Sunday, November 8, 2009

In the Poetry Blahs

So, a black-clad, cliched poet, I'm waffling wildly between euphoria over a new poem and depression at the general state of my poetry portfolio. Anyone else experience the same sort of celebrate/miserate mix?

I'm working on three projects right now, and this makes me think I'm hedging my bets. Maybe I need to commit to just one? I'm always most excited about the newest stuff, and this makes me less eager to be committed to older work--the stuff more likely, I know, to get published or turned into a book. I need to sit down and revise a manuscript, but I keep finding myself writing new poems instead.

The 3rd project, my newest, is just starting to form in my head. I'm finding myself (not surprisingly) writing a lot of baby poems. This delights and horrifies me. I mean, baby poems? Who is going to want to read those besides grandmothers? But I can't seem to stop myself...I'm addicted. So, could this be a project? Or am I dreaming? Right now I'm conceiving the book as a blend of personal, lyric poems about my girls, spliced into narrative poems about other children/parents/babies, most of which right now are very dark (babies dying of sids, child abuse, etc.). So I know it won't be a sweetness-and-light book, but could it work?

Here's one of the new, probably ill-fated poems.

Sleeping with Ellie, Four Months

I wake at 11:00, 3:00, 6:30
to your little arm waving
in the dark.

Your fingers rake the air
testing the waters, to see if
I am still near.

A little snore floats past,
the leaves of a dream,
a current of cold.

I reach out and pluck
you into the boat
of me, curve around you,

fill your mouth
with my warm breast
and listen to you draw me in.

All around us the cold night
air currents and eddies,
against the timbers of our sleep

and I can imagine it's this easy
to keep you this close, this safe,
above the world's deep waters.

1 comment:

Homeric Geek said...

I experience that same kind of mix. I've come to think of the revision of older work as a springboard for fresh, new work. Not that the older work doesn't need attention, but when I begin to re-read the earlier stuff, I'm taken back to that "creative moment" and then, new things are birthed there. It can be frustrating when I'm trying to be disciplined about it, but I think all art requires chaos in the midst of an overall discipline. I'm not sure if I'm making sense or just rambling.