Thursday, March 22, 2007

I've Forgotten How to Write a Poem

As many of you might have noticed (or maybe not), Kate has been the primary poster on this blog for a long time. It seems that I abandoned writing on the blog as soon as I was overcome with writers block. Although, I don't know if that's an apt term. What's happened to me, you see, is that I finished my novel. It seems very strange after working on a project for so long, such a unified project for so long, to begin anything again. I managed to avoid this anxiety by avoiding writing for several years by preparing to apply to graduate school, applying to graduate school, and then reapplying to graduate school, and intermittantly searching for publishers for my novel, which I will add is a grueling and discouraging task and which I have managed unsuccessfully to this point. In any case, though for a time I was surprised at how "ok" I was at not writing, suddenly, now, I miss it. And I miss, most of all, poetry. I was really angry at poetry for a while, the result of graduate school in creative writing, but now I truly miss it. But before I started writing the novel my poetry got pretty crappy, as if what I needed couldn't happen there. So it's been a really long time since I've written a poem I've liked. And yesterday I tried, I think whole heartedly, and it was crappy. So I realize that one writes a lot of crappy things when one is searching for the right new form for oneself. But I've been thinking how to make this process less painful, how to make it like sketching for a painter. The best idea I have is to read poems I like and then imitate them without thinking that the imitations are real work. My idea at the moment is that if I just let myself play without pressure perhaps I will remember how to write a poem again, or I will learn a new way to write a poem again. I am open to any other advice.

5 comments:

David Buuck said...

http://artbollocks.wordpress.com/2007/03/14/writing-prompts/

Julie said...

also these might help. i could so sympathize with what you said about being angry at poetry, and then missing it so much. good luck.
julie

judy j said...

first off, let me say that i'm often amazed when i see your work, and i'm working here to avoid sounding overly worshipful just because i've only seen one bit of your novel twice; although i've only heard you read it in person once and read the same segment in some journal once, i like what i've seen both times, so maybe it wouldn't be too much of an overstatement to say that whenever i see your work, i'm amazed. second, let me say that four years is a long time. four years is a long time to do anything, almost; live in one place, know a person, write on a novel, etc. also four years is a very short time, almost no time at all. this makes sense to me because i've worked on a novel for four years and sometimes it seems to me like i haven't gotten anywhere with it at all, that every time i say "i'm finished," i'm actually just pissed off that this is what i know how to do best with my life; or that every time i come back to it, because i do come back to it, so much has changed in life that the work must change now, too - but it's not about me, it's about the people who read it, which at this point stands as exactly one. so you may not want to pay attention to anything i have to say. regardless, i will tell you what i'd like to think works for me when it comes to poetry, because for the past year i worked in a library where i scanned old books, page by page, one spread every seven seconds, for eight hours a day five days a week, and all those 'translation' games that julie gave leant me some sense that going insane was not my only option. And to avoid wasting time with nonsense, i also started writing with my left hand while scanning with my right hand, and what came out of that was different. i guess the point of that anecdote is that language is a stabilization exercise, as sam delaney says, and doing it for yourself can be enough, while doing it for others can be great, too. so in that sense i've sat down and written lists of all the people i've lived with, all the landlords i've had, all the people who've argued with me, all the people to whom i'm related, and said that hey i'm going to write one poem for each person, either describing them to a stranger or telling them what i think - which is all bosh, of course, pointless and useless, which i suppose is why we do it.

NY Radical said...

You need your novel published? You want me to ask John A. Ware to represent you? He probably would.

rozydesouza said...

great ..thanks for sharing.....


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Rozydesouza
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