Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Poetry is an addiction.

When your life feels like one big, long, endless effort to write a poem, you're a poetry-addict. I'm either working on a poem, fretting because I'm not working on a poem, observing life / events / objects with a view to their poem-potential, and worst of all too busy looking for the poem in the experience instead of actually just living the experience.

On the one hand it feels like an inauthentic way to live, as if the poem is cannabalising my life, myself, for its own ends because poems don't stick to the facts they transform experience / objects to suit the poem. However, on the other hand, the constant analysis of myself, my life, experiences mean that life doesn't just blindly happen to me unchallenged or without thought. I'm deeply aware of my life, I constantly examine it which, according to that old Greek guy, means it's worth living but more importantly, for me, means it is an authentic way of living. Poems don't tell things exactly as they are but I think they do tap into deeper truths about ourselves.

I can understand why Wallace Stevens had the view that poetry could replace religion, in the times when I've struggled most with doubt I almost thought this could be possible too. It's a funny old life, but it's the one I've chosen to lead. Although, you could say, with an addiction there's never really a choice.

So I'm sitting here trying to write a poem and constantly checking emails, hoping for a reply from a poetry editor. I'm still reading Stevens and back to Claire Crowther too. Does it sound terrible to admit that while I really love many of Ted Hughes' poems, reading him in abundance bores me senseless? I can't go near Plath at all now, her influence is just too great on my poems otherwise. I read John Burnside's Black Cat Bone a while back and I'm only really now beginning to digest it so I'll be pulling that out again. I borrowed some techniques from Janet Sutherland's  Hangman's Acre for a few poems I wrote a couple of months back so I'll be looking at her collection again too.

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Thanks to a friend I've managed to make a few decent recordings of some of my poems as requested for the Northwords Now website. It's always slightly embarrassing listening to your own voice but so much worse when you're reading words that you can't quite pronounce!!! 'Coiffured' was a struggle to pronounce, never mind having to say it twice, then there was 'Laforgue' as in Jules Laforgue. My French accent isn't quite up to scratch!
I still don't have a definitive list of which poems will be in the magazine so I'm really looking forward to finding out which ones the editor is going to pick.

I've had an epiphany with Wallace Stevens. I've always enjoyed his poems when I've read them in the past but reading them now is an entirely different experience. How could I have missed all of those Eliot tones! So I'm currently immersing myself in an old, second-hand Stevens Selected and researching what I can of him amidst the jungle of the internet. If anyone knows of any good in-depth analysis websites of his work I'd appreciate a link.

Wednesday, June 06, 2012

  first draft

White Bird’s Homage to its Own

(poem removed)

Friday, June 01, 2012