Wednesday, August 26, 2009

After the Fun and Games

So, after wearing themselves out with chasing each other and the subscription card balls, the cats settled into their sweet selves and I was able to draft a new poem.

As many of you know I tend to work with shorter lyrics and sometimes I have doubts about this. I wonder if I don't push myself far enough with my drafts, if there is more to say, if I am holding myself back or if I'm just lacking the creative stamina for the longer poem. Yet, as I was working this morning, the one thing I kept having to guard against was my tendency to over explain. I have long suffered from not trusting my audience, in both poetry and life, and this is a true failing on my part. Thankfully, in the last few years, I've become better at hearing the clunky parts of the poem that go too far. The danger of over explaining is that it removes the mystery that is necessary in poetry. Again, I've turned to the famous Keats' quote I have taped on the file cabinet to my left.

"I mean Negative Capability, that is when man is capable of being in uncertainties, Mysteries, doubts, without any irritable reaching after fact & reason." (John Keats, Dec. 1817)

In defense of the short lyric, if it needs defending, I do love it for its concision and compression. It reminds me of the amuse bouche, that bite-sized morsel of the chef's own invention not available on the menu. Sure, the analogy ends there because the whole meal would follow (and be the longer poems, I suppose). However, I'd suggest that one could make a meal of multiple amuse bouche offerings if they were tasty enough and plentiful, as I hope my poems are.

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