While I haven’t been posting here (or at Poetic Idealism) lately, that’s not to say things haven’t been very busy.
One thing I’m very proud of is the state of the new issue of Barely South Review, which has taken up most of my time these past two weeks. It’s turned out beautifully, with no small thanks to the contributors who sent us wonderful materials to work with, and the staff who put in many long hours.
On the other hand, this workload also means my thesis has taken somewhat of a back seat recently. I’ve written a couple of new things, but still feel about fifteen poems short. These are in me somewhere, and now I have time to go mining for them.
In Kim Addonizio‘s Ordinary Genius, she writes about the “pain body,” a concept borrowed from a book called The Power of Now, which I’ve never read. But the exercises discussed in this chapter (18, pp.148-155) look interesting enough to give it a go. And here is where I record that experiment. I invite you to follow along and conduct your own…
I’m going to do this live, so check back on the post and I will be sure to note when it’s ended.
Poetry is not just about language, though language is its medium. Poetry’s true subject is the spirit, the divine, the sacred, the ineffable. If you prefer God, use that word. It’s just a word, though one that’s loaded with baggage. And it makes poetry sound loftier than it is, since by God and the sacred I mean everything, the “what is” of life. [and from the previous paragraph] If you believe there is nothing beyond the body, you probably still have a sense of what I’m talking about. (100)
All poems are seductions. When you fall under the spell of a poem, it’s an infatuation that can become a love affair. A poem wants you to feel like this; it doesn’t feel complete unless it makes a personal connection. (115)
Maybe you’re one of those people who writes poems, but rarely reads them. Let me put this as delicately as I can: If you don’t read, your writing is going to suck… If you just want to be a poet the way some people want to be rock stars without actually learning the guitar, playing scales, and practicing–then you are free to fantasize.
It is hard, if not impossible, to describe things objectively. And objective description isn’t the task of poets. We aren’t surveyors, measuring the terrain and reporting numbers. We’re looking for the essence of the land.