I wrote some poetry today. It was coming out in full prose sentences, instead of trippy snippets, little short sentences that I felt inclined to snip apart at line breaks. Scrolling back up to read some of what I had just written, I noticed too many gerunds (-ing endings) and use of to be’s.
The lines looked weak. They’re were not compact with surreal images nor were they spacey and elusive. They were basic like “It’s May 5” and “the cruisers pull up.” I aimed to depict an exact scene based on a memory (of course).
I think in this poem, because it was a story, I stepped away from psychedelic imagery. I felt nervous almost. I hadn’t written a story in so long. It is a poem, but this particular poem needed to get its story out to work. During the process, I was fixated on conveying this tiny tale effectively–clearly.
The last time I wrote a story-poem, it made people cry, but the majestic and talented poet, Li-Young Lee pointed out to me, that he as well as the others in the workshop didn’t really understand what was going on. Normally, I could care less if someone can’t tell what’s going on in a poem, but A.–this was Li-Young Lee, and B.–its whole purpose was its story. So, today I obsessively tried to be as basic and undemanding as possible. After writing down today’s memory with organic, but well-measured line breaks, I realized it’s a stupid piece. It’s a a pebble of a recollection from when I waited tables. It’s not about oppression or dolphin captivity or the darkness in a garden. I left the studio thinking that I had just wasted the last two hours writing like a child about a childish thing I did once.
It’s night now, and I thinking about what happened at the studio this afternoon. By compartmentalizing the poem into pure memory-action-depiction, not emotion, just what happened, I’m forced to tell a true story. My laced thoughts are not sewn sneakily between sections. Readers can decide to feel whatever they want while they read it*.
*This post was originally published on productiveprofessor.wordpress.com
Subscribe to Blog via Email
A stereotype as defined by Merriam-Webster is “an often unfair and untrue belief that many people have about all people or things with a particular characteristic.” Colloquially, the term, stereotype, “is used to categorize a group of people. People don’t understand that type of person, so they put them into classifications, thinking that everyone who […]
Susan J. Fowler, a former employee of Uber, published a post on her blog revealing numerous counts of sexual harassment and discrimination she experienced while working for the company. Her post is straightforward and pretty bias-free; her tone is calm, but frank. While some of her experiences at the company might appall readers, her author’s […]
“Make information beautiful” is my favorite infographic design tool’s slogan. Piktochart’s phrase really conveys the core purpose of the infographic. In addition to summarizing information beautifully, the infographic is a place to insert subtle but important messages about the writing process. Small but highly supportive messages can be integrated throughout the informative image. Similar to […]