Monday, July 6, 2015

Draft Process Notes: I Refer Myself to the Judicious Reader

77º ~ gray-whitish skies, some stirring breezes, a chance for a storm in the next 24 hours, and then a dry spell predicted, all is green & healthy through the view out my window

Today's desk time repeated much as yesterday's, combining inspiration from Lucie Brock-Broido (this time words gathered from "Rampion" in The Master Letters) and from the language in The Art of Simpling (written in 1656). I began my time at the desk thinking about anaphora, that use of repeated words or phrases at the beginning of clauses that causes some poems to sing, but also to echo the high church use of litanies. The church I was raised in didn't use a litany, but when I went to the College of St. Benedict, I did attend several masses each year, and I always loved the music of the litany and the communal response.

But that's a bit of a diversion. What I mean to say is that I was holding in my head the idea of the anaphora and the idea of the colloquial baroque* as I started my desk time today. Before starting to gather words from Brock-Broido, I read from The Art of Simpling, which brings out a lot of King James syntax. I skipped the "quoteths" and "fadeth away" phrases, but copied out some phrases that felt imbued with energy, such as the phrase that became the title of the poem. Another one of my jottings, "This is mine own gloss," became my starting point. Here is how the draft begins:

This, then, is mine own Gloss for the peculiar remedy, rumored
among the inelegants, the delegates
                                                          of the cellar and the glass-black fields.

Again, I seem to be writing about the body stricken by illness, and I worry a bit about separating my new voice from the voice of the sickly speaker in The Alchemy of My Mortal Form. However, this draft surprised me as it also became an exploration in class issues, in particular my guilt over having risen to the intellectual class and separated myself from my more working-class family members.

Also, while the use of anaphora is not present until the closing stanza, it is there. I drafted that stanza with the specific intent to use the repetition. This is not something I've had to "plan" this way in the past. It seems to go against my idea of letting the poem lead me to where it needs to go; however, since I was really working with an idea of form, I think focusing on the repeated phrase ("that I might now...") helped me in my discovery. Revision time will tell.

Until the next session...

*The "colloquial baroque" is a phrase coined by Lisa Russ Spaar to get at the blending of dictions in contemporary poetry, of moving between Latinate phrases and conversational ones. Practitioners that I think of when using the term are: Lucie Brock-Broido, Mary Ann Samyn, Emily Rosko, and Spaar plenty of others.

No comments: