Monday, May 19, 2014

Today I Wrote a Poem

74º ~ the sweet warmth returns, praise be, all sun and a breeze that can only be defined as "playful and non-threatening"

Today, I wrote a poem. It is only the third poem I've written in 2014, my slowest period of writing yet.

I have been looking forward to a return to focused writing for several months, but this morning, I had to put my pen where my mouth has lately been. By this I mean that sometime in April, I think at the Arkansas Literary Festival, I was asked about writer's block, and I proudly declared, "I don't believe in writer's block!" If memory serves, I conceded that sometimes I write really shitty drafts, but that I always try to write.

This morning, I began with a method that has rarely failed me: the word bank. For any new readers, this is when I skim a book (usually of poems) from a writer I admire, and I "steal" the nouns & verbs, and sometimes adjectives, that stand out. I let these fall on my journal page in a tumbling mess, my goal being that spark of inspiration/ignition as two words strike each other in just the right way. Today, I filled my page and sure enough a teeny, tiny little spark occurred and I jotted down some quick lines. However, these lines were mostly about sound and I wasn't connected in any emotional way to the meaning, so they fizzled out.


I decided to go back to what I'd been doing the last few days...just reading. I picked up Bright Power, Dark Peace, a chapbook jointly written by Traci Brimhall & Brynn Saito (Diode Editions, 2013). While I'm desperately looking forward to reading this book, I didn't even make it past the first page, "Traveler's Guide to the Ruined City." This prose poem takes the form of an information page one might find in a travel guide or almanac with sections for population, location, history, language, etc.

I didn't even read the descriptions following the section headers. I just dropped the book and picked up my journal, knowing that the angry sisters from last year had something else to say via this adopted form. I didn't use all of the same categories as Brimhall & Saito, and I used line breaks because prose poems are hard for me. Interestingly, I didn't need my word bank at all once I began describing the home of the angry sisters, not a town, city, state, country, etc., but their center of operations, the abandoned barn in which they live together. Who knew?

So, thanks to the inspiration of fellow poets, I have a new (probably shitty) draft, "The Angry Sisters: An Almanac," and that is all that matters.


Molly said...

Yay, angry sisters! Go, Sandy!

Sandy Longhorn said...

Thanks, Molly!

Unknown said...

That's awesome! I love when that happens. Looking forward to more of your wonderful poetry.

Sandy Longhorn said...

Thanks, Val!