Revision, revision, revision. The mantra of poets worldwide. i’ve been doing my share of it lately. The unfinished manuscript hollering at me from my nightstand. With this in mind, i recently looked through some of my published work and i came across circular breathing, in a 2002 edition of The Comstock Review. Re-reading that version i realized i liked it better than the current, oft-revised one.
Sometimes we can be our worst editors, yet i still believe in revision. It’s a commitment to the language, to reaching higher for that more profound image, metaphor, word. At times it’s just that – one word – that will carry the piece – and your reader – right where you intended.
Which brings me to another thought. The reader and the poet. i recall a visual artist friend of mine being asked, at an exhibition of his work, about the meaning of a particular piece. He wouldn’t say, but instead encouraged the person to find their meaning in his work, to let it speak to them as it would, regardless of his, the artist’s, intent. i liked this.
There is always something in particular that hurtles me toward writing a poem, and i want my reader to be similarly moved. At the same time, everyone gleans something different from a poem. If that were not the case it wouldn’t be that one editor rejects a piece while another can’t wait to publish it. As poets we must allow that creative river to wash over us, spin us in its eddies, carry us to the sea. And with any luck, the results will speak to those who find our words.
10 oct 10
As we enter the decade of ailing parents, swapping stories, wondering what’s next, some of us find ourselves less prolific with the pen. But the muse lives on, waiting to place her hands gently on our shoulders, be it from a favorite book of poetry, music we’ve too long not heard, or the joy of seeing a poet pal come to town to share his words at a local reading (thank you, Brandon).
Speaking of readings, i often think of Claire de Lune and the amazing Tuesday nights we had there hearing (and hanging with) some of the best poets around, some from across the country (or across the pond), some from our own community. Several of you have connected with me recently on Facebook (a world i have mixed feelings about), many of you i long to find again. There are times i imagine myself returning to Claire’s and bringing poets together once again. But that would mean leaving the Northwest and i do love this place. And besides, what’s that they say? You can’t go home again? So for now i simply dream, slowly weaving together new words that will one day become a tapestry i can share with you.
24 aug 10