Monday, January 16, 2012

So, This morning

I accidentally wrote a prose poem.  This is one of my favorite things about being a poet.

I was reading from some new chapbooks I received in the mail over the three day weekend and out of nowhere a poem started to come to the surface.  I started writing it, title first (which I hardly ever do) and all of a sudden I started to integrate it with some other fragments more than two years old from another notebook. Somewhere in the middle I realized I was actually writing a prose poem but I continued to write line by line, paying attention to breaks.  This too, was strange.  Normally I know ahead of time if I am going to be writing a prose poem, and normally, I will start over if I decide on a format change mid-point.

Of course only time will tell if I like it enough to send out into the world to withstand almost certain rejection, but that really isn't the point.  This poem caught me by surprise, and what a lovely thing that is to have happen at random.  It makes me think of very specific lessons about writing to always keep in mind:

1.  Be ready for the muse with pen and paper, if you in fact believe in the muse at all.

2.  Carry a book of poems with you.  You never know when you might have time to read a poem(Thank you, Ed Hirsch), and where one good poem ends is always a good place to start a new poem.

3.  There is no right way to write a poem.  Beginning to end; end to beginning; like a wellspring flooding the meadow.  It's all the same. 

4.  Be flexible in your writing.  Let the poem lead you for at least the first hour, before you ruin it by trying to tell yourself what it should really be.

5.  Remember poetry is not an end sum activity and defies a balance sheet.  There is always room in this world for another poem.

1 comment:

  1. I've been trying to remember to always carry a book of poems with me--there's almost always enough time spent in waiting to read a poem or two.

    I especially love #4.