Sunday, 16 August 2009

Dry spell

The book release and completing my dissertation has left me poem-dry. I am in that I don't have another poem in me frame of mind, which I loathe. The dissertation isn't due in for another three weeks and I finished it at the end of July but I keep on fiddling with it - titivating the layout and changing odd words. I think it's displacement activity; once I hand it in, I'll have to get myself in gear and start writing again - somehow.

I know it will come back, it always does. Usually, poems return slowly with just a hint or a taste of one long before any words come back. In the meantime though, I have a sense of mentally flailing around, looking for anything that might trigger the start of the process.

I can do the exercises, keep on writing something, responding to online challenges and themes - but actually, I suspect my best work has usually come from quiet periods. Maybe all that is needed is to be open to the possibility of a poem forming, maybe I need a fallow period after working flat out for a couple of years.

It's easier said than done to accept it though...

Saturday, 8 August 2009

dreaming of reading

I had a very odd dream last night.
I was reading - at a festival I think; I was reading the poem 'First things' and was about three-quarters through when someone in the audience stood up and finished it. They were reading it from the book. This was someone I knew, though not well, and I didn't think (in the dream) that he read it very well.

I found my reaction odd in the dream; I wasn't annoyed that someone had interrupted and taken over that way - I was partly pleased he liked the poem enough to want to do that, and partly sad that he didn't read it better.

On reflection, I wonder if this is to do with some stuff I have been thinking about to do with audience and my process; I often feel a poem isn't finished until it meets an audience. I know that reading a poem to an audience (however small) is different to reading it out loud to myself. The awareness of another consciousness engaging with the poem allows me to step into a different relationship with it, gives me a new perspective on it.

More to think about...

Wednesday, 5 August 2009

Tell the bees

There is an old tradition that, when there is a death in the house, you have to tell the bees - whisper the news into the beehive, or they will take offence and leave.

In May a very close, very dear friend died suddenly, without illness or warning. I couldn't, and can't, write about her directly but for several days following her death, some bees presented me with a metaphor on my morning walks.

Tell the Bees

Something has plundered the bees' nest.
At the wall's foot, lichened brick
used to meld into a tangle of moss and ivy:
a ragged tear bleeds earth over the path.
Bees tread circles on the spilled soil,
wings quivering, shifting soil from place
to place and back again.

Each day I pass, I see them working;
fragments of moss, scatters of dry grass,
pulled in to cover the wound.

The sun has faded bare earth,
shrivelled exposed roots;
ivy leans over the edge of the hole,
blending into the dusty green
of the bees' repairs.

Tuesday, 4 August 2009

This is it

I finally caved and started a blog. I have only found time to work out how to do this because I've finished the MA dissertation early and I am very doubtful that I'll find the time and/or inclination to keep it up, but we'll see. It may be useful when I start the PhD as a way to work through things I'm reading and thinking about.
For now though, it's just an experiment.