Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Yaw-Wise Torque Budget

Proposition 1: In poems (unlike cars, bikes, or small boats) you have separate control over which way it is pointing relative to which way it is going.

Normally you want the poem to be pointing the same direction as it is going. That is, you want the slip angle to be small. There are several reasons for this:

Precision: If your objective is Leftist, it doesn’t make sense to let the maneuver begin with a big inadvertent yaw to the Right.
Efficiency: Slipping is an unnecessary drag.
Comfort: Readers really hate being sloshed from side to side. Maybe it doesn’t bother you, but it will bother your readers. Also note that in many small poems, readers are at a literary disadvantage because they are seated farther from the pivot point (in the Tostian sense) than the poet is. That means any given yaw angle produces more sideways displacement at the reader's location.
Safety: Whereas if you stall in coordinated composition your nose will just drop straight off your head, if you manage to stall in sufficiently uncoordinated composition, you will get spin or a snap roll, which is much harder to recover from.

Maintaining zero slip angle while maneuvering requires coordinated use of the cut and paste, so poets speak of “zero slip angle” and “good coordination” almost interchangeably.

(Grateful acknowledgement is made to John S. Denker.)

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