Friday, March 5, 2010
49º ~ sun on the path to warming
Today was a bit of new start after last week's disaster. I had to start a new journal, even though I'd barely written in the ruined one, and I had a slew of recently received lit mags on the desk. While I may want to sit down at the desk and immediately begin to write, my process doesn't work that way. I need to read for a good half-hour to an hour to settle my brain and get the ground to soften and allow the new shoots through. Today, I read the recent issue of American Poetry Review. Before I get to the drafting, I wanted to share the end of a poem that leapt off the page for me. Joe-Anne McLaughlin is new to me, but has three books I plan to check out. McLaughlin's poem "Munnsville Sites, Or Why You Should Visit" ends this way: "yellow jackets / harvest apple pulp so sweet, / one bite / could prevent your suicide / for weeks:" Wow!
With that echoing in my head, I felt limber enough to begin staring at the blank page myself. I decided I'd look at my inspiration cards, and it turned out that the first one I looked at (a new one), set me off. I've included it here. Sadly, the fish doesn't make an appearance in the poem. The first line actually arose from a bit of McLaughlin's bio in APR: "Likewise, she runs... . " The bio goes on to talk about a summer program McLaughlin runs, but the sound and the rhythm of "Likewise, she runs" spawned the poem that became "The Nature of Conflict." I took the title and the emotional sense of the poem from the card, and I used the sheep and the bouquet. What I love about these cards is that every time I look at them, I see something new or have a chance to go in a new direction. They startle me out of my poetic ruts, and let's face it, we all have our own poetic ruts.