46º ~ the beautiful sun has been hidden by an expanse of gray clouds, but the temps are staying up, so it's hard to complain, the melt begins
Thanks to Josh's comment from my process notes earlier today, I thought I'd walk y'all through one random word bank experience that resulted in a poem that has since been published, "Late Aubade."
First: I began with Pablo Neruda's book Full Woman, Fleshly Apple, Hot Moon, translated by Stephen Mitchell. Neruda's word choices are divine, and Mitchell does a fabulous job holding true to that in translation as far as I've been told. (I took French.) I flipped through some of my favorite poems (the book is well dog-eared) and jotted down lists of words that jumped out at me. Then, I numbered the words. Here's the page from my journal.
After I had the list, I went to Random.org and used their random number generator. I created pairs of words based on the roll of the dice, so to speak. Once I had a healthy number of pairs, lines began to form. The part that's a bit hard for me is to really keep the pairs random and not to force things. If I force things, the draft usually ends up stunted. There's something about the random smashing together of words that sparks lines in my head. Here's that page from the journal.
You'll see that the second word pair is 'undulate' and 'foxes,' if you can read that mess. I was probably ready to start drafting right then, but I kept listing the pairs and more sparks resulted. The first three lines I have here in the journal are:
The foxes undulate
through the ditches filled with
cattails dense and wounded.
You might notice that 'cattails' came up in two different pairs, once with 'dense' and once with 'wounded.' Having words come up more than once used to bug me, but that's the nature of randomness, and it worked out well in this poem. Of course, everything gets fine-tuned in revision, so it's all about mindset at this point.
Finally, I was so inspired that I went right to the computer. Usually, I draft more lines than this in the journal first. To see the resulting poem, which went through several revisions, please go to the Connotation Press site and read, "Late Aubade." You have to scroll to the bottom; it's the last poem on the page.
Thanks again, Dear Readers, just for being out there.