Tuesday, September 29, 2020

I've got a few ideas burbling about what to do with a mass of uncollected poems: essentially, whether it's time to consider a "new and selected" . . . a notion that makes me feel old but also makes me feel kind of cheerful. I'm talking to some people, thinking about querying a publisher and getting reprint permissions; I've already proposed the notion to an experienced poetry editor who could help me sort through the glut of material. It would be an undertaking, but a collaborative one, which would be a novelty. Anyway it's something to ponder, and maybe look forward to, while my NPS manuscript circles through her various rejections.

So today: back to editing, but also trying to jumpstart my poet self. I was talking to another friend yesterday, who's also having trouble focusing on new work, and she, too, is trying to take advantage of the unwanted lull by dealing with what's already been finished. It's good to know I'm not alone in this arid spell . . . also, it's good to know this weekend will be my writing retreat, and I fully intend to write alongside everyone else in the class. I'm confident their conversation will help me prime the pump.

While talking with Teresa about Byron yesterday, we found ourselves excited about his choice to use Spenserian stanzas in Childe Harold, the oddly unbalanced nine-line rhyme scheme that drives forward the narrative of The Faerie Queene: eight iambic pentameters and an alexandrine: ABABBCBCC. We are both planning to experiment with the pattern ourselves, to find out why Byron saw it as a way "to give full scope to my inclination, and be either droll or pathetic, descriptive or sentimental, tender or satirical, as the humour strikes me."

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