Two poems today. The first finished before I went to my office prior to the craft talk this morning, by 9:30am. Two lines written deleriously the night before and waiting for me when I woke to the digital page.
In that soft space between sleep and day I wrote easy, like syrup. It is titled VII + VII. Because all of a sudden, I am writing poems with numbers for titles. Don't ask. I don't know. Yes it is a 14 line poem. And not a sonnet. Except maybe it is a contemporary sonnet, with a turn on the 8th line. Damn.
I keep saying I am a night writer, but maybe adjustments are required.
The second poem I started after the craft talk, inspired by five lines I wrote down. Correction, stole. Just so you know what my journal entries look like:
new Harper Lee novel
academy leader, enzo
small and rubbery, a rabbit
Half of that got me one poem. The other half might net me a second, maybe tomorrow. Like little secret buttons pushed. Caught in my net, and then my world arranged around it. Error on enzo -- it was enso.
The second of the two poems felt grounded, but too easy, so I played chance operations with it. Which means I started moving lines around to see if a more surpising (good) variation would happen. Imagine cutting every line apart and stacking it differently, letting it make a different sense. And it did, and did again. And now I have five different versions of an eleven line poem. So maybe this will be the thing I wake to tomorrow, an answer risen in the hours my head spends on a pillow. Which will hopefully be before two. Though if the past is any predictor of the future, two a.m. is my new twilight. Or, maybe tomorrow, more chance operations, 1 + 1 = a different 2.
We have a visiting writer here, well actually two, fiction married to poetry. South to North. Interesting and lovely couple. He has a Tennessee voice tamed by time above the Mason Dixon line, but when he reads there is warmth and honey just under the surface. Madison Smartt Bell, I think he has wiritten 10-12 novels... In his craft talk, he spent a bit of time talking about tools artists used. Which I loved, because my poem of the morning had a tool box of sorts. And also, about trances and flow. And played guitar. Read this in the New Yorker, if you want a taste. And Beth Spires is here with him. A special bonus for those of us on the linebreak side of the literary fence. I took this at the craft talk, in VSC's library.
Ok wait. Am I allowed to say this? Madison is writing a review of the new Harper Lee novel. The second of two books, in a lifetime. Which the publisher sent a very special, no one else gets to see it preview copy of to him. Care of me, at VSC. So for an afternoon I held an unopened manila envelope of her brilliance, without knowing. Because of course no one should know that. Would I have steamed the seal and peeked at it? NO. No. no. Ok, all I am saying is take a look in the Boston Globe in the coming weeks, review by MS Bell. He is writing it while at VSC.
Tomorrow, a friend from my MFA will be in Johnson for a family reunion of sorts––such a small world. And the two of us will get together and gossip and talk poetry and words and children and complications and kindnesses over spinach salad with goat cheese and go for a walk to Journey's End. I adore her, wise/funny/irreverent/grounded in equal measures, plus one of those smiles that says you are home, with brown doe eyes to match. Just a seriously good person. Yay for the two of us to connect, before we see each other in a few weeks at our residency in Tahoe.
So two poems. In a day. Ok then.
Six poems in less than a week. Whatever break this is, I am taking it. After all the editing, and grad school, it is like a new voice in my head. At first I wondered if I had to blow up my other book, to make these work inside of it before I start sendign it out this fall. But stranger still... maybe this is a new other thing. Or maybe it is both. ::
1. equivalent to the sum of one and one; one less than three; "two years ago"