I’ve been reading Larkin this week. He’s just so good. Here’s “Church Going,” where he wonders what will happen when we stop using churches as churches.
So it’s been a while, but my excuse is hibernation. I’d like to think winter is an acceptable time for us to be hermits, hiding in dark caves and letting things settle in our minds. Perhaps it’s part of the process.
In my last post, I wrote that my goal was to join a creative writing group, and today I can finally check that off my list! My friend and brilliant poet/artist, Michelle Seaman, brought me along to her poetry group, the Federal Poets. They’ve been meeting forever in DC, and right now the group boasts some of the most amazing and accomplished poets in the area. I was hoping to come and sit and listen, but they always make newcomers read, and read first. Blerg. I hadn’t been that nervous about anything in a while; my hands were actually shaking as I passed out copies of my poem. But they went easy on me, and I got some great advice. Plus I got to hear a lot of really, really good poems.
The meeting reminded me how generative critique sessions can be. I think it would be cool if people want to workshop things here–you can email me a poem and I’ll post it and we can make comments. Anyone down?
Here’s the poem I read at the meeting. I cheated a little and went with an older poem my professor liked in college. I figured if he liked it, they couldn’t think it was too awful. Next month I’ll try to bring something under construction, so I can find some direction.
We bought them at the start of September,
glittering drops of moving candy we named
Persephone, Convict, and Elizabeth Bishop.
Poor Lizzie didn’t last long; she died, we assumed,
of despair over a flushed and exotic lover.
A week later Persephone wilted and, while her struggle
was commendable, we soon came home to her speckled belly
flashing like a razor behind the glass, a mischievous wink.
So began Convict’s companionless life, which flourished
as he darted between plant and treasure chest,
bobbing to the surface then sinking to the stones,
robust romps that lasted through December.
We found him, after the new year, torpedoed
into the rocks, nose down, perfectly at peace.
We’d never seen a fish die that way.
2011 was pretty fine, and I have high hopes for 2012. I generally don’t participate in resolution-making, and I certainly won’t use this space to speculate on how swell it would be to meet a cute boy, or drop a pants size, or whatever. I do that enough with my lady friends. That being said, I realized today (or have been realizing for a while) that I need to stop focusing on the things I don’t have yet and start spending time on the things that make me come alive.
Thus, in this the year of our Lord two thousand and twelve, I will (can, should, must):
1. Join a book or poetry club. Reading and discussing, perhaps even writing and being critiqued.
2. Write 40,000 words of something–anything. Start a novel, just to feel the process of it.
“I really would like to stop working forever–never work again, never do anything like the kind of work I’m doing now–and do nothing but write poetry and have leisure to spend the day outdoors and go to museums and see friends. And I’d like to keep living with someone — maybe even a man — and explore relationships that way. And cultivate my perceptions, cultivate the visionary thing in me. Just a literary and quiet city-hermit existence.” –Allen Ginsberg, 1953