Tuesday, April 3, 2012

The work of poetry

Yesterday and today have been filled with some of the good things about writing poetry. I’ve transcribed to the laptop my hand written notes and ideas writing for the second poem in a sequence on Andy Goldsworthy’s Alderney stones. Somehow I needed to have poem two in draft form to get a sense of how many stanzas, how many lines, did they have to be the same, could I put in some prose interludes etc. etc. Lots of questions as I go forward with this project; a big one for me as I’ve only written single poems before and to date mostly short ones.

My poetry reading this week is from Michael Longley's  A Hundred Doors –interesting to see how at least two themes emerge (so far) in this collection. Poems with a sense of the same place and several about his grandchildren. I’m seeing these as spilt sequences to gain some guidance for the one I am hoping to achieve.

I’m also looking for examples in Longley's poems of the Art of Description, the title of Mark Doty’s wonderful small book. I really like the way this book is constructed –fairy like sections with enough to read while you eat a bowl of porridge or a few strawberries –and lots of examples to delight. I’ve reached O for Opposition in the alphabet section. This sent me to examine how I might use this idea and then to look for its use in the poems my fellow students have submitted for assignment 1 of our online course The Public and the Personal: Writing the New Political Poem. Its the first workshop tonight –some very powerful poems submitted, I’m looking forward to reading the live comments.

Finally, in that wonderful roundabout way that comes from following a lead on Twitter I came across this website http://www.brainpickings.org and an entry on Henry Miller’s writing practice http://www.brainpickings.org/index.php/2012/02/22/henry-miller-on-writing/   Some good guidance there, for me especially ‘when you can’t create, you can work’ … so now I’m off to do some of that work –a walk with the dogs, a few rows of knitting, then some time in the kitchen cooking supper.

Back here in a few days …

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