Sunday, June 28, 2009

June's week four free-for-all

Things are still pretty quiet over here at "poem," but we're chugging along. The fourth week in our virtual writing group represents the closing (networking and sharing) segment of an IRL writing group. So let's wrap up and begin looking forward to next time:
  • What do you think it would be like to go on vacation with other famous poets?
  • What's on your reading list when you go on vacation over the next couple of months (summer for the northern hemisphere)?
  • What kinds of conflicts do you face as a writer when the line gets blurry between poet and narrator?
  • What ideas do you have for "poem" in the coming months?
It's a free-for-all!


Linda Jacobs said...

1. I think it would be awesome to vacation with other poets. When I go with my husband, I have to eke out little spots for writing and reading poetry and it's never enough. Just having poets to discuss poetry with would be heaven!

2. We were on vacation last week and I finished a paperback called Cry Mercy, read two poetry books: Persephone in America by Alison Townsend and Ballistics by Billy Collins, and started another paperback, Simple Genius. I loved both the poetry books!

3. 95% of my poems are first person from my point of view. I guess I don't really experience much conflict.

4. It seems that this site gets the most comments when we discuss a new poem. There are so many prompt sites that I can't keep up with all of them. I guess I'd like to see more poems for discussion and maybe less of the prompts to write.

I really do like the concept of this site, though! Thanks for all your work to keep it going!

Jill said...

1. Vacation for me has always been about family—entertaining the children, seeking out things that will make them happy. So…to vacation with a famous poet, I might find myself trying to entertain the poet, charging across the beach at low tide digging up horse shoe crabs and bringing them to The Poet as fodder for new poems. I suppose every action, every small detail would gain greater importance. Every bite of breakfast at the Irish restaurant would teem with poetic possibility. Every wrong turn when trying to find a beach would reinvent itself as a poem.
2. I have a really, really hard time choosing what to bring on vacation. This past week I brought far more books than I could ever possibly read: Theories of Falling, Sandra Beasley; The Plath Cabinet, Catherine Bowman; At the Drive-In Volcano, Aimee Nez; Night Work, C.E. Perry; Thirst, Mary Oliver (we were going to Cape Cod, after all) and five more poetry books! I read some of Beth Ann Fennelly’s Open House and finished a mystery.
3. Poet and narrator, at least so far, hasn’t been much of a problem for me. If a subject feels to close, I think I turn to magical realism. At least, that’s where the poems usually take me. Then the subject becomes so wild, there is little chance of admitting any gruesome truth. Or I use the ubiquitous “she.”
4. Thanks for the suggestions, Linda! Perhaps we will discuss two poems by an author, then have one week of linking to poems written in reponse, followed by a probing free-for-all… Carolee?

Anonymous said...

1. i have a romantic ideal about being on vacation with a famous poet. how it would be all cocktail lounge and row boat and shouting at the thunder. :)

2. when i go to portland in a couple weeks, i'll be taking "a devil to play: one man's year-long quest to master the orchestra's most difficult instrument" by jasper rees and "the varieties of scientific experience: a personal view of the search for god" by carl sagan. i'm probably not going to take a book of poetry. unless i am so enchanted by something i have in progress when it's time to pack.

3. i do think about the poet vs. narrator thing quite a bit. i don't care if most people confuse me with my narrator (and she and i have a lot in common a lot of the time). but i've been known to tell people who may benefit from clarification, people who would be affected if they thought the narrator was me. but then, i worry about getting into a place where i'm downplaying the impact of a piece or the importance of a particular method of expressing something.

i go into magical realism quite a lot, as well, and i often take a "real" beginning (something from my actual life) and then fictionalize its progression. that is both easier and harder to explain.

4. i also like the discussions best. and the free-for-alls. maybe we alternate weeks: discuss a poem. discuss a poetry-related topic. discuss a poem. discuss a poetry-related topic. discuss a poem ... or maybe we try it for the summer?

Donald Harbour said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator. said...

I had an idea to have a single poem translated into several languages, as relating to a charitable cause in this case it is for highlighting awareness of the persecution of the peaceful tai chi group Falun Gong by the Chinese Communist Party, here is the group see here for more info on what I mean:

You are welcome to duplicate this idea hopefully promoting the above group too alongside your choice of poem (whatever theme)

if you think this is good to do, well you are welcome to adopt this approach provided we can connect our efforts its for the good of the world too :)


Leslie F. Miller said...

1.) Poets are nasty when they drink, and famous poets are already pompous asses, so I'm not sure I would go on vacation with them. LOL.

2.) I am still reading the book I started two weeks ago. I can't seem to find quiet time to read. Someone always wants something in the summer. It's nonfiction for me: Michael Pollan and Diane Ackerman.

3.) Blurry lines are my friend. I try to write first-person poems about fictional situations because I believe that poems are about more about readers than about writers.

4.) I love using others' poems as inspiration. I've begun writing songs, as well, and I think I love the idea of using FB or Twitter status messages as launching points, as well as reversing that—using Twitter and FB to make poems.

christine swint said...

1. It depends on who it is. Charles Bukowski? Not a chance. Billy Collins? He seems like he'd be very polite.(Leslie Miller's comment is funny.)

2. I'm reading Sassing by Karen Head, her latest book. She's a southern poet. It's totally accessible and readable, an autobiography in verse. I've been reading books by local authors, trying to support my new tribe.

3. I lie. It's so much more fun to make things up while trying to stay faithful to the spirit of the truth.

4. I think what you do is great, choosing a poem to look at and use as a point of departure. If it ain't broke, why change it?

You could always post interviews with the poets whose work you study. Video is nice too. A video recording of the poet reading her poem.

rob kistner said...

Talk about a vacation with poets -- I have fantasized more than once about attending the the biennial Geraldine R. Dodge Poetry Festival, ever since I saw Bill Moyers' PBS television series, the acclaimed eight-part The Language of Life series.

It was filmed at the 1994 Festival providing a look at the overall activities of the Festival and in-depth conversations with the featured poets. I immediately bought Bill's Language of Life book, and his 1998 book Fooling With Words about the 1998 Festival.

I also have the audio track of the Language of Life PBS special on cassette tape no less. It is amazing hearing the poet's presenting their work, immersed in the sounds of the festival, then talking about their work with Bill. I'm getting it on CD soon.

But alas, he who hesitates following his dream, loses the dream. The festival has fallen to these difficult financial times, and is cancelled indefinitely. Sad to lose such a remarkable event - and poetry vacation opportunity.

rob kistner said...

As to questions 2, 3, qnd 4:

2. I don't read on vacation. I disconnect, immerse myself in my chosen destination, and occasionally write.
3. If one is writing from the heart, which I strive to do, the poet/narrator becomes a single embodiment - which I find to be the most honest way for me to write.
4. I entrust the vision regarding the future of "Poem" to the founders capable hands.

Deb said...

1. My favorite vacations are active ones: hiking, kayaking, exploring, etc. I'd go with someone like Allison Deming, or Gary Snyder -- woo woo scientist poets. Someone I'd like to make a fire with or who wants to look at bugs and birds.

2. I'm reading "Angle of Repose" by Wallace Stenger right now. And also have "Mrs. Dalloway" (V. Woolf) and "Age of Innocence" (E. Wharton) started. "Wintering" by Kate Moses (about Plath) is at the library and needs to be picked up today. Have my Salt Publishing purchase sitting in another room, Ivy's Mortal to finish ... yikes. And a book Dave Bonta suggested, an Native American that I forgot to pick up from library, and now must comb through past to rediscover name.

3. I think I need to work in fantasy more than I do, for both prose and poem. I tend to non-fictionalized, which can be a head-banger, i.e., I couldn't write a what-I-can't-tell-my-mother-poem for RWP last week -- I tend to avoid rather than explore. And avoidance is not good for creativity. Fictionalizing "stuff" would help it juicy stuff expressed, and that does seem to be when my favorite poems get written.

4. I'd like a place to talk rather than write to, too, I think. Right now. For a while.