The Work of Being Dormant

Before January, I had been absent from my own work for a little over a year. I bowed out of my poetry group for most of 2019. I rarely went into my office. I wrote very little. Why? Because I didn’t feel like it. Why not? Many, many, many reasons. Distractions of every variety, good and bad. I could write for days on the distractions; maybe I will at some point.

As it says in 2 Corinthians 9:7 (that’s second Corinthians, not “two Corinthians” as anyone who has spent any amount of time in church very well knows, but we’re all supposed to turn a blind eye to THAT too — welcome to my lengthy parenthetical wherein I allude to the biggest and ugliest distraction of them all), God loves a cheerful giver. The blank page is like God that way. It doesn’t require a cheerful giver, thank heavens, so much as a willing one. I wasn’t willing for a long time. We’re talking about good old-fashioned honest to goodness “writer’s block.” It is my opinion that the phrase “writer’s block” is used too frequently and very often incorrectly, but I believe I’m using it correctly here. I can’t say I enjoyed it very much, but I can say I learned a great deal. And I did a great deal of work without even knowing it.

Continue reading “The Work of Being Dormant”

Dreams and Whatnot

Hello, blogosphere.  Sorry for the extended absence.  There hasn’t been much of a response to my virtual writing workshop, but I am hopeful that some folks are just waiting to see what the final proposal will look like.  I myself am waiting to see what Diaspora will look like, so, here we are.

When last I left you, I was preparing to send my only child off to college.  She seems to be faring well – the usual adjustment bumps and bruises.  I wish I could say the same for yours truly.  Honestly, I wish I could say anything for yours truly with some degree of certainty, but I cannot.  I have managed to keep myself extremely busy, and when I’m not busy, I’m sleeping.  Uh-oh.  I expressed this whack-a-doodle state of affairs to a good friend and fellow writer yesterday, and her advice to me was, “Take some time.  Sit with this, and just let yourself feel what you feel.”  Of course!  Insert smack to the forehead here.  I confessed to her that I see the wisdom of such a course of action, and probably just needed somebody to tell me to take it!

As  poet Jennifer K. Sweeney and I explored in an interview I did of her a few years ago [Main Street Rag, Spring 2007], a poet doesn’t so much “move on” from painful things as “move through” them.*  Frankly, we often move through them when the rest of you cannot bear to do so, and we do it because you cannot bear to do so.   We hew the rough underbrush of the path, and hope that you will follow because we know you will feel better if you do.  We know so because we feel better for having cut the trail; and, we are also readers, so we also feel better when we follow a painful path that someone else mapped first.  Such knowledge of this process, however, did not help me see that I was running away from my own feelings about this personal milestone.  It took someone else articulating it to make me realize what I was (am) doing.

Continue reading “Dreams and Whatnot”

April 29, 2010

The last of today’s devices from Packard’s The Poet’s Dictionary:  A Handbook of Prosody and Poetic Devices

Tone: The accumulated effect of style, coloration, and texture. Like atmosphere in a short story or like mood in symphonic music, tone in poetry is the result of particular choices which affect the reader’s overall feeling toward a poem.

One of those choices is “context.” If a poem is part of a collection of poems, the poems often work together to set a tone.

A few years ago, I started working on a group of poems based on the concept of self-portraiture.  Each poem was titled “Self Portrait: [here I would name the speaker of the poem].  It was a fun exercise.  I wrote what I thought were credible (if not true) assessments of myself through that person’s eyes.  I tried to pick people who know me well, and also people who only know me in a certain context (for example, “The Doctor”).

I am going to share with you one of these self-portrait poems because, by itself, its tone is entirely left up to the reader. Where I placed it in the collection, however, would set the tone for the reader; do you agree? Thanks for reading! Continue reading “April 29, 2010”

To Commemorate the “Lost Day” of April 25

The “S” of today’s devices from Packard’s The Poet’s Dictionary:  A Handbook of Prosody and Poetic Devices is

Sonnet:  A fourteen-line poem usually with octet/sestet separation of eight- and six-line formations, usually with a RHYME scheme in either Shakespearean or Petrarchean sequence.

I break from the norm here and, rather than share an original poem, share something from the god of sonnet-writing, William Shakespeare. Continue reading “To Commemorate the “Lost Day” of April 25″

To Commemorate the “Lost Day” of April 18th

The first of today’s poetic devices from Packard’s The Poet’s Dictionary: A Handbook of Prosody and Poetic Devices is

Rondel:  A simple song, usually in strict stanzaic form (see STANZA), using REFRAIN, RHYME and METER.

Unfortunately, and, some might argue, unforgivably, Packard does not describe the stanzaic form (or rhyme scheme or meter) in any detail.  I, therefore, had to call in the big guns of Thrall, Hibbard and Holman and consult with my centuries-old A Handbook to Literature (see photo) (I really do have to get the updated version – it’s an essential tool).

Here is the only rondel I have ever written.  Thanks for reading! Continue reading “To Commemorate the “Lost Day” of April 18th”