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Tuesday, August 18, 2009


Poetry Mood Swings

Yesterday I was in a funk about my poems, walking along thinking about how awful they are and I can't even figure out what's wrong with them, but something is, and they make the world sad, and I should stop and do something more useful with my life like (ha!) be a lawyer.

Then I was disturbed from my mopey reverie by giant acorns falling out of the oak trees under which I was walking. They were about the size of plastic-coke-bottle bottlecaps and landed with sharp, loud thonks. Kind of scary; I would not want one to hit me on the head. One fell on a car parked at the curb and left a little dent.

So then I thought about acorns and oak trees and got interested in some kind of phrase, and ended up walking very slowly home writing a poem about acorns on the back of the envelope to a Verizon bill because I didn't have any paper. Then I got home and finished my acorn poem (I know, lame, acorns, but wotthehell), and then wrote another one about tomatoes and became happy again.

So this is my stupid problem with poetry. I'm hardly ever sure whether my poems are good (I mean, sometimes I think they are, and then I read the same poem the next day and am convinced it is so bad it is actually sucking goodness out of the world and neutralizing it). But I like to write poems. The actual writing makes me happy. But I also find it hard to write, perhaps because of the inherent SET UP FOR FAILURE that is writing poems. Arghhh...

I have a new mss. It is a collection of stuff. Not a giant project. A collection. This is weird for me. Sometimes I look through it and think, well this is very nice. And sometimes I look through it and think, why, god, why have you made me parent to such awfulness. And then I rend my garments, cover myself in ashes, and hide under the porch, and Jeff has to coax me out with expensive goat cheese.

I would like people to look at the mss and give me comments, except I have the whole foreboding sense of failure thing going on, that everyone will hate it. So maybe I will have people send Jeff the comments and he can collate them and use them to create a letter grade, and in three months he will come to me and say, "your poetry gets a B+" and I will think "Whew, okay I pass. Next time I will do a little better and also all the extra credit assignments and totally ruin the curve for everyone!"

The upshot of all this: I am ridiculous. Also, if you feel like looking at the manuscript, drop me an email. I will send it to you, and also some gold foil star stickers to put on it, so that even if you don't like it, it will look awesome.

posted by Reen |link| 0 comments

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