Sunday, May 12, 2013

Draft Process: Little One's Provocation

62º ~ an "arctic" cool down for Mother's Day, which makes me laugh ~ feeling sorry for my mom who really wants to get in the garden but Iowa is all cold & wet this year, even a frost advisory for this morning

Well, that was unexpected.  I wasn't even thinking about drafting this morning.  I was thinking about reading, and I did start the day by finishing up a book of poetry that had been sitting on my desk for about a month.  I'm not quite ready to comment on the book yet, so I'll leave it at that.  After closing the book, I started sorting through more of the endless papers that seem to breed on my desk.  At the same time, I was on FB taking care of a Heron Tree posting.

In that space of time, I read three poems that all conspired to send me to my journal, setting off one singular voice from the angry sisters trio, in this case "Little One."

Here are the three poems.  First, I read Lisa Fay Coutley's brutally honest poem "On Home." While I'm not a mother, this poem sliced something open inside me.  Then, among my papers, I found that I'd torn out the following two poems from their journals.  Roger Reeves' "The Sun Was Like a Gold Body" from The Cincinnati Review and Marcus Wicker's "Shibboleth" from The Journal.  (Neither appears to be available online.)  Both of these last two poems are litanies, and maybe there is a better word for the form.  Both poems use the repetition of the phrase "Say" or "Say it," beseeching, prodding, goading the reader.  I know exactly why I tore out these two poems, as I've long been a lover of this type of repetition/litany.

Well, I re-read "Shibboleth" in full and only made it through the first three lines of Reeves' poem, when the youngest of the angry sisters started a full-on rant.  Boom, I had to go to the journal and start writing.  What arrived on the page is nearly exactly what made it onto the computer screen, which is a bit unusual for me.  Usually, once I get to the computer with the kernel of the poem, things expand and contract and change shape to a great extent.  Instead, what I wound up with is a highly combustible, 8-line nugget of anger that matches almost exactly what I scribbled in my journal, thus the title including the word "provocation." 

Without even really thinking about it, Little One's litany is not directed at the reader.  Instead, she implores her sisters, opening with "Say it, sisters."  And yes, there are a LOT of esses bouncing around in her angry poem.

Feeling a bit stunned by it all, I'm grateful to the three poets named above for the spark & shove.


John Vanderslice said...

"Spark and shove"--a good title for a cw textbook.

Sandy Longhorn said...

Love it, John!

Kathleen said...

Glad you got a poem! And I hope your mom will get good garden weather soon.

Sandy Longhorn said...

I hope so, too, Kathleen!

Molly said...

Yay for a surprise draft! The best kind of stunned!

Sandy Longhorn said...

Thanks, Molly!