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Friday, March 08, 2013

Talking to Poems

So it's Friday night and what are you doing?

Me, I'm transitioning from Diet Coke to Chardonnay.  I've been working for several hours on a poem and our conversation had grown old and tiring so I've stopped for now.

Do you talk to your poems? Ok, more specifically your poems in progress. Drafts. First drafts, second drafts, twenty third drafts?

My conversation with this evening's poem-in-making has started out asking  a single line where it would like to go. It said take me to the other side of what you just said. So I said ok and abridged. I asked what will we do after we've contradicted our opening line. I go no response. (sipping wine) I don't know about you but when I ask a direct question of a poem-in-making I expect at least that it will clear it's throat and appear to be thinking of a reply. I was about to repeat the question when it said you assume too much.

I'm not sure how I feel about a poem - especially one in the making assuming it knows what I'm assuming. I thought it important at this point to make it clear that I had no preconceived notions about where this poem was going. It quickly shot back, "Good!"

I studied my words on the page.  Flipped a stanza. Cut some words. Another "Good" arose from the page. "You approve then?" I asked. I was told yes, but for the time being. I thought about moving the opening line to another location in the poem. Cautiously I was told that was worth considering, but encouraged to consider too making the opening line the title of the poem instead. I said I'd keep that in mind.

My head is spinning at this point and I suggested that I really thought it might me time to step back and let this all rest upon the page a while. Maybe overnight. There was a sigh...  "No offense, but working with you can be tiring."  I responded, "Oh, you think so?" and I saved the work in progress.
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