Thursday, July 7, 2011

Important Excitements

Writing groups of related poems (abridged, p. 160-3)
by Maggie Anderson

Write a group of poems related to each other in form, in content, or both. Start by writing a brief proposal of what you intend to do in advance and then stick with it. The number of poems you write can vary. (5-12)

Because this exercise requires that you work out your concerns through more than one poem, it widens the pallet. When your usual poetic strategies have been used up, you may find that the three or four poems you still have to write will surprise you as they come out of boredom, sheer tenacity, nerve, or some hidden pocket in the imagination that you didn't even know you had.

A few good lines or gestures can be a rather thin repertoire. Writing a group of related poems asks that you think, consciously and in advance, about what you are "importantly" concerned with in your poems, not just line by line or poem by poem, but over the whole of your work. It asks that you seriously consider your work as a continuing project that engages you, with the fullest range of options, over a period of time.

4 comments:

fojee said...

Form: blank verse. (See Fry's The Ode Less Traveled)
Content: the concept of home. As an immigrant, as a Filipino, as a future Canadian, as a human being living on earth, using Bachelard's ideas, family.

fojee said...

Home of Roaches

Like a clay pot boiling over,
so life teems from the cracks
in the walls. They scurry through
on dainty feet, feelers waving.
With glossy black coats, they catch
the corner of my eye, like a blight.

(Country's not worth saving.
This is why I'm never coming back.
If you can't win, why fight?)

Come morning, and they're gone,
but imagine the worst: everything
is violated, every shoe, every countertop.
They lay eggs like black tictacs and I crush
them with vindictive hate transmogrified
from fear. So much life feeds from the living.

(They slide across my ribs, and gnaw on my bones.
Like zombies they keep coming. No way to stop
them coming. Instead I jump across the world to hide.)

Don't think it through; catch this thing,
crush it, and dust it over the living.
Only then will it ever end, and you can come home again.

fojee said...

Objects of Memory

My dad was a sailor and it sounds like a story
you spin like a compass that ceased to work.
Our living room had tall ceilings and up there
we lost balloons, though they descend a day later,
like dogs succumbing to their master's touch.
Our light, circular and flourescent, fitted in the groove
of a ship's wheel, made of carved wood hard as bone.
He lost his toenail once in a storm.
(My sister did the same in a soccer game.)
What else have we been losing? The beds are gone,
passed on to family, like the desk whose edge I broke,
the cabinet that held musty china and a chocolate stash.
We've been living in and around wood, knocking on doors
for more than luck. And there were shelves my dad built
for the books I've been accumulating like breaths.
My mom had a clothes shop but it closed down
and all those sales girls left; they lived in the back room,
behind the kitchen. They were always nice to me,
but now even their names vanish, like things
packed away in boxes, gathering dust at the back
of the shelves, or given away to friends and friends of friends,
like a house emptied, now slowly filled
with memories that don't belong to me.

the tree said...

I just stumbled on your blog while looking for something more about Lux's not so automatic writing exercise.

I like these poems, especially the last part of "Roaches" and your sister's missing toenail, and the missing sales girls. Thanks for sharing them.