Posts Tagged ‘new’

This is some advice I’ve received about writing poetry. I’m just relaying it:

  1. Concrete images trump metaphorical or abstract concepts. “Red grit bricks” trump “the voice of God,” “calloused knuckles” is better than “soul.” No one knows what a soul looks like. Concrete images are usually examined under the lens of metaphor anyway.
  2. It takes years to cultivate your voice. Try new and different things. Try traditional forms. Experiment with perspective and tone. Stay on things for a while. Try writing lists for a month, then try sonnets, and then try love poems.
  3. Write early in the day, or late at night. What you think is great in a moment may turn out to be crap later. Come back hours later and look at what you’ve written. Keep what you like. Cut what you don’t like. Don’t just try to change it. Get rid of it.
  4. Your heart is the center of your poetry. Get in touch with that, and let it pour out. You have time to rein it in later.

Happy writing. 🙂

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I never knew that

opening the white door,

leaving the painted white porch,

and walking into the grass,

into the trees, out

onto the hill,

would open up a new world for me-

one that was not even far

from home-

until I did so.

So, this is how you make my heart go-

a nonstop drum. Knots in my stomach

and blood rising to color my face.

At times it seemed like we were

the only people in the room,

and I smiled.

I smiled at the little things you did,

whether you noticed them or not;

I smiled out of nerves

because you were so calm, and I was not;

I smiled like a fool

because we talked, and you listened.

This is a new experience for me-

not the bundle of nerves under my ribs,

to which you give an electric shock;

not the reddening of my face,

but the happiness from something so simple

and how I don’t mind these feelings

and I surprise myself

by how much I want them to stay.

The New Year is but an hour away.

Minutes separate myself

from a new sun- that new jewel

set into its old, black, stone broach-

and my changing life.

 

I have yet to empty my lungs

of old breath.

Have yet to empty my mind

of new doubts,

the kind that are common this time of year.

I have yet to purge my body

of sins well aged, like fine wine

(they lingered even on Christmas Day).

 

And so the clock and calendar eye me

with regret. And I sigh,

slump into the sofa,

play with my old thumbs,

and smile in spit of the fact

that what’s to come

is as unknown to me

as the source of this burgeoning sense of hope.

Yes. The dreaded disease that plagues all writers at some point or another: Writer’s Block.

I’ve dealt with this numerous (which is to say: many, many, many) times, the longest time having lasted about two weeks.

So, how does one deal with this? I’m gonna’ have to go back to Bird by Bird by Anne Lamott, for this.

In that book (which I highly recommend) Anne Lamott addresses the fact that sometimes, you just need to LEAVE IT ALONE. Welcome distractions. By this I mean go do something else. Take a walk downtown, or visit a park. Watch a movie. Listen to music. Distract yourself from writing anything. In all honesty, this is what works best for me. If you sleep on an idea, or just ignore it and get out there, you’ll find inspiration from the real world!

In these cases, you can always ring a small memo pad, or a notebook, or your laptop, and just jot down whatever you see. Write a description of the sidewalk. Write whatever. You could even eavesdrop and write down what people are saying as dialogue (tip: if you have your laptop or iPod, you can pretend to listen to music by putting your headphones on, but not actually playing anything). And before you call me out for being creepy, authors do this since Jane Austen’s time, the technique has just been refined.   

Another thing you can try, which is just the opposite of what I previously suggested, is just write. I know, I know, this is writer’s block. It’s where you just sit and stare at a blank piece of paper or your computer screen and nothing’s coming. Hear me out. Sometimes all you can do is just write about ANYTHING. The first idea that pops into your head, however stupid, dull, or all around crappy it may seem, just WRITE ABOUT IT! Heck, you could even write about writer’s block (*cough*), and there ya go!

So what if you write something that’s crappy? There’s always something to unearth, no matter how frustrating it may be to find.

 

At the Table of Dry Bones

Posted: October 22, 2013 in Poetry
Tags: , , , , , , , , ,

At the table carved from driftwood

sits the skeleton Man.

Pale light flickers in his eyes sockets

a sort of manic ghost of a flame.

The time I met him he sat there,

grinning, and raised a tarnished chalice.

The bread on the table stank of blood

and the wine poured out from under his robe, staining it crimson.

Alone at the table,

except for the loaves of bread

and the smell of blood and smoke,

he stayed. Never had I seen a more pitiful Man.