Dear Reader, I hope you don't tire of stories about drafting fairy tale/cautionary tale poems. It seems I'm enamored of them lately.
A confession: I forgot to think about drafting a poem last night before sleeping. It was a lot harder to get going this morning. Did I psych myself out once I realized I hadn't "prepped" for today? Who knows. Just an observation.
My friend and former student, Suzi, commented on my word bank post from last week and mentioned that she found herself gathering mostly verbs. Ah ha, I thought, a new twist on the prompt. I decided to start today by gathering only verbs from Kelli Russell Agodon's latest book, Letters from the Emily Dickinson Room. This is a book I've had for several months and just hadn't gotten to. It is next up on my reading pile. I already know it's going to be awesome because as I was combing it for verbs, I kept getting caught up in the poems (a danger to the exercise and perhaps a reason to use a non-poetry book for gathering your words!). In any case, I created my word bank of verbs.
Then, I veered from the prompt. I thought I might try another fairy tale, so before I started with the words, I thought about what prairie icon I hadn't used yet. I have used: Fire/Drought, Snow/Freezing, Lakes/Drowning, and Storm/Tornadoes. As I stared out into the snowy wilds of the backyard, a picture from our summer trip to Jamaica was on my computer screen. It happened to be one that was a long-distance view out over the ocean on a clear day. The horizon line was amazing, and then ker-pow, I had it: "Fairy Tale for Girls Who Seek to Meet the Horizon." (There's a lot of commonality between the ocean horizon and the prairie/plains horizon. Of course, the poem is about the prairie.)
Something to continue to mess with in future drafts. When is the comfort zone a part of voice/style/identity? And when is the comfort zone just a crutch?
PS: And now, on proofreading this post, it comes to me that this poem DEMANDS long line that mirror the horizon. Yes, form is something I've studied and something I think about, but not at the moment the draft is emerging (unless I'm going for a sonnet or a pantoum or another formal structure).