I’m sat in the kitchen, listening to a random mix of music, copying words from my notebook onto my laptop. Re-ordering and getting the feel for what is written. The first stage in my process that will with luck produce something I feel is worth reading at the poetry cafe or posting on here to see how it is received.
Hard to imagine the silence amongst the books,
the butterfly leafing of pages of my first visit
to a bookshop with new printed
paper or dusty books piled in corners.
My wife passes from time to time, checking on what is being produced, offering comments or coffee, both of which are welcome. She reads this first draft and points out the lack of a story. A narrative to draw the reader on through the words. I always find these moments interesting because she has a very different mind to mine. She looks for the sweeping tale, the story, the characters dilemma and a resolution. I frustrate her because I love the image, the sound that words and spaces make, a bit like the valley between the hills, it has a purpose to add value to the whole scene. What is it that makes this fundamental opposition? I love a paradox, an unanswered question that makes me stop and ask why? She likes resolution, direction and a reason. (I realise I’m on dodgy ground with this but go with me)
Browsing, flicking, waiting to be overtaken
by words whispering. Never to be read,
ordered on the shelves. The idea of the story
better than the time to read.
When reading do you have a voice in your head, do you read aloud. The idea or the image? If something has such a flow that it is like a great master painting words into your head can you live without a strong narrative, specifically in poetry? The Imagist idea was of purity in words to clarify the idea. I’m not sure I would go that way to far, you lose the ability to express in some innovative ways. But I can understand the ideal, the small picture of an idea or thing. Leaning towards short expression has been the way I write. I hack words away like a mad scientist looking for the ultimate building block of life. Successfully? Not for me to say.
Nobody comes here to rest and talk of the finer
points of bound print, of the white space between
paragraphs. Reading is consumption, single ideas
stretched to the life of one character.
This writing is very raw at the moment, she has seen early drafts of my work before, too many she would probably say, she is my proofreader and chief critic. But the question of how we differ stylistically always makes me look at my work in a deeper way than at first throwdown draft time. There is so much work in the world now, who knows what the next fashion will be in poetry writing. Good writers will rise to the top one hopes, I’m sure though many get missed. Styles like punctuation come and go, and lack of punctuation is not my favourite (nor cat poems, sorry). I think people miss the point when they remove the punctuation, and feel it makes their work edgier. I have read work with a single comma, brilliant. Others though use it through laziness.
In the final reckoning personal taste will have the final say, so what do you prefer, let me know if you will with answers to a couple of questions.
Narrative in poetry, story or photograph. Which is more important?
To punctuate or not?
Short, sharp sentences or expansive encompassing depictions of great detail?
Cats in poetry, yes or no? Don’t answer that one if you don’t want to.
How much poetry do you read, do you buy individual authors or anthologies?