Wednesday, October 31, 2007

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.


Blogger Macy Swain said...

Beautifully stated, Greg. Do what makes you happy, what you're powerfully drawn toward, what absorbs you. What else is there?

10:10 AM  

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