Tuesday, February 27, 2007
Monday, February 26, 2007
Sunday, February 25, 2007
Only one poem this week, so 500 words. I'm a little mopey about the word count, but it was a stressful week at work. I tried, but nothing much happened in the writing department.
Next week, hopefully, will be more productive. 8469 for this year.
Saturday, February 24, 2007
Wednesday, February 21, 2007
I personally loved this week's topic from Poetry Thursday. The prompt was "the body knows." I believe our bodies know things before we know them mentally. I think our bodies are open to physically recognizing things that we aren't ready to recognize them emotionally or mentally. I also think I personally spend most of my waking life ignoring what my body knows or trying to distance myself from what the body knows. Even so, in a lot of my poems, I try to root them in some sort of combination of physical knowing and mental/emotional knowing.
This image in this rough draft was what immediately occurred to me after reading the prompt. There are two other "Domesticity Poems," which I've been working on for (on and off, mostly off) a year. As always, Happy Poetry Thursday!
Domesticity Poem #2
Every night, we lie together,
the four of us, bodies touching,
along the edges of the bed.
The cats remain at the corners,
squaring off, between our legs.
Their green eyes flash as they calculate
the positions of our bodies, the territory
they each claim as their own.
You and I are not as nocturnal,
not as concerned with distance
and space. We sleep, arm slung
over chest, knee pressing ribs,
skin rubbing against skin. We toss
and turn the whole night, a slow
silent waltz. We meet in the middle
then separate, tumbling together
in our crowded double bed.
Even in sleep, our bodies
know our boundaries, and we push
against them all night long.
Monday, February 19, 2007
After we were done with our two bags, I had to literally pull myself away from the book tables, as did my husband. I think we freaked out Ox and his girlfriend a bit. And she's a librarian.
I'm so excited for my new collection that I put it on a separate book shelf in our home. Here are the highlights of my finds...
-- Maxine Hong Kingston's Woman Warrior (I somehow missed this in college, besides living in the Womyn's Center and taking Women's Lit classes in college.)
-- Doris Lessing's The Golden Notebook (Highly recommended to me by every professor in grad school)
-- An out of print book of Kenneth Rexroth's poetry (A friend of the Beats is a friend of mine)
-- Derek Walcott's book of essays What the Twilight Says
-- Camille Paglia's Sex, Art and American Culture (Includes her famous essay on Madonna)
-- Natalie Goldberg's Thunder and Lightning
There's more, including some very cool anthologies and travel books. I don't know when I'll find the time to read them, but like a true obsessive, just having them makes me happy.
Sunday, February 18, 2007
Despite the hellacious amount of grading I had this week, I was still able to crank out 700 words. Not too bad. I neglected blogging a little bit (a lot), but something's gotta give.
7969 for the year.
Wednesday, February 14, 2007
Once upon a time, there was a girl. By day, she scrubbed stubborn gray ash from her stone bed. By night, she spun silence into silk, and cloaked herself in it. She frequented all the right places, places where nobody knew her name.
Once upon a time, there was a boy, trapped in hell. If hell was a party where people snacked on fish eggs and whispered idle lies. He saw the girl from across the room, and we know the rest. He followed her home. After dark. Watched her change back into her gray rags and wax the kitchen floor. He was hooked.
Once upon a time, he made her a promise. He gave her a pair of glass shoes, delicate and transparent as dreams. He said, “Slip these on, baby, and walk all the way home with me.” While he wasn’t watching, she put them on.
Here’s what we don’t know. They were so tight, they sliced the skin clean off her heels. It hurt like hell, and she was afraid of the blood, but she wore them anyway and hobbled home. She wore them every day. Every day watched her skin whittle away, like the unfolding of an onion. She waited for them to fit perfectly.
She waited a long time.
Monday, February 12, 2007
Sunday, February 11, 2007
I seem to hitting a pattern or stride. I write about the same amount every week, totaling 600 words. All poetry. I like that I have a routine. It feels good to have consistent writing a part of my life again.
I haven't really spent much time on fiction. I think this in large part to the death of my writing group a couple of months ago. They were all fiction writers, so I wrote fiction with them. They felt more comfortable critiquing it and I liked the experimentation.
Now, that I have been posting to Poetry Thursday, I've got other poets to get feedback from. I love it, I love it, I love it. (Did I mention that I love it?) Fiction has been taking a back seat, again, and I'm okay with that.
So, 600 for the week. 7269 for the year. Maybe I'll try to integrate an extra poem or haiku in the mix, to up my word count for next week. However, I'm expecting a lower than average word count, because the end of the term is this week. Hooray for grading.
Saturday, February 10, 2007
For me, the lyric I entails the use of the I in an autobiographical, almost confessional sense. I think of the way I teach the poem "Daddy" by Sylvia Plath, when I think of the lyric I. In our literature book, there is a quote by Plath stating that the poem is about a girl who had an Electra complex and learned that her father was a Nazi, which complicated matters. Beneath that, the editors provide a brief biographical background on Plath's family. Otto Plath, her father, was never a Nazi, though he was German.
Then, there's the lyric eye. For me, this encapsulates the use of I in a pseudo-biographical sense or a completely fictional sense. For instance, the work of Ai or Patricia Smith. Both of these women use the persona and multiple persona in their books to illuminate an experience for the reader that they have never had. They capture the scariness in the daily world, the horror and the terror. (Dogfaceboy, for her Poetry Thursday offering, entitled "Enough" does this really well, too.) While it is pretty clear that the I in these poems is not the author, they are using the I to create true experience, in an emotional sense.
Then, of course, there is the blurry lines between all of this. As readers and writers, we have to decide where we fall on this sticky subject. Many, and most, believe that playing with journalistic truth is the right and the duty of poets. Not everyone believes that, however. Ted Kooser, our poet laureate, writes about this issue:
"Perhaps I am hopelessly old-fashioned. Perhaps I should accept
the possibility that what the poet says happened really didn't
happen at all, but I'm going to have to make a painful adjustment
in the way I read poetry and honor poets. I grew up believing
a lyric poet was a person who wrote down his or her observations,
taken from life. I have always trusted the "I" of Walt Whitman as
he dresses the wounds of fallen soldiers; I trust Mary Oliver to tell
me what birds she saw as she walked through a marsh; I trust
Stanley Kunitz when he describes two snakes entwined in a tree."
-- Taken from this article.
While I often use the lyric I and the lyric eye interchangeably in my work, but I have to acknowledge the truth in Kooser's statements. I do believe, deep down, in the I as author perspective in poetry, due to its rich history in our literature.
Wednesday, February 7, 2007
my own way of asking for change:
who can't go home?
Already thought of home
on a yellow lit street at midnight,
Tuesday, February 6, 2007
I wrote this while I was stuck in traffic on the way to work, on a small notepad that a friend of mine bought for me in Japan. Very dangerous, but in this case, necessary before the haiku flitted away.
Our First Storm of the Season
When we woke today,
streets were swathed in snow, erased.
Everything has changed.
Monday, February 5, 2007
Sunday, February 4, 2007
I've been pretty happy with my poetry progress lately, thanks in large part to Poetry Thursday. I've forgotten that once you start writing poems again, even if you force yourself to do it, you eventually get the creative urge to write. All by yourself.
1100 words this week -- all poetry. 6669 for the year.
Saturday, February 3, 2007
Friday, February 2, 2007
Thursday, February 1, 2007
On any variable day, we two
(whole numbers, divisible
by the space between us
in bed, the span
of hours in our days)
comprise within us
and without us an infinite
number of possibilities (hero
villain friend lover stranger
worker partner angel fiend)
crammed into a finite
space (our imperfect skins
stretched across 412 bones, countless
cells, sinew, muscle fibers). Add
or subtract anything to this equation
(tone of voice at the end
of the night, the desire,
but not the act, to hurl dirty dishes
against the wall) and the equation
remains unchanged. Multiply this
unknown, undetermined quantity
of days left, by the unspeakable
kindnesses we two can create
(squeeze of the right shoulder, kiss
that still sends shocks shooting
through fingers and toes), the equation
evolves. This shift
may be immeasurable (two
millimeters closer in bed when
we sleep, one more half second
tangled in each other’s limbs)
or mathematically insignificant (one moment
less silence), but nonetheless present and counted.