Tuesday, November 8, 2011

A week of reading & writing

It's the writing week in my online poetry course and the assignment was to include a reference to a piece of music in a poem. As usual I struggled and then ran out of time so I went back to my stash of work in progress and looked for an early draft of something that might be enhanced by including a musical reference. At the same time the excerpts from Jeanette Winterson’s latest autobio, read on Radio 4 last week,  were still running in my head. The result is a poem called Tales about our Mothers –the feedback will be very useful, as always.  Watch this space.

More but different work on my poetry today as I compiled a group of poems of about 200 lines total for my tutorial next week with Tamar Yoseloff … made me realise that I write very short poems (mostly) … one thing to discuss with Tammy as well as my questions about starting to put together a first collection.

I’m still reading the How to be Alone essay’s –a memorable few lines this week from The Reader in Exile as Franzen quotes Sven Birkett ‘on the initial engagement with a novel “I feel a tug, The chain has settled over the sprockets, there is a feeling of meshing, then the glide forward” … a wonderful description that works for me. Its just what happened when i started Ian Rankin’s The Corrections earlier this week … sad to see Rebus go but Fox replaces him with ease and interest.

One final thing … I’ve just discovered May Sarton’s work, I found her through a Twitter follow and now have her selected work to browse. So far I’ve read a few poems –I really admire the craft of this one. It swerves gently around the subject keeping on track with honest language and uses the sonnet form and half rhymes to effect. A great example of how to write an unsentimental elegy capable of bringing meaning  to the individual reader.

My Father's Death By May Sarton
After the laboring birth, the clean stripped hull
Glides down the ways and is gently set free,
The landlocked, launched; the cramped made bountiful--
Oh, grave, great moment when ships take the sea!
Alone now in my life, no longer child,
This hour and its flood of mystery,
Where death and love are wholly reconciled,
Launches the ship of all my history.
Accomplished now is the last struggling birth,
I have slipped out from the embracing shore
Nor look for comfort to maternal earth.
I shall not be a daughter any more,
But through this final parting, all stripped down,
Launched on the tide of love, go out full grown.

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