15 October 2009

A Poem a Day? Are You Crazy?

The answers are Yes! and Maybe a little.

Too often I let other things--anything--get in the way of writing. I have lots of ideas, lots of starts, but not so many finishes. So having a commitment to be at my desk every morning, flipping through mounds of magnetic words until a poem starts to take shape gives me a dollop of discipline without dissing the playfulness so important to creativity. Publishing what comes up for me in a blog keeps me honest.

It's like I have a date with Mr. Right, except in this case it's Mr. Write.

Is anybody reading these things? I don't know. Much as I'd like an audience, that's beside the point. Are they any good? I don't know that either and ditto on it's beside the point. How could I say they're good or bad when I don't even know if they're finished?

Look at each one like it's an entry in my journal. The Ecuadoran poet Claribel Alegria says she carries a little notebook with her everywhere and writes down words, lines and other ideas that enter her consciousness, then she pulls from them later and makes them into something else. She calls this notebook her seed book.

Call this my seed book.

William Stafford is known among poets for how he established a daily practice of writing a new poem. James Dickey called him one of those poets "who pours out rivers of ink, all on good poems."  A former poet laureate, Stafford kept a journal for more than 50 years and wrote nearly 22,000 poems! Though a college teacher and the author of a memoir, he never published his poetry until later in life. Yet by the time he died in 1993 at the age of 79, he'd published about 3,000 poems.

Call these my William Stafford wannabe daily poems.

Am I comparing myself to Stafford? Absolutely not. Each writer is a voice unto herself (or himself, as the case may be). What they all have in common is a need to write. And if a writer writes everyday, she (or he) will get better, just like an athlete or a musician who practices. She will become more Herself, on paper.

I want to get as good as I can get, so I plan to practice right here, every day. Because now I have a date with YOU, whoever you are, if you are. Write back, if you like, and let me know what you think. No criticism--these are little poetry babies, too new to pick on! Just tell me what you like, or what you find memorable. Or don't write anything; just click one of the "reaction" boxes.

And if you have something you've written that you want to share, follow the link to my Forum. There are lots of fun prompts to try, along with a place for you to post whatever you're working on and hear what other writers liked.

I hope to read you there.

Purple is the Egg

It incubates the diamond
   beneath my garden
      my place in any moment
a knife panting meaning into a tongue
essential want
   delirious recall
      crush of vision
eternity   drunk on its gift.

PROMPT: Magnetic word tiles selected on the basis of what appealed to me that day. (I have LOTS!)