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Tuesday, December 17, 2013

365 Poems: Almost

Day 351

Finishing a poem is kind of like pi.
Sorry I've been dragging you down the messy path of this (certainly bad) poem I've been working on, but hey it's all I got.

Two breakthroughs today, one I'm really excited about. In a calm way. A title. I'd been worrying this around inside my head for over a week. And never underestimate the power of actual pen and paper -- as much as I like writing on a laptop -- because as I played with ideas, words and phases something coalesced and it seemed right.

And I was working on a transition between two stanzas and got an idea late today that I've yet to try but think might work. Maybe.

Got an email from Coursera that I achieved a certificate for ModPo. Which is great, but even better -- I'm using a technique in editing this stupid poem that I learned writing a paper for class. Here, in part, was the assignment:
One of Bernadette Mayer’s writing experiment prompts is ‘Find the poems you think are the worst poems ever written, either by your own self or other poets. Study them, then write a bad poem.’
Last fall, for an introduction to poetry writing class, I inadvertently completed that particular prompt. I’m using a bad poem (my stupendously sorry attempt at an assigned sonnet called ‘Riding with Carver and Keats’), along with the poems in which it turns, John Keat’s ‘Bright Star,’ and (the last eight lines from) Raymond Carver’s ‘One More,’ to complete this Mayer prompt: ‘Systematically eliminate the use of certain kinds of words or phrases from a piece of writing: eliminate all adjectives from a poem of your own, or take out all words beginning with 's' in Shakespeare's sonnets.’
I'm actually working two of these! The bad poem AND eliminating words -- articles, to be exact. Most of them, anyway.

Helpful was some of Stephen King's advice on writing, from one of my favorite books of his, 'On Writing'. It was especially salient since I recently posted about fear. Well actually my cowardice. It was like he was inside my head, like in a horror novel! haha. Give me my idea back, Steve. Not that I think I have one thing in common with Stephen King:
Good writing is often about letting go of fear and affectation. Affectation itself, beginning with the need to define some sorts of writing as ‘good’ and other sorts as ‘bad,’ is fearful behavior.
The fearful thing I'm working on is definitely free verse and probably affected. I did make myself a few rules -- no 'I' to be used, it's not about me -- as few articles as possible -- NO ADVERBS -- and a couple I'm not telling. Oh and a good title. And to have a fun trip. Maybe me and Steve would have that in common, just a little.

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