Monday, July 7, 2008

42: Cloquet at Night

Tonight: poems read aloud, feeding the beast, the quiet of the forest around us. I brought Harry and Lisel.

So many bits in my notebook to share:

- The point of being a poet isn't to have an emotion but to get those emotions out into the world. (paraphrasing Valery, I believe)
- How do you know what to critique, to respond to? Part of it is knowing how to tweak--that intuition, as a composer, you know you want a trumpet sound as opposed to a flute, but it's also the familiarity you have with the poems that you love and the intimacy you gain in regular reading.
- In revision, in critique, ask yourself: Where are you most close with the poem? (And where do you lose that closeness?)
- Poetry has always played with hesitation and flow.
- Lose the dignity of the present version and play--try removing every other line, for example, changing tenses, rearranging lines and line breaks, start at the end and work to the beginning, etc.
- That beautiful quote of Michaelangelo about liberating the statue from inside the marble.
- Writing a poem is like getting from one bank to another by jumping from one moving boat to another (paraphrasing someone--).
- Faulkner: kill your darlings
- Henry James: woo the combinations
- MDB confessed to Merwin he was having some kind of anxiety and Merwin assured him he just hadn't yet found his myth.

I wish, at this hour, my brain were a bit more coherent so I could share with you my thoughts on all these fragments, these snippets I jotted down in the margins, some repeats of phrases I gathered in my less concentrated undergraduate years, some new moments for me. There's something about rediscovery that is akin to re-reading at just the right moment in time. When the world speaks to you, even when you are sleeping.

Tonight, I will dream of Frida Kahlo and the lace of treetops. I will dream of Norway pine and the slow crawl of ticks beneath plastic water cups. I will imagine myself exactly here, at this place, trying to take in every moment as I should. Tomorrow, I will wake early, I will go on a walk, I will write bits in my notebook, I will open myself up to the possibilities of the written word. And I will breathe this fresh air, carry it home with me, keep it close, in my pocket.


EWH said...

How exciting for you to be experiencing so much beauty in both the poetry and the place around you. What a treat. Thanks for sharing! :-)

shari said...

gosh, it sounds so fun. thanks for sharing your notes.