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Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Self-Knowledge, one poem/day at a time

It is getting easier, this poem a day thing, but for a few days I really struggled. Almost gave up, but found a solution: write your daily poem early in the day. Other revelations include the realization that it's hard to start a new poem when you're in the middle of revising yesterday's draft. Here's one from last week, before I started really, really lowering my expectations:

Flower Girl
*POOF!* [deleted]


Jan Priddy, Oregon said...

Amazing work!

I'm sure I read this someplace in your postings, but writing early in the day was the habit of William Stafford, famous for writing a new poem every day. Then he spent the rest of the day reworking poems from that raw material. Surely most of those poems failed, but he remains one of the more prolific poets because he pushed himself in that way.

Martha Silano said...

Thanks, Jan. William Stafford was one of my first teachers. I did workshops with him down in Portland area when I was in my 20s. Amazing man, with great advice to (especially) young and inexperienced poets. Have you read his son's memoir/bio about him? I loved that book. I also enjoyed Stafford's books on craft, one of them named something like Doing the Australian Crawl? And then there are the poems ... and listening to recordings of his poems. I still read him often.

Joannie said...

I love how you replace the draft poem with pictures!

When I'm trying to write a poem a day, I have to hold off on revising the drafts until a later month--when I have (I hope) caught some of my breath.

Hurray for your May!

Martha Silano said...

Revising later:,so that's the secret!

Diane Lockward said...

Make it a draft a day to relieve the pressure. A POEM a day is overwhelming. Next month can be revision month. That's a prescription from one who does neither a draft or a poem a day.

Martha Silano said...

Hi Diane - I can't seem to stop tinkering with my drafts until they turn into something vaguely resembling poems. It stems from a worry that drafts moulder in notebooks forever unfinished, but poems, well, they might end up actually getting finished/seeing the light of day. This month has been brutal, though - I am completely empty, dry, at wits end at the moment, but I MUST write a new poem today ... ha ha, such happy problems for a writer to have.