Sunday, August 7, 2011

Draft Process: Ungentle Sleep

100º ~ oh, yes, that's a trip-digit BEFORE NOON, friends and fans of the Kangaroo, I discount all forecasts as they've been on the low side for days, meteorologists dreaming again

This morning, we experienced an internet outage and it was perfectly timed.  I had been futzing about on the web, reading blogs and generally wasting time.  I say 'wasting time' not because the blogs are a waste but because my goal was to finish my seven-day poem-a-day self-challenge.  Rather than push myself to draft, I was letting the blogs distract me.  When I get back into my school schedule, I won't have time to drift around the blogosphere.  I'll have to draft within a certain time in order to get to school on time. 

So, while C. grumbled about the lack of an internet connection, rather than join him as I usually do, I swept all of the extraneous paper from my desk, grabbed my journal, plugged in the classical music, and got to work.  Since I've enjoyed two good drafts using the Lucie Brock-Broido book, I returned to it again.  Today, I decided I would read until I came to a line that suggested a title and then go from there.  I couldn't restrain myself from stealing words; however, I've seen a different result if I place the poems randomly around the page rather than in columns.  The columns work very well for a word bank and random pairs, but if I just toss the words onto the page, knowing I'm not going to number them, then some unexpected sparks appear.  Plus, certain words call to other words or cause me to write down words of my own. 

Today's title is "I Have Gone Shimmering into Ungentle Sleep," which comes from Lucie Brock-Broido's poem "From the Proscenium."  Oh, and the fever is still present today, just in the lines of the poem rather than the title.  It begins:

This fever is my tutor.  It lectures
scarlet on my cheeks, pale quarter-moons

on all my fingernails...
The Poet's Fevered Pillow
I had an interesting experience with form as I drafted today.  Once I'd gotten about nine lines on the page of my journal, I felt the momentum strong enough to switch to the computer.  After I'd drafted two chunky stanzas there, I realized the form and the content were at war.  Something wasn't right.  I decided to let the white space in by indention and hard returns.  The image of the poem became familiar and comfortable, but when I read it again, the form and content still weren't married.  Back to the drawing board, I wound up with couplets straight through.  One thing that adding the indention and extra returns does for me is help me see where I want the lines to break.  All that extra white space makes me pause more when reading the draft out loud and I can see more clearly where I want the pauses to actually be. 

Tomorrow is return to school day.  I'll be on campus from 8:30 - 4:00.  If I'm up for it, I may try to extend my draft-a-day, but I'm not betting the farm on it. 


Anonymous said...


Kristin said...

I got an unexpected poem this morning after reading your phrase about meteorologists dreaming. Thanks!

Sandy Longhorn said...

Wow, that's great Kristin! Can't wait to see what becomes of it.