, or 6.3 percent values added per syllable.
Now, these metrics can't provide the innovation: only a poet can do that, but they provide poets with the ability to compare poetic strategies, identify their works against industry standards, and track their progress and improvement.
------------- END STAN'S THEORY HERE ---------------
Stan was immediately beaten up and sold to a glue factory.
Then the ninjas showed up.