Progress Notes, Redux
I am still working through the body of my longer poem. I am much happier with it this morning. One of the difficulties of this entire series is writing in a credible 19th Century voice within which I can still hear my own voice. The voice of the primary speaker in these poems is somewhat more ornate than my own (fussier, might be the word) but I hope credible and quick enough to hold the un-annoyed attention of a reader of contemporary poetry.
I have a good-sized chapbook of the hummingbird poems and probably a shortish (45-50 page) full-length manuscript when these are gathered with the balance of what I've done in the past 18 months. Or rather, I should say that I have that many pages of poems. I am not sure how I would meld all this together into a collection that might, to paraphrase Kafka, "sweep one along." My plan is to write two more poems in November. Then I need to turn my attention to preparing for our panel presentation at the AWP Conference. I also have a few readings coming up. Unless I have a miracle spring, this means that I am probably a year away--at best--from a credible full-length manuscript.
Were writing a sack race, I would be hopping toward the finish line long after the picnic ended.
It occurred to me this morning that I have developed a habit of concentrating for twenty minutes or-so and then getting up, going outside and staring into the trees for a moment to collect my thoughts--or to let my brain wander--before returning to work. The opening and closing of the door delights the cats, though the dogs are bored with the squeaky hinge. During one of these pre-dawn bouts of aphasia, I had a stray thought about what I am trying to accomplish with all this and I suddenly felt a moment of peace.
At 54, to be up at 4:30 in the morning revising a poem seems absurd, but possibly not. It is a bit late to worry about what that man is doing, staring into the woodlot.