Sunday, March 01, 2009

Waxing Poetic

I have been trying to come up with ideas for a new blog--not that I ever truly have problems--but I couldn't decide what I wanted to tackle next.  It occurred to me, though, that I should write about writing poetry, since my Facebook cohorts and I have been swapping poems we like and poems we've written.

I've been writing poetry since I was in high school, which was a loooooong time ago (in a galaxy far, far away...not really!).  That doesn't mean that I'm a great poet; it just means I've been trying to be a better poet for almost 40 years.  I've published my work in a few small literary journals, been a member of a number of writing groups, edit poetry journals, won a fellowship ($2500--I bought a new dryer, among other things), and met so many wonderful writers that I can't remember them all. 

All that means squat.

A writer can't sit back and say, "Well, I've done that, so I don't need to do anything else."  It's not about what I wrote yesterday, it's about what I've written today.  The admonishment, "Never a day without a line" is one I take seriously.  So, even if all I write is a blog, I try to write something.  Some days, I only write comments on students' essays and assignments, but I try to put some thought into those, too.

These days, I don't feel poetic.  I think the constant grind of life distracts me.  Occasionally, the muse will gift me a line, and I snatch it and mine it for all it's worth.  I never take those gifts for granted.  But I don't sit around waiting for them, either.

Most writers will say that good writing is 1% inspiration and 99% perspiration.  Good writing takes work.  That's the hard part--a writer has to work at writing.  And, of course, I believe what I teach my students, that the most important part of writing is revising.  I have a friend, an excellent poet named Brenda Hillman, who revises most of her poems at least 50 times.  It shows.  Her work is luminous, something that I envy and aspire to.  As long as I keep such good poets around me, as long as I read their works and study their techniques, I'll improve. 

So, here's the poem I posted on my Facebook page:


Curvy, that's how
I would describe
and him
and them, together.
Perhaps nervy,
him thinking
she's the type
who'll put up
with anything.
She dips and narrows
as the sands
of her time fall through
this impasse,
this impossible maneuver.

And, remember, it's my original work, so it's copywrited.  I have the handwritten original to prove it.


Maureen O'Neal said...

I have so enjoyed reading the poems on Facebook. It's nearly a mini-anthology of poetry!

-Maureen O.
Eng. 226

kim wells said...

OOh, cool! I didn't realize when it was on your FB page that it was yours! :) That is a good poem, and I think you wrote it about someone who is a FB friend, right? It fits.

As for copyright, as my understanding is, as soon as it's written it's copyrighted, and a blog like this actually helps you to set a copyright, should anything ever happen that you should need to prove your ownership. It has a date stamp & all on it, and people have seen it, so I'll bet that would be legal. But you can also put one of those Creative Commons licenses on here if you felt you needed more, and planned to write more poetry & didn't want to have to have the disclaimer each time:

I am with you on the writing every day. That's why I started my blog, oh, 6 years ago, and I am mostly faithful to it. Although I think FB is ruining my ability to write more than a one-liner lately. (No evidence of that in this comment hijack though.) :)

dotsmom said...

Maureen, I've just been trying to connect again with my "inner poet."

Kim--actually, I wrote that poem almost 13 years ago. I found it when I was sifting through a journal for another poem I had written. Nobody on FB, really!