87º ~ 100, 101, 102, 100, 100: thus read the predicted highs for the week ~ sigh ~ sweat ~ laundry ~ sigh ~ sweat ~ laundry ~ impossible to even run short errands without feeling it
Today's draft post builds on my last draft post (7/29/11), in which I discussed Sandra Meek's Biogeography as inspiration. I've read half of the book now and while my poems are drastically different from Meek's, which take on a more global view from time to time, I am indebted to her for the idea spark.
Today, as I was reading more from Meek's book, I had my notebook open and ready, not sure where I would go, but wanting to try to draft a poem a day for this week. So, I kept repeating "I will write a poem" all morning and I held that thought in the back of my head as I read. One of the things I wrote down in my journal was this: "Embrace the I." For a while now, I've tried to distance myself from the "I" in my poems. I have worked to avoid autobiography and simply write poems inspired by the things I've heard, seen, done, experienced, etc. without telling the facts of my life. I've done this as a conscious attempt to subvert the idea of confessional poetry. One of the ways I've done this is to use the third person almost exclusively. Of course, with the nursery tales, that also fit the form.
However, as I've been reading lately, I've been watching how other poets I admire, Meek among them, work with the "I." And you know what...I could care less if they are revealing "facts" about themselves or if they made them up. I like the closeness of the "I," the revelation of the speaker.
After reading another section of Meek's book, I started having an inkling of where I wanted to go but needed one more push. That push came by reading over the draft from the 29th. Again, nothing came pouring out of me and there was a lot of hemming and hawing, but still, I got down a draft: 10 stanzas written in couplets, "Biogeography: 8/1/11." It begins:
Traveling to the house of born and raised
is slow going. I dredge a map from muscle memory
that says north by northeast and tells me
when to turn, when to stop and gather strength.
|my childhood home, from a recent real estate listing|
For now, I'm just happy to have gotten something down, whether it lives or not. Good blogger & poetry friend Karen J. Weyant reminded me of this when she reported that she'd written a poem a day for July and at the end found she had 16 drafts that might be poems. Duh! Headsmack! I'd let myself fall back into that trap of thinking every draft I began had to lead somewhere final. I am now reminded that there must be room for failures, for drafts that die on the page; otherwise, the pressure of perfection stifles all the words in my head. Snuff!