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message 1: by Hugh (last edited Aug 25, 2016 01:29PM) (new)

Hugh (HughBehm-Steinberg) | 7 comments Hi all,

I just signed up to this list a few days ago and thought I'd say hi (and I hope I haven't screwed up with the formatting.

About myself -- I live in Berkeley, California, I teach at California College of the Arts. My first book, Shy Green Fields was just published by No Tell Books. It's a series of 100 untitled seven-line poems, a pillowbook.

Shy Green Fields


If any of you can hook me up with readings I'd be most grateful.

Here's some samples from the book:

Larger frames. Worked around the idea in different
ways. Are the wounds, which try to heal themselves,

we try to help this happen. A garden, outwardly.
The land smells like rain, the ghosts, their heartbeats:

I know what’s right, I keep getting pulled into
smaller and smaller pieces. This is my best thought,

I thought of it first.

---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Showed such pushing. Because we
want freedom and our passion collects

so much besides feeling. We’d like to
keep love singular, and not just formally

but also in the birth of texts, or of crows,
the sense time has stopped for us, love

draws with it what is next.

---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Nobody would think, there was a point where
enough pressure would let you through, a

part of you, and the rest, what you never wanted,
it would be left behind. Therefore, rising up

is the garden, where the emperor, sitting, sits.
Starting out of joy and complexity, you go though,

and therefore the sky, it is full of secrets.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

And still, and still. Is so complicated we turn around,
this way and that; there is more, it was practiced.

A longing, to lose yourself, in. Something so
new it hurts to hold it inside you. So, no stones.

No ice, no restlessness. In your hand, the leaf,
in your hand, each secret, and the world it is

so round with you in it.

---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

I'm also the faculty editor of Eleven Eleven, the literary journal of CCA's writing program. We're reading new work for issue five until February 1, 2008. We aren't set up to handle email submissions, but people can send work to

Eleven Eleven
1111 Eighth St.
San Francisco, CA 947107


Best,

Hugh Behm-Steinberg


message 2: by Ruth (last edited Aug 25, 2016 01:29PM) (new)

Ruth | 5071 comments Hi Hugh,
Interesting poems. Can you explain the rationale behind the collection?

As for readings, Casa Romantica in San Clemente hosts a poetry reading series:

http://www.casaromantica.org/home.html

As does the Performance Loft in Redlands

http://www.performanceloft.org/poetry...

Thanks for the heads up on Eleven Eleven. I may send both poetry and artwork.

Ruth


message 3: by Hugh (last edited Aug 25, 2016 01:30PM) (new)

Hugh (HughBehm-Steinberg) | 7 comments Hi Ruth,

Many thanks for the tips, and I look forward to reading your work.

About the book:

I started writing the poems after a period of writers' block. There were all sorts of major changes going on in my life and the writing just shut down. During that period I got really really lucky and won an NEA grant, and it was like "Oh crud, now I have to write something!"

Prior to the block, I felt my writing had become very baroque and dark, too many layers. I wanted to write something very simple and direct, without darkness, to be comfortable with just saying things, instead of encoding them. I started working in this seven line, sort of half-sonnet form; I figured 100 would be a good round number of them to write. I had met someone, I was falling in love, and I got married, all during the period I was writing these poems, so there's a lot of intimacy in the book, a lot about gardens and bodies.

Best,

Hugh


message 4: by Ruth (last edited Aug 25, 2016 01:31PM) (new)

Ruth | 5071 comments So you created your own form and then stuck to it. Don't you think that sometimes that forces creativity--when you have to think inside the box you've built?

Congratulations on the NEA grant. That is major.

I used to live in Redlands, and know Sholeh Wolpe, the very beautiful and very gifted poet that runs Poetry at the Loft. If you contact her, say I sent you. It's in a neat old building that's a former citrus packing house.

I've only recently moved to San Clemente, so I'd be no help at all there. It's a beautiful villa on a cliff overlooking the ocean.

R


message 5: by Melissa (last edited Aug 25, 2016 01:32PM) (new)

Melissa (Melissaharl) Hugh, thanks for posting these. Since The One Hundred are untitled, can one refer to them at least by number, or?

I especially like the final two lines of the first seven-liner you posted:
----

the sense time has stopped for us, love

draws with it what is next.
----

Thanks again, Philip


message 6: by Hugh (last edited Aug 25, 2016 01:33PM) (new)

Hugh (HughBehm-Steinberg) | 7 comments I tend to think in terms of process more than forms. I've found there's something transformative when you do something like write 100 poems. I'm currently writing a prose poem each day for a year, something I did ten years ago and hope to repeat every ten years until they start keeping our brains in jars.

What makes long projects doable is to use a very simple form, restrictive enough so that it places limits and makes you focus on the parts of your writing you want to explore -- for me in Shy Green Fields it was line breaks, the physicality of words, one word after another, brevity; but the form should also be easy and flexible enough, so it doesn't seem like all you're doing is filling out a formula or doing a crossword puzzle. There should be a space where you can't do what you normally or habitually do, when that happens the shape of the poem will take you where you didn't think you'd go.

It's not so much forcing creativity as channeling it. I find I'm a different writer at the end of these projects then when I started them. I'll also say that when I'm done with my daily writing project I'm going to go formless and projectless for awhile.

Hugh


message 7: by Robert (last edited Aug 25, 2016 01:33PM) (new)

Robert (rgbatduke) | 72 comments The big problem I would have with this is that if I wrote a poem a day for umpty-hundred days, I'd end up with three decent poems and umpty-hundred minus three not so decent poems, if I were lucky. Churning them out would probably not be a huge problem, but after they are churned one needs to eliminate the culls (and they'd nearly all be culls). The same is true of prose fiction, only it takes longer.

I personally think that inspiration -- something "transcendent" that occurs within the consciousness to give rise to a poem -- is very important to the creative process and cannot be forced. Once the essential creative idea has been had, then yeah, sure, one can work and work and work on it, with the work shaped by that vision, but I've had very little luck forcing the creative idea itself.

So let me ask you (and not in a hostile way -- I'm seriously interested): of your own 100 poems, how may are -- really -- keepers? Not just words and images strung out in a poetic form, but something that reaches deep into your gut and (still) grabs you? Do you experience a difference between the poems that come to you unexpectedly as a perfect vision and the ones you write when it's just "time to write my poem of the day" whether or not you're particularly inspired?

rgb


message 8: by Ruth (last edited Aug 25, 2016 01:33PM) (new)

Ruth | 5071 comments I'm hereby making a resolution to get back to writing something every day. I don't think it matters if it jells or not, it's the mere fact of doing it that keeps you in the saddle.

Also works in visual art. Do it, do it, do it. If you sit around waiting for a solid gold inspiration, who knows when it will come.

But if you write every day, get up and face the task, then you're opening the door for inspiration. You never know what will come out when you sit down to write. The only way to find out is to let it all in. (It's no problem to flush the chaff.)

I'm with you Hugh, some of my best poems have come from just following my nose and discovering what I didn't know I knew.

R


message 9: by Ruth (last edited Aug 25, 2016 01:33PM) (new)

Ruth | 5071 comments Wsn't Gertrude Stein who said "I write so that I may find out what it is I have to say?"

R


message 10: by Jim (last edited Aug 25, 2016 01:33PM) (new)

Jim Rather than repeat myself, you might find the comments I made in my blog This blog is not inspired of interest.


message 11: by Hugh (last edited Aug 25, 2016 01:33PM) (new)

Hugh (HughBehm-Steinberg) | 7 comments All of them Robert. Seriously, I don't write to "churn" things out -- each time I sit down to write a poem I try to write the best poem I can, and then I try to make the next poem better than the last one. I'm not interested in writing bad or mediocre poems.

The problem with waiting for inspiration as a process is that you can wind up still writing the same poem over and over again. Inspiration is ok, but necessity also works. Deadlines are fabulous for sharpening the mind. I have to write a poem today, it has to be good, and it can't be like the poem I wrote yesterday, and that path usually leads me to doing something I've never done before. Also, the more you write, the more frequently ideas come.

It's smart to be attuned to your own creative process, then find a place to push yourself into doing something you don't feel comfortable doing. This holds true regardless of whatever school or style you hold yourself to. Especially if you write in meter, the more you can practice, the better you'll write.

If you haven't already, you might want to read Richard Hugo's book "Triggering Town". I've also found John Cage's writing on process to be very helpful.


message 12: by Robert (last edited Aug 25, 2016 01:34PM) (new)

Robert (rgbatduke) | 72 comments I don't have any problem with writing every day. Y'all have probably noticed that I tend to be (if anything:-) a wee bit on the verbose side. And what I write on goodreads is a tiny fraction of what I write -- the internet has brought about the old fashioned concept of "the letter" as a means of creative work that drove the Enlightenment and warped it up to the speed of light and made it more inclusive and international than ever before. I'm on several very active lists, and am working on several books at once. I don't have enought time to write all that I have to say that is already thought out and queued up to go out to paper.

Sometimes, it is true, having e.g. a magazine column deadline spurs me on to be "creative" -- or at least to be craftsmanlike and crank out the prose and edit it to where it says what I want it to say effectively and efficiently and without poor language. However, that's not a good way to write a book. A good book begins with an idea. If you sit down and say "I'm going to write the ideal mystery novel" (or fill in the genre of your choice) I very much doubt that what you turn out will be worth even looking at by someone who loves the genre. It just isn't that easy. Even with a good idea it is a hell of a lot of work with infinite opportunities to screw up.

Poetry is even more linked to ideas. Sure, I can crank out something. I can transform the prose concept I'm communicating right now into verse, for example, and if I really work it I can probably even make it into something "decent" in some general sense. Let's call it somewhere between C+ and B on a grading scale, where a D or F are reserved for real crap -- doggerel, trite, humorless, pretentious, incomprehensible.

To move it much above a B even to a B+, requires something, a "spark". Not just an idea -- the equivalent of an artist's study or sketch in a sketch pad -- but an Idea. To see, all of a sudden, a woman drinking absinthe with all the pain in the world in her eyes and to transform it into a work of art, not just a sketch.

So if you tell me that you are capable of turning out real art, day after day, in your sketchbook, forgive me if I doubt it. Not being critical, mind you -- perhaps you can, I don't know. I know I can't, and I know that I've never read a poet's collected published work where I liked more than a small percentage of it enough to give it more than a B, not even Yeats or Tennyson or Eliot or Joyce. I know in my own collected works of poetry, throwing out a lot, there is still far too much that is pretty ho-hum, too much that is actually really nice stuff, an easy B, but still not an A- or an A even in my own mind and probably far less so in some objective reader's mind.

Sketches have value. Practice makes perfect, and art requires discipline. There is also a Zen aspect to art (illustrated by a number of Koans) that suggests that one aspect of greatness is a form of spontaneity that only comes from not just daily practice, but speed, the artless art. However, that very daily practice is the antithesis of spontaneity - discipline or not to do something every day is to rob it of much of the pleasure and surprise that make it beautiful. I love to cook, consider it very much art, rarely use recipes, but -- I have to cook for my family every day.

Rarely are the meals I serve actively bad. However, I would never claim that each and every one is a gourmet's delight, not even when I have the energy to really try and have a brilliant new concept that I want to try, like putting curry powder into the cornflakes. Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn't, and when it doesn't work no amount of effort or skill will fix it, and so it is -- truly -- with poetry.


message 13: by Ruth (last edited Aug 25, 2016 01:34PM) (new)

Ruth | 5071 comments For me, writing does mostly does not start with an idea. It starts with an image, which I follow to see where it leads me. I discover things I didn't know. I discover the specific image/moment that becomes a metaphor for something beyond the specific.

I find starting with an idea hems me in, makes me try to force my words and thoughts to conform to what's usually an abstract concept.

R


message 14: by Robert (last edited Aug 25, 2016 01:34PM) (new)

Robert (rgbatduke) | 72 comments Image, idea, concept. Same same. Mine as often or not are dreams or a moment of nonverbal realization that forms itself into words.

The point is that I don't have these experiences every day, not to where they are worthy of a poem.

rgb


message 15: by Ruth (last edited Aug 25, 2016 01:34PM) (new)

Ruth | 5071 comments I'll give you idea/concept as almost same same. But not image. Ideas & concepts are abstracts. Image is a concrete thing. It's the lizard on the windowsill. It's the hawk circling over the freeway median. It's the Shell sign illuminated against the darkening sea.

My point is that you can create the experiences/inspiration you want by writing. If you wait until you get an idea, then you are limiting yourself to the ideas you can consciously think of. If you just write, you uncover ideas and connections and metaphors you would never have thought of in a million years.

R


message 16: by Robert (last edited Aug 25, 2016 01:34PM) (new)

Robert (rgbatduke) | 72 comments Well, this requires several pages of response or almost none. The spirit moves me to the former, but time presses and I'll try for the latter. IMO this is a right brain/left brain sort of distinction. Note that this is part of what I "do" -- I study teaching, learning, and where "inspiration" or "insight" come from as they are as essential to success in physics or mathematics as they are in literature or poetry, which really shouldn't be surprising but often is.

Left brain is verbal, analytic, symbol manipulator, sequential logic reasoner. Right brain is spatial, emotional, nonverbal, geometric, and intuitive. The left brain reasons in parts, the right brain reasons in the whole and is probably the more important of the two to the core creative process for all that the nitty gritty work is all done by the left brain. They must function together for an individual to reach their full potential in their complementary dimensions.

Nevertheless, people tend to be "dominant" on one side or the other, sometimes to a fault, sometimes as a strength, but always a person is who they are, unique, and it doesn't matter. I therefore interpret your words as suggesting that you are right-brain dominant in the creative process, that ideas flow as wholistic images from your right brain and that you develop them by using them to drive the flow of verbal content or the organization or logic of graphical art by the use of your left brain. (There is an interesting check on hemispheric dominance that has emerged recently -- right brained people tend to sit on the right hand side of an auditorium or lecture hall to put their left eye (which feeds the right brain) closer to the material being presented, the opposite being true of left brain dominant individuals. Not as a rule, of course, but as an average behavior that I actually observe in lecture.)

Note well that a left-brain dominant individual also proceeds in much the same way, because ideas come from the right brain. However, in their case an idea is unlikely to be developed unless/until it is "verbalized" -- the thing you are calling an idea or concept being the verbalization of the wholistic nonverbal conceptualization of the right brain, the thing you're calling an image being that nonverbal conceptualization for at least a subset of the possible kinds of concepts the right brain can produce.

Physics is a very much whole-brain science. Students who try to solve problems using "just algebra" find themselves spinning their wheels and working in circles. In order to be successful the left-brained algebraic process has to be informed by a clear right-brained visualization of the process being analyzed and the two hemispheres have to work together to set the solution up to where the left brain can work through the algebra correctly while the right brain watches and understands what's happening in a non-mechanical way. I work to teach students that however their brain is initially wired, they do have a choice here. You can rewire your own brain, once you understand a bit about how it works, and deliberately exercise your weak hemisphere while also working on whole-brain projects that develop the requisite collaborative ability.

The same is true of poetry (and nearly any other creative or intellectual endeavor). Left brained dominant poems tend to be highly structured -- simple and mechanical rhyme and meter, where the left brain enforces "the rules" and conveys meaning in a relatively linear fashion, with a clear temporal sequencing, for example, and with underlying spatial continuity in the internal associations. Right brained dominant poetry tends to be highly unstructured -- rhyme, meter, rules are unimportant to it, and concepts are likely to be juxtaposed in ways that violate temporal or spatial or linguistic rules of association. Right brain poetry tends to be strongly "visual" and to convey a (possibly non-sequential) collage of verbal images.

Whole brained poetry does both. It conveys powerful images and concepts (derived from the "insight" produced nonverbally by the right brain and transported over to the language centers of the left brain several ways) but structures its expression. This structure can be both sequential/associative (the poem may "make sense" as a story or an ordered set of images), and can exhibit a meter and rhyme scheme, and may have a "visual" or "graphical" element that is more a right-brained braiding of rhymes and emphasis into something that is musical but more like jazz or jam, with syncopation and a unique beat all its own.

So when I say "same same" I really mean that the creative root of nearly all poetry or art is in "something" nonverbal produced by the right brain -- an image (sure), an emotion which may not have an associated visual image quite possibly, or -- and this is a difficult concept to convey but I assure you that it describes real experience -- an "idea" or "concept". All of these are in some sense "realized" when the left brain encodes them into symbols of some sort and does its map-is-not-the-territory-but-its'-all-we've-got semantic transmogrification of them: verbalized, articulated, organized into brush strokes made according to learned rules or images assembled with learned techniques. You can't functionally communicate or be creative without both halves percolating and working together, and there is at most a semantic distinction between idea, concept, image, vision, thought, emotion, feeling as the products of a creative process that makes something out of "nothing".

This is the process that I've tried to describe in wholly inadequate words when I say that for me "poetry happens". Something bubbles up in a moment of insight or inspiration or creation and reaches the "articulation threshold" where it resonates across the whole brain, with the left brain grooving on its logical and strucural beauty and the right brain digging its wholistic perfect truth. Often the articulation happens in the form of poetry with a whole line, or even a whole verse, happening all at once. At those times I can feel the rest of the poem trying to write itself and often have to resist (if I'm, say, driving a car:-) and try to hold onto the core stanza I've got until I can get it down on paper and not lose it, because I've lost so many before by failing to do that, and the words evaporate and the concept itself can actually dim until it is just a dream again. Poems built around these "leftovers" sometimes work but are rarely as powerful unless I luck out and manage to re-evoke the muse with keyboard in hand.

Others doubtless experience this sort of thing very differently, but the right brain is a funny kind of thing. You can make yourself do algebra, or write prose, or talk. The left brain needs nothing but a starting point and it is happy enough following the rules of discourse without further direction. The right brain doesn't work that way. One cannot sit down and decide to have a brilliant insight and unify quantum field theory today, even though if you possessed the magic key -- which might be a mere handful of conceptual ideas -- your left brain could manage all the rest of the work. All writers are probably familiar with "writer's block" from bitter experience, as well. Of course they can write -- they haven't forgoteen how, and if they write on a specific topic about which they are knowledgeable they can churn out meaningful prose text. They just can't write anything creative, because their right-brain cannot be forced to do things it doesn't want to do -- it is the forcer, perfectly capable of making you look out the window during a dry sequential verbal lecture when it is starved of color and pattern and any hope of participation.

OK, so maybe this wasn't the sort version after all...;-)

rgb


message 17: by Ruth (last edited Aug 25, 2016 01:34PM) (new)

Ruth | 5071 comments I'm familiar with the left brain/right brain distinction. I may be both, though, with degrees and honors in both science and art.

And I'm not denying your experience of inspiration. I'm only saying that I think it's better to not just passively wait for the magical moment, like for the Great Pumpkin, but to set up those conditions which invite inspiration.Sitting down and writing, without an idea of where you're going can open the door to places you never would have thought to venture.

R


message 18: by Ruth (last edited Aug 25, 2016 01:35PM) (new)

Ruth | 5071 comments Maybe a concrete example of what I mean would be in order. This is a poem of mine that was published a few years ago in the book Twelve Los Angeles Poets.

Its genesis is this. I sat down at the computer to write my daily journal/workbook entry. Gazed out the window, what in hell should I write about today? My eyes fell on a broken concrete wall which I'd built several years before, so I began with that.

And as I got into telling it, I found all kinds of stuff coming out. Stuff that turned the building of the wall into a powerful metaphor.

Reconstruction

When I sit at my desk I can see the rock wall
I built beside the eucalyptus trees.
I used the concrete I broke
out of a section of the patio.

First, I went to Carlsen’s Hardware,
old-fashioned store where the light is dim,
the stock piled clear to the ceiling,
and they still have scoops for weighing nails,
where you’re helped by old geezers
in denim aprons who know how to handyman.

I told the short, bald guy with the pencil stub
behind his ear, that I wanted a sledgehammer,
followed him as we snaked past barbed wire
and post-hole diggers, stepladders and stove bolts,
into the back room, where a row of sledgehammers
leaned against the wall.

“Who’s going to use it?” He wanted to know.
“I am,” I said. He picked up the smallest,
held it out to me. I reached around him
and grabbed the biggest. “Oooo-kay,” he said,
with that I-know-better-but-I’ll-sell-her-what-she-wants
tone in his voice.

Next morning I hoisted that sledgehammer, dropped
it onto the concrete patio. I split the skull
of my ex-husband, wiped the holiness
off his face forever. Cracked open his smugness,
smashed his reasonableness, broke the back
of his visits to my dreams, pulverized the memory
of myself pleading with him to come home.

I cracked the head of my former father-in-law
who laughed at me when I said a woman could be President,
crushed that moment of misery and weakness
when I agreed with him that education was bad for women,
shattered the memory of staying where I wasn’t wanted
because I was afraid to leave.

I spilled the brainsof the faculty committee
who hired the young blonde instead of me.
Got bad John Denker in the shins
for calling me names in the fifth grade,
gave him an even bigger one for three years later
when he stuck his dirty hand down my blouse.
Smash for the cousins who took me to court
and the high school friend who stole my guy.
Pow for the psychiatrist who ratted on me to my ex
and pow for me for not reporting him.

The concrete cracked and split
into jagged chunks of everything I hated.
I heaved them into the wheelbarrow, carted
them across the lawn and built a retaining wall.
Now they’re just stones and when it rains,
they hold back the dirt
from washing into my garden.
***

I never ever would have thought of writing about that wall, if I hadn't been committed to writing every day. If I'd waited for that particular inspiration to hit me, I'd have gone the rest of my life without finding this poem.

R


message 19: by Robert (last edited Aug 25, 2016 01:35PM) (new)

Robert (rgbatduke) | 72 comments A "concrete" example indeed...;-)

I knew there was a reason I didn't want to piss you off:-)

I don't disagree with you that writing every day is a good thing to do -- it is what I do as well. Not necessarily poetry, but something with words. Crossword puzzles too (NY Times Sunday puzzles or equivalent). We even have "rhyming couplet day" in our household when I speak in rhyming couplets for as long as I can before one or another member of my family threatens me with a knife or sledgehammer if I continue.

Somewhere back up there I even said as much. What I also said is that the real point is that most of the poems I generate when the muse is not in communion with me are just not that good. (Of course, you may not think the poems I wrote with the muse are any good either, but that's a separate issue:-). There are exceptions. Some of my longest poems were very deliberately written. I've also had to work harder on those longer poems than on many of the others, but one can certainly write something without much inspiration and find both the groove and inspiration along the way.

I just don't like writing poetry that way. I hope to never become a "professional poet" in that I actually rely on poetry to make a living and have to churn out a poem a day or the like to accomplish it. For me writing poetry is sheer pleasure, not work, and I'd like to keep it that way. If people end up buying my books of poetry, that's fine. If not, that's fine too -- I won't starve, and I like them.

I'm actually pretty close to putting a poem out now -- I had a dream the other night that made an idea that I once had about a solution to the problem of evil and god very vivid (not necessarily correct, but vivid). It's churning away. I don't want to start it yet, though, because the idea hasn't articulated yet, it is still mostly conceptual. When it does, Inshallah I'll jump on it and see where it takes me.

So we're not that different, I don't think, in our beliefs here. Writing is good. In the process of writing (or practicing any art) the act of doing can lead to surprises or even great art. There is also art that comes in the other order -- the idea, image, concept comes first and then the doing (which still leads to surprises and/or greatness). I do both, both prefer the latter in poetry, as I write poetry for its own sake and not as a form of meditation or discipline. You (I'm guessing) do both, but find meditative virtue in the discipline of daily sketches. Others in the world do neither, or do both, for reasons of their own. All good, as each must choose their own path according to their own wishes and dreams.

And I like your poem, by the way. Especially how you end up with a wall made of "just stones" that hold back the dirt from your garden. A touch of Zen.

rgb


message 20: by Ruth (last edited Aug 25, 2016 01:35PM) (new)

Ruth | 5071 comments So we're not as far apart as we thought we were, eh? So I guess I'd better put my money where my cabeza is. I just haven't been writing much lately.

R


message 21: by Robert (last edited Aug 25, 2016 01:35PM) (new)

Robert (rgbatduke) | 72 comments I look forward to it. Post it here first; I'm sure at least one-L-Phil and I would love to see it and might even comment.

Do some more angry poetry. If your poem above is truly autobiographical, I suspect that you still have a bunch of absolutely justified rage bottled up that didn't yet make it out, to be buried in your garden where flowers and rain and scented Eucalyptus can restore to it, and you, a measure of peace.

I've got to prepare a much more mundane lecture on relativity theory, which is very much a form of poetry, but it is God's own poetry and can only be properly expressed in God's own language of mathematics and symmetry. But soon, very soon now, I think I'll be throwing a new poem out to you and the group. One really positive aspect about talking about poems and reading the great poems people are posting is that it does get the creative juices, whatever they might be, flowing.

Ultimately it comes down to how may hours a day one can work and how few one can sleep. I can get by on three or four hours of sleep for a day or three, but I still "need" more like five or six or occasional eights. And unfortunately, I've still got the reading monkey on my back. I just read Naomi Novik's three dragon books, Carl Hiasen's latest, and started on a Neal Stephenson in the last week or so, and went to Barnes and Noble with my 12 year old son today to get a few more. Now he's reading His Majesty's Dragon (with Something Wicked This Way Comes waiting in the wings) and I've got LeCarre's latest Africa story and a couple of SF novels that were strongly recommended on one of the SF groups. Reading, writing, reading, writing, hmmm, what will it be tonight...;-)

rgb


message 22: by Ruth (last edited Aug 25, 2016 01:35PM) (new)

Ruth | 5071 comments While that poem is indeed autobiographical, it was written quite a few years ago. I used it as an example because it's so easy to see the direct connection between what I happened to see when I sat down to write and the poem that resulted. As for me, after 35 years the anger has lost its fizz.

I can post poems here, but I won't post unpublished work. Too many publications won't consider previously published work, and too many of them think internet posting is publishing.

Here's another that came from just starting to write about something. In this case, my mother's purse. As I wrote, I realized that almost everything I was describing could be a metaphor for her illness. It's way pared down from the original writing, just as she was way pared down from her original self. It was published in RE:AL, a literary mag out of Austin State University.

Dementia

My mother’s purse,
almost empty,
brass clasp gaping open,
shredded tissues,
cracked mirror,
black lining,
no keys inside.


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