Saturday, December 19, 2015

It's been the usual chaos month of birthdays, anniversaries and then Christmas events on top of it all. I ordered the collected works of Lorine Niedecker for my birthday - a book I've been wanting for a long time - and after the initial speed read through the entire book I've been slowly devouring the poems. Such an interesting person and her poems are so fresh they could have been written yesterday.

I had the interesting experience earlier this week of judging at the regional heats for the national schools Poetry by Heart competition. Students from fourth through to sixth year reciting two poems each one from pre-1914 and one post-1914. There was a great selection of poems recited and all of the students did amazingly well! I was judging with the lovely poet Sheila Templeton. It's so good to see this competition (run by the Scottish Poetry Library) filling a gap in contemporary education of poetry memorisation, Sheila and I were very impressed with all who took part.

Feeling once again the need for a big project to work on - something to really get my poetry teeth into. I've written the occasional poem since my long Trident poem but find them so unsatisfying. I've realised I love having a big theme / project to work on - something with a real challenge and something I can really get absorbed in.


Jim Murdoch said...

I know exactly how you’re feeling. I’ve just spent a year—give or take—submerged in a fictional world and now it’s done and I feel completely lost and not a little depressed. My wife’s read it, pronounced it “excellent”, and I couldn’t ask for more. Now what? As much as I’ve enjoyed the last year a part of me just wants to sit on the couch and binge-watch TV. Another would prefer to start on the next project. The pleasure in writing is in the writing, not having written. I’m not saying I’m not pleased to have written but that’s more of a sense of satisfaction. The thing is you—at least I—can’t force it. I can’t imagine writing as a job. Writing’s a holiday. It’s been a long time since I’ve written a series of poems—I’m posting some of The Drowning Man Poems on my blog at the moment—and I remember what it was like when I was in that particular zone; it lasted for months and months and it was wonderful. I didn’t write hundreds of poems but I got to wallow in a certain mind set for a long while and I clearly enjoy that which is perhaps why it was inevitable I’d end up writing novels. I still think it’s something you might consider. You could be the next Elizabeth Smart.

Marion McCready said...

Still can't see me going into novels, Jim - I can't even write a short story!
I think I could do the occasional short memoir / non fiction essay as I find that not as unlike poetry in many ways. What I think I need is some new experience to work out of, a change of some sort!