Wednesday, December 11, 2013

365 Poems: Blurred first lines

Day 345

Ever so apt.
So the other day I wrote about a line that had been knocking around in my head for some time, with no foundation to anchor it or poem to lose itself in. And I found just in writing that line down -- which, lazily, I'd never tried until that post -- that some other words kind of floated along and attached themselves to it, and before long I had enough lines that they tethered my errant words to the page and got them out of my head.

Not that they were necessarily good lines or anything, just an inadequate, disjointed fragment of a story/poem thing, but it was just what I needed to get that first line out of my head. It really was driving me a little nuts, kind of like a literary (in a very loose sense) earworm.*

So I was thinking about first lines today -- and then lines in general and that gave me Blurred Lies as an earworm but that's a different problem (although, of course, a rather apt description of my writing prowess, thank you Alan Thicke!) -- but I was wondering how real poets work on poems? Does a line or a phrase kind of pop into a real poet's head, as happens to me, and then you craft the thing around that  line? Or do words coalesce around a feeling or experience or thought or whatever, and swirl into a poem? (Swirl being another bad word.) (With a lot of work, of course.) Maybe I should so some research on how real poets write -- I'm sure it's different for everyone. Look at all the envelopes Emily had. If I ever meet one, I'm going to ask.

Here's another thing. I've had another idea for months and months and I keep working it around in my head but have had nowhere to hang it, then today I kind of got an idea for it but it's so amorphous, I have like one phrase and a mood and now a framework but it hasn't gelled yet. And gelled isn't really what I mean. Coalesce is what I mean but I used that word already somewhere. Anyway I made some notes today but it's still not there. Maybe I need to find the right song to listen to or work harder on the notes or just give up and really try to write just one more f*cking bad poem.

Perhaps you sense my frustration.

But I know one thing -- the damn little phrase and the bigger idea and most of all the feeling of it, it's a strangely alive THING in my head that's maybe indescribable -- I won't be rid of it until I write the crap out of it, and you will not know how funny this sentence is until you read the (bad) poem, which I don't intend to be funny. At. All.

* The spellcheck does not like 'earworm' but it's not only in Urban Dictionary it's in Merriam-Webster, although the number one definition there is a corn ear worm, oddly salient since I'm in Indiana.

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