Sunday, October 4, 2009

Briefly Noted: The Week That Was

Enjoyed Robert Bernard Hass's reading on Thursday Night. He recites with a strong, yet tender voice. As a Frost scholar, his work pays homage to Frost and Wilbur and Eliot. C-O-U-N-T-I-N-G Thunder reflects upon nature and human nature through a variety of forms: sonnet, villianelle, free verse and so on. Some of the poems are written from a place of longing; looking back upon his childhood landscape growing up in the Hershey Pennsylvania area. Many lovely, poignant poems in this first collection.


I've been thinking about the process of writing a series of poems. I enjoy reading linked poems. How the series, even if it's lyric or lyric-narrative poems, creates a greater narrative because of its cumulative effect. I love the use of epigraph in series writing. It serves as a jumping off point because the epigraph in itself is un bon mot and shouldn't be duplicated; making the poet leap in her/his imagination to uncharted territory. In many ways it's making sense of a particular topic, from multiple angles. Here's the challenge: to make sure that the poems can stand on their own as well as in group. However, it's quite possible, maybe more usual, that there will be several poems that are only successful in "cluster." Maybe the cluster actually is the poem in its entirety.

Long ago, I wrote a series called Temptations, which became a chapbook. I still love these poems and I learned so much about the poet's craft while writing them. Writing in a series makes a poet focus in a different way. When I'm writing poems that are inspired by my randomness and the everyday, they may be considered a loose series because the topic is
"all about me" (HA!) . I used to think I thumped out these poems, whereas a directed series, with its research and concentration, is a very different experience. In many ways it creates the opportunity to use persona, which I love because you can act, speak, move behind the guise.

Maybe some of you who have written in series could weigh in here. This would be a good panel discussion, don't you think?


Shout outs: Congratulations to Karen Weyant's recent news. Her poems were selected as HM and Special Merit by Maxine Kumin in the Comstock Review's annual contest. Can't wait to see the poems, Karen! Check out Comstock's web site. It's one of my all time favorite journals.


Today is make an Apple pie day! I have papers to correct and laundry to do and things to sort.
The last one is the killer, but I feel so much better when I have the mail under control.
We're going to canoe on the pond this morning too. I imagine it's changed a lot since the last time we were there.

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