Sunday, March 8, 2015

Draft Notes: A Prose Poem?

47º ~ yesterday's bright sun obscured by heavy clouds bearing rain from the gulf, 30% of the snowcover remains, all manner of yard birds congregate and feed

Shhhhhhh, dear reader, I may have written the barest draft of a poem today, a prose poem no less. Shhhhhh, let's not startle it out of existence.

Here's some photographic evidence of the journey.

To elaborate: I have been obsessed with a topic of late, unsure how to proceed. Poetry didn't seem to be working, so I thought maybe it was time for a short story or a novel. I've spent quite a few hours lately making false starts, which may explain my silence here.

This morning seemed like a new beginning in a lot of ways. I'm finally feeling a little bit healthy (but I've said that before, so knock wood), and I got to collage a new journal yesterday, since my most recent one has been filled. With the new "green&brown" journal at hand, I started with the idea of doing an erasure, without thinking of any subject matter at all. I recently finished reading the latest issue of Orion, so I flipped to the first page and started circling phrases and words at random, but in an order that would create meaning, thinking of a linear erasure poem. That failed. Utterly. Next, I flipped to "It's Natural" by Julia Alvarez, the lead essay in the Lay of the Land section. This time, I just skimmed the article, circling away at any and all words & phrases that seemed concrete and interesting. After I finished with the article, I picked a phrase as a starting point and drew arrows to connecting words. (If you are familiar with how I use word banks in my journal, you will see the similarity.) And thus began the poem, a prose poem nonetheless, and on the subject of my current obsession. Who knew?

In the house of charm swept into a vase, yet another old aunt is taking notes...

The only words I added to this are "In the" and "is." The segments would be ... house of | charm  | swept into a vase | yet another old aunt | taking notes.

I've written the occasional prose poem in the past, but I was a bit surprised when the draft came out this way, so I got out my Allison Benis White and an Oliver de la Paz to refresh myself on prose poems. I also posted a question on prose poems to a group on Facebook for more feedback. I do confess that after the first full sentence formed from Alvarez' essay, I then began drafting on my own adding some of my circled words here and there, generating most of the remaining text myself. Sometimes, a poet just needs a push-start.


Kathleen said...

Neato! And glad you are feeling better.

Sandy Longhorn said...

Thanks, K.