Friday, July 03, 2009

I know I'm a rubbish blogger at the moment, I'm sorry.

Just been revising old poems and trying to pick and choose which ones to put together and post off for a chapbook competition that's coming up.

Also think I need a change of tack for writing. I've grouped together 20 of what I think are my best poems for this competition and almost all of them contain water imagery of some sort or another. I think I really need to break away from it or risk forever repeating myself!

Not sure how to keep water / the sea from infiltrating my poems, anyone else got experience of how to beat or move on from obsessive imagery taking over their poems?


Rachel Fox said...

Move inland?
Only joking.
And now I am going on holiday...I really am.

Jim Murdoch said...

There's a reason I've never brought out a chapbook before. I could never decide on which poems went together. And the more poems I write the worse it gets strangely enough because I become dissatisfied with earlier quite decent poems because I'm managed to nudge a smidge closer to whatever personal truth I'm pursuing. I have been writing poems about the nature of truth for close to forty years. My poems are really a trail of corpses stretching back all that time, failed experiments.

So, no I have no wise words of wisdom on how not to obsess. I can't even pretend you'll grow out of it although you might. Everyone is different.

Now of course you're carrying your own ocean around inside of you. Have you thought of a name for the baby yet? How about Jonah? Wait a sec, scratch that, I can see how that metaphor casts you.

Sorlil said...

yes moving maybe a bit drastic, rachel! lol.

hi jim, I suppose that's the benefit to having an obsessive theme - it joins the poems together. But I'd like to put these poems behind me now and move onto something different. But of course yours have a strong theme also, just more abstract!
lol, I did write a Jonah poem in my last pregnancy! anyway it's a girl this time and her name is going to be Ruby!

Colin Will said...

I was like that with rocks for a while, then it was plants, then it was birds. Don't worry about it, you'll change naturally.

(Verification word is 'uptoddly', which I may steal)

An Honest Man said...

Jim - not failed experiments; just the 'shoulders to stand on' for future works.

Sorlil - a limited amount of introspection is a good thing, but don't get too hung-up over it. You're in a seaside town - it's bound to have an effect on your poems.

(Perhaps you can link it to swine flu somehow!!!)

Roxana said...

Bachelard says somewhere, i think in his Poe analysis: every genius is monotonous - now, i don't think the reverse is true, that every monotonous writer is a genius, but i can't stop thinking that there is something true about it: true and great art seem to be born out of obsessions - or great artists always seem to have some themes which obsess them all their lives. take Kafka - what can be more 'monotonous' that his writing? the same thing all over again. i can see that in Celan as well, for example, on different levels. i am just trying to say that there is nothing you should be afraid of. and i have never perceived your sea connectivity or metaphor realm as disturbing. it will become disturbing only if it starts to disturb you, then the change will happen naturally, over time, i am sure of that. like a flow (oops another water metaphor :-)

(and i hope you will not read this as a pro domo argumentation, i do the same things/topics all over again on the Bridge :-)

James Owens said...

The best I can do is agree with the others, if that helps (I doubt it :-) Artists don't really choose their material. Rather, they are chosen, and the sea likes you. Reading your poems, it certainly does not seem a problem. When you have exhausted what you have to say about the sea and water, etc., you will move on without even thinking about it.... And if that never happens, so what? In a way, you have to write those poems that speak through you, and the rest of it isn't your concern :-)

swiss said...

look out the window on the other side of the house! lol

sometimes it is easy tho, to find yourself sliding down a more comfortable descriptive path, esp if people like what you're doing. in which case, just don't. pick a theme or a style and write to it and worry more about the content than the end result. describe something in terms opposite to what you'd usually do, the absence of water for example.

alternatively focus on what it is you're actually trying to say. it maybe you use a familiar set of imagery but if what you're saying in the poems remains the same then maybe it's time to think about changing topics.

but at the end of the day if it ain't broke why fix it? so oong as you're happy with what you're doing then that's all that matters

Sorlil said...

thanks everyone, I really value your thoughts.

hi colin, uptoddly has a right scottish ring about it!

honestman, hmm poems about swine flu, it would certainly make my poems contemporary :)

roxana, I like that Bachelard thought, I guess I just need to become a genius then, lol

hi james, I think the sea does like me, and I really like thinking about that :)

that would be a brick wall then swiss, lol. yes I'm worried about becoming too comfortable in what I'm doing and not challenging myself enough, but nothing else works for me I may not have much of a choice.

swiss said...

a wall you say? perfect! plus a cake poem i think!

Dick said...

My latest post is three water poems, I can't help!

Neil said...

Hi - Just discovered your blog via James Owens - I like the couple of poems I've been able to read very much (failed to find When I Became a Wave, to my chagrin). My view on repetition is that it can be a strengthening structural force in art. Just think about modern music, or the way painters tend to work in series. Just as you know when a phrase is dead, a word is irrelevant, or an image is cliched, so you will know when a metaphor you have invested yourself in has outlived its usefulness. Until then, go with the flow. The seventh wave is the magic one.

Sorlil said...

hi neil, very pleased to meet you!
"The seventh wave is the magic one" - what a great thought! What you say makes a lot of sense, thanks for this.
I'm glad you like the poems, if you still want to read the Snakeskin poem then click on the Snakeskin banner at the link then scroll down to archive and click on issue 144.

Dominic Rivron said...

Have you ever come across Brian Eno's Oblique Strategy cards?

If not, give them a google. Some of them are definitely most useful for musicians, but I have found them useful from time to time.

Neil said...

I love When I Became a Wave - I thought I would, just from the title. What a wonderful word "smirr" is.

Sorlil said...

hi dominic, never heard of them but they certainly sound interesting!

hi neil, I'm very glad you like the poem, thankyou for saying so!

Titus said...

No suggestions I'm afraid, particularly as I've just written my first ever poem that included the sea. I think Neil probably said it all anyway.
There is an award for you when you drop in to mine.

Rob said...

A strong theme is good when it comes to chapbook competitions, as long as you don't keep saying the same thing over and over again.

I've started reading a book called 'How to Write a Poem' by John Redmond. You'd think I'd know how to write a poem by now, but I'm finding it really interesting. His aim is to help poets at all stages discover new approaches. I'm a third of the way through and I'd already very much recommend it.

Sorlil said...

sounds good, rob. thanks for that, I'll check it out!

panther said...

Sorlil, what you say reminds me of Norman McCaig's poem "My Last Word on Frogs." Do you know it ? He's being ironic because he knows (and we suspect) that it is not his last word on frogs at all !

My hunch is : writing borne out of obsession is likely to have an edge, a vitality that can't be conjured up any other way. A chapbook of watery poems is much, much better than a chapbook of poems about this, that and the next thing but with nothing to hold them together.

Sorlil said...

yes I've read the MacCaig poem, thanks for reminding me of it!
I appreciate your thoughts, panther, given me a wee boost!

Dominic Rivron said...

I thought of this post the other day. I was sitting in passenger seat of the car, looking out of the window. I had a notebook handy and found myself writing down things I was looking at: not descriptions so much as lines using imagery that sprang from things I was seeing. Almost carrying on like an artist, I suppose. I found myself coming up with all sorts of new ideas.