Monday, September 4, 2017

Process Notes

I was thinking of asking my students to journal about the process of writing one of their poems later in the semester. So I ask it of myself now with a recent poem titled (at this point) "I Never Dreamt of Trees." It began with trying to recreate in words the physical sensation of dropping off to sleep as I sat in a chair. Not my eyes heavy but my head. There was such a pull. And the sensation so vivid.

So I had the notion and I kept clinging to that notion/image while looping around it as if it were a maypole. (driving in my car, driving in my car) Little half sentences and repetitive bits remembered and written down. First writing in the back pages of my general notebook, sometimes up the side of the page.

Then the words being slid around and fastened into couplets--this time on google drive so I can access this poem start anywhere. Where do the lines end? Considering the line breaks makes me lop off a few words.

I go back to my original notes and realize I've left out "stickiness," "the stickiness of dreams," but really it's there in other words  (but sticky is such a good word). I wonder if I have gotten in this idea that the things I dream of are not from nature. I wonder if the poem which feels meditative/observational wants to go somewhere (and it should). Picking up toys I remember that I wanted to have something about Chinese handcuffs in there.

I think I am realizing that this poem is not yet done (I don't want to read it right now). Last night when I dreamt I realized there is a much better sense of surround in the dream than I was thinking. Maybe that's the part you forget first when you wake up. Background goes, then the not-really narrative.

1 comment:

  1. Hi Susan,
    I love reading how you work through a process in your poem. I love that if you don’t want to read it it might not be done. Are poems ever done? Some poems take years and decades and they don’t end then. Instead they birth other poems and turn into other poems. I know and don’t know how to help them grow to communicate with a reader. My revision process feels like the progress a snail makes, it feels that I might not get to the end of it, so it feels alive, flexible. I have to uncover the dream. And create the dream while I’m wide awake. I guess it is like playing- trying things on for a while. Although It is uniquely dressed even when it hasn’t yet arrived. Thank you!
    Sarah Case Antine