The Seeker

A Meta-Cognitive Journal About Writing… Plus Other Stuff

Back in Iowa (The Jumps)

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Here’s the thing when you get exposed to so many different styles of poetry when you’re in a work shop setting:  If you’re dead set on growing as a poet, you start to stash away the elements of craft you see in so many diverse styles, like spices and seasonings in your Lazy Susan.  Before you know it, you’re throwing things into your plain old stew and perking it up to the point where you’re cooking something different, and even you are surprised at the flavors you’re conjuring.  That’s pretty much what’s been going on out here with me this summer.  It’s been worth the time and effort and the annoyances of the major shift that comes with being away from the homestead for so long this far along in life.

Despite my complaints about what some of us choose to write, very little of it has been completely lost on me.  I’ve mostly appreciated the absurd and whacked-out elements some of my fellow poets have put into their work, and it has encouraged me be more experimental or even plain weird with my work.  And I’ve made immediate application of some of these things, too—I set a goal to write a new poem each week for workshop so that I’m not trying to breathe new life into old work or find new angles with it but instead making that new life on the move; actually, putting some heat on myself to produce actively rather than observe passively and try to recall and apply these new insights later.  What’s more, I’ve not tried to make myself equal to others.  I’ve only worried about pushing myself and continuing to develop my own voice.

So, when I say “The Jumps,” I’m talking about the jumps in ability I feel myself making with each poem.  Seems that every week for the last six weeks when I’ve sat down to start my newest poem, I can only get a little ways into it before I start running through my expanded schema regarding what needs to happen to make the poem better or have more impact, or where I can apply an quantum of vagueness to “make” the reader think while he’s reading the poem.  This has been like inching across thin ice at points.  Too vague, and I’ll fall through.  The meaning will be lost or unfathomable, and I’ll be no better off than some of the stuff I’ve decried from previous weeks in the workshop.

Thing is now that I’m getting tired of writing poetry.  Work shop ends in six days, and between now and then I’ve got enough poetic energy to get myself through, but I really want to work on some other things.  I haven’t generated a fresh story for a few months, and even though I don’t have any “fresh” ideas, I know how to get started on things.  I’m eager to get back into some fiction or whatever else comes down the pipe.  I guess even if it’s poetry, I’ll still pursue it.  I’m rediscovering what a luxury it is to work across genres rather than within a genre, and am still having trouble reckoning with writers in my own work shop who profess “Poetry Only.”  It’s been difficult to get any of them to look at a short story I wrote last spring and have been wanting to get back to after somebody else looked at it.  I can finally do that because one of my workshop members was receptive to looking at the story, but damn it took a while to find somebody.

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Written by seeker70

July 29, 2014 at 6:05 pm

Posted in Uncategorized

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