Saturday, December 29, 2012

Is Writing a Poem Like Shoveling Snow or Poem-a-Day 15

Embroiled as I am in my poem a day project, I must write a poem today. So far I have written 10 poems for 14 days. On two days I wrote two poems trying to make up for my trip to NJ when I wrote nothing. Are they all real poems? I don't think so. I suspect some are and some might be put together or usefully scavenged. Many of the things I've written about are the sort of impressions that fly through your head so quickly that they are often ignored.  I have a lot of trouble coming up with titles which is not something I usually have trouble with. Also, I seem to be continually hovering in the 12 to 15 line range (eek--sonnet) although I guess I could just make my lines longer or shorter to get away from that.

I fear I must also shovel some snow today even though I've parked at the end of the driveway and my street is plowed. My old car would just bull through the buildup--crunch, crunch. But I'm cruising lighter now, good for everything but the unshoveled driveway and the the unplowed parking lot.

Shoveling snow is like writing a poem because:
  1. It has to be done to get anywhere (although different roads)
  2. It uses muscles that never get exercised at any other time
  3. It's beautiful out there
  4. It's laborious
  5. It sometimes seems endless
  6. It's good to pause in the middle and look over what's been done
  7. Sometimes the snow comes thickly, sometimes in little gusts

Thursday, December 13, 2012

Plans for Poem-A-Day: the Unmasked Confessional

I have signed up to take part in a poem-a-day writing group over winter break. Don't shake your head wearily. Don't remind me that I had a lot more energy many years ago. I don't think I had more ideas in the past or more ease of creating or more notions about how to get the ship in or out of the bottle (wherever that metaphor came from). I think I have more now. I can turn to myself and pull something out--a thread, a handkerchief, my soul, a song, a frito crumb. I have hope in what has proved to be a vast well waiting.

I am always entranced at the outset of a time frame or schedule like this as if it were New Year's Eve--planning how my life will be different, more dedicated, my eyes never closing all the way, my mind poised to snatch at the impressions and shapes and ideas congregating, foregrounded in the head's temples, charging from one to the next.

I begin to avoid my desk for some days before. I don't want to put my eggs in a too-early basket. But maybe I could write something today and tack it in for day 11 when I might have run dry? Surely pre-writing is against the whole spirit of the thing. I must leap on each day of the month like a tiger ready to tear off a good poem.

Really, I embrace this idea as 30 days of being awake. 30 days of attending the paper. 30 opportunities to surprise myself. I don't expect a poem each time, but a useful nugget or an astounding freewrite like a white water cataract.

And I will have resource to some secret ideas and seeds. One of which is "coconut."