Friday, August 20, 2010

I have written a poem that I like, and I am so extremely relieved. This is the first poem I've liked since March.

Please, please, Poetry Fates, let the writing facility last. It is terrible not to be writing.

I've started rereading Nabokov, which (to state the obvious) is entirely different from Wodehouse, except perhaps in facility. "Facility" is my new word today. It's when all the words happen under one's hands like chimes from a clock. There they are: waiting to be collected into the tune, the one that keeps ringing out, faster than I can sing it. Revision superimposes itself over invention. The two strands become nearly the same task: that task of sorting out the sounds of the words that are the tune of the story in my head.

I am a realist who writes by sound . . . by which I mean that my poems are character-driven narratives: yet my sentence construction is controlled not by meaning but by cadence. I have no idea how usual this is. It may be the regular thing. All I know is that, when I am writing well, my brain is filled with metrical impositions . . . two syllables, pause, stress on the first syllable, pause . . . yet usually I'm not trying to write formal verse. It's some kind of private blank verse, one that varies for each poem but nonetheless insists on itself.

Brains can be so bossy. Laurie Anderson once wrote a song about this very subject.


Jennifer Jean said...

loved reading about your process--esp. concerning cadence. for me meaning drives cadence. i'm having trouble with putting book length ms. together because there's so much variance between the poems in terms of style--esp. cadence. it reads too mercurial and roller coasterish. anyways...hello :)

Dawn Potter said...

It's very interesting to me to hear that your sentence process is the exact opposite of mine. Bewildering, isn't it, how brains vary?