Friday, July 29, 2011


You have noticed, no doubt, that I broke my promise to post more poems soon. The big reason for this is that I have been slacking in the writing department. I did spend a little time reading and a lot of time living life, but wasn't it just a few months ago that I wrote a poem every single day? Why can't I even do a seventh as much work?

Well, no more. Naomi Shihab Nye, a poet I admire, has chastened me. In a recent discussion (it's only 3 minutes long to watch, and less than that to read) Nye commented on the importance of not only reading and collecting poetry, but of responding to it--of writing. I've let nearly a month go by without doing either, and I'm getting back on the bandwagon. Verses and voices will be drifting your way.

Though most of the reason I didn't post is that I simply did not give time to writing, part of it is an unwillingness to share what I did manage to get onto paper.

An example is the preceding post "Ten Over." I wrote half of it and stopped, not liking it. It's still not what I would call my best work, but I've reconciled myself to posting it. The problem is not so much with what the poem is, but with what I expected it to be. When I started writing, I had something specific in mind that I wanted to accomplish with the poem, and in the process of writing it the poem became something else entirely. This actually happens more often than not in my writing, that a work grows to become something all its own, in spite of any plans I may have had for it at the outset. Often this is what gives life to the poem, or what saves it from being horribly contrived. I go back and read it again, wondering where all those great images came from.

But other times it is disappointing. I started three poems this month (which tells you that even if I'd finished all of them I would still owe you several posts) but didn't finish any of them in one sitting. What happened to letting the blog be a place for rough drafts and spontaneity? What happened to being confident that hardly anyone reads it anyway, so there's no reason to be embarrassed about anything I post?

I'll see what I can do. Or, more to the point, what the poems can do. You'll be the first to know.

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