Monday, April 5, 2010

NaPoWriMo 5 Personal

Carolyn Forché once told us that as writers
it was our job to show up at work every day,
to sit at our desk and wait for the muse to appear.
If nothing happens, so be it. Sit there and wait.
Her reasoning was that if we sat still long enough
the muse would find us, at the ready
or we'd become insanely bored & take up writing
just to escape the monotony of enforced desk time.
That's fine for those conventional enough
to have both a desk and a writing space.
I have no fixed patterns for art or words.
That work ethic of desk and chair bypassed me.
When Celia gets in the mood, she
pours herself a large glass or red wine
lights a cigarette & waits for the words to find her.
When she stares into the candle flame,
her muses come galloping in on wild ponies
waiting to be tamed. But I prefer the tranquility
of other people's white rooms. I once wanted to
write a series of poems crafted and honed
while visiting other poet's workspaces.
I never got around to it, but I discovered
any new house seems to unleash words.
Whose words, what muse, I'm not exactly sure.
And so each day I sit in Leah's little recliner
that looks like a well-loved potbellied velveteen bear
than a chair, I stare at a blank screen. Waiting.
As her cats angle in for their personal lap time,
I become a contortionist trying to write
in the sitting pretzel lotus lapcat position
while they squabble over who's next.
When it comes to lap, they're selfish.
They don't share. My involuntary angels growl
and swat the muse with bared fang and claw.

Day #5: Make your poetry personal. I mean, it already is, right? It’s thoughts, observations, deep, dark, personal feelings and stories dressed up in pretty words and oblique descriptions. You get it, and some others get it.Still others see it as something else entirely, which is great, honestly. We have our own set of filters our lives go through, and this influences how we interpret things. It is part of what makes reading poetry fun and interesting for me.Today, let’s make poetry really personal. Give poetry, as you write it, a name. Possibly a gender. And a personality. A poet I know has written (and continues to write) a series of poems based on this principle, and I shamelessly ripped it off (with permission, of course) and made a poem I called “Sasha.” Sasha is many things, all at the same time, yet all are Sasha/poetry to me.So it’s your turn. Give poetry — how you view poetry, what poetry means to you, your poetry — a name. Now write a poem suits your view or vision.

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