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 them, together.
she's the type
who'll put up
She dips and narrows
as the sands
of her time fall through
this impossible maneuver.
And, remember, it's my original work, so it's copywrited. I have the handwritten original to prove it.