Anything I encounter in life reminds me of everything else: it can be hard to organize your thoughts when this is the case.
As a poet, I can pull anywhere from the stream of these associations, regardless of how tenuous the connections seem; as an essayist, I find my habit of jumping around from thing to vaguely related things to be somewhat tiring. Fortunately for me and you and the blogging world as a whole, I will return tomorrow to poetry for 98% of my writing time.
I experiment quite a bit with my poetry: that would not at all be visible this last month, as I have written virtually every day in the same style: short, rhymed poetry, typically conveying a single thought or image. In practice, while I do write a lot of poetry in that style, I vary devices quite a bit more. The one consistent thing is that I write in short forms: that is a matter of aesthetic preference. I prefer short poetry when I read: I also prefer short musical pieces, short stories, etc.
I realize that never writing long works is a limitation: however, to me, limits make creativity possible. Without limits, creative processes have a hard time ever starting.
I like employing somewhat whimsical limitations when I sit down to write a piece. I got the idea from reading about the process Serge Prokofiev used when he wrote the last movement of his “classical symphony”:
“I crossed out the first version of the finale and wrote a completely new one, endeavouring, among other things, to avoid all minor chords”
The employment of arbitrary limitations has really appealed to me ever since. I had also noticed, as a teen, how often people’s “best” songs were written for movies: i.e., how the imposition of limits on subject matter actually seemed to help.
When I look at the list of the ten most popular pieces I’ve written, one of them of them employed this technique: “Of Love” uses only one-syllable words, which is a very whimsical type of limitation. In this case, the idea of the limit came from a WordPress Daily Prompt.
Looking at others of my more popular poems, I see the most common type of poem I write is one inspired by the photograph or illustration that proceeds it. “Now, When I Remember You” is one such piece, as the woman picture there looks remarkably like the girl the poem was about. That piece is possibly my favorite thing I’ve ever written. Another such poem is “Snapshot: Passing By A Woman In The Hotel Lobby“.
I have a number of series poems: one set consists of “Old Poems”, the most popular of which, so far, I wrote at age 16. The original would be barely recognizable relative to this heavily revised version.
My most popular piece I’ve done so far is an autobiographical one about my illness (“The Life I Could Have Had“). This was, and continues to be, a surprise to me. The second most popular piece I’ve written is about a dog my wife had (“Old Dog“); this is only surprising to people who know me personally, and who know of my pathological fear of dogs.
Others include one about my mother (“To See My Mom“); A whimsical poem inspired by a picture of a semi-conscious lioness (“Tired“); and a couple more about being a reader (“I Only Know“), and a writer (“The Poet’s Fate“).
When you write, all anyone can do is tell their stories as honestly as they can. I will continue to write out here, and I’m grateful to those of you who have taken time to read and comment. I know I’m terrible about responding to comments, but I hope you know I have appreciated them.
Nano Poblano 2018 – Complete.
across the field, in waves of circumspection,
we waited on the coming of the grain:
the sky was blue, but full of misdirection,
we opted out of joy and into pain —
along the vast expanse of our intentions,
we struggled to accept our own beliefs —
an many were our manifold conventions,
our sighs, our tu quoque’s, and kindred griefs —
across the field, in waves of habitation,
we waited for the gleaning, and the rind:
the sky was all we had, our destination,
the heart of all we kept to sate