When I picked up my poetry notebook this morning, I thought, can I really not have written anything since late September?
Yes, it has been that long. But let me also remember that a week ago, I was anxiously tracking hurricane Matthew. I am only just now feeling a bit more centered.
Today as I read Luisa Igloria's wonderful poem, "Always, the women get their hands dirty," I was struck by the last line: "about that future whose smell we already know." I thought about the different ways the future might smell, and I wrote a poem that weaves together the ideas of casting spells, predicting the future, predicting the weather, and preparing for a hurricane. Although I worked on it for over an hour, and then returned to work a bit more, it came fairly easily.
I've also been working on my short story--it's almost done, but I can't figure out how to get from where I am to the end. Shortly I will take a walk and see if the answer comes.
I enjoy these early morning times, when I can catch up on wonderful past shows from NPR programs. Right now, I'm really enjoying the conversation between Diane Rehm and Billy Collins in this past show. I happen to love his poetry, but even if I didn't, I'd find his insights about poetry to be valuable.
I also came across this blog post by Victoria Chang, which tells about the evolution of her Barbie Chang poems. She talks about writing autobiographical poems and how her approach changed when she created a character named Barbie Chang: "As an experiment, I replaced all first-person “I”’s with “Barbie Chang” and revised the poems with that character in mind, and the poems seemed to breathe and expand. My imagination could wander and I felt freed of autobiographical constrictions. I edited and expanded the poems and wrote new ones for another three months."
As she worked on the larger collection which would become a book, she went back to unfinished manuscripts to find what was missing. It's been a very long time since I went back to unfinished manuscripts. I wanted to record her idea here, where I'm more likely to find it again.
And now, I've been sitting at this desk for 3 hours, with some breaks for dishwashing. It's time for a change of scenery. Let me go out to walk and watch the sunrise. Several blocks from my house is a finger lake that comes off the Intracoastal--last night it was higher than I've ever seen it. Let me go and look in the daylight. Let me wait for further inspirations.
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