nichepoetryandprose

poetry and prose about place

Posts Tagged ‘poems

after a poetry reading

with 3 comments

Why do you go to poetry readings? Is it because you are supporting a writing friend? Because you love poetry? Or because you search for the perfect poetic experience — the memorable reading of an unforgettable poem, expressive words you know you will always be able to summon. Have you ever left a poetry reading feeling renewed, animated, believing in the impossible?

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I attend a lot of readings. I go to support my writing friends. I go because I love words and poetry. I also go because I long for the memorable. Occasionally, I will hear words, phrases, poems to thrill me for the rest of my life.

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I have had many such experiences. I have been privileged to hear Roo Borson read her poem Grey Glove. I have heard Roger Moore read poems from his book Monkey Temple with his stirring Welsh accent.  Years ago I heard a young Irish poet read her poem about a kettle boiling on the stove, and I have never forgotten her words even though I have forgotten her name.

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sun on tree

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after the poetry reading

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Bailey Drive is a steep incline

for an out-of-shape heart

a pause returns the thud in ears

to chest where it needs to be, a moment

to see maples on the Aitken House lawn

animated by wind, as metaphor for adrenaline rush

of words

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as trees send Tesla coil sparks into blue sky

from trunks constrained by building

and sidewalks, to branches and twigs

unfettered, plasma filaments bloom

on fractal paths

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another pulse, trunk to bud-tips

and another, signals up and outward

heart slows and holds in place

lightning throb in continuum of space

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All my best,

Jane

Written by jane tims

October 9, 2018 at 5:08 pm

revisions

with 10 comments

Yesterday was a very windy day.  Some leaves have survived the gusts of wind, but not many.  It has been a short drama of color this year, with only a few acts remaining.  The maples still have some leaves, the poplars are just turning yellow, and the oak is only now losing its green.

While the wind was blowing, I was at my desk, revising some of my poems.  It is my least favorite phase of writing poetry.  I love the beginning, the first ideas fluttering around in my head, and put to paper.  The page at this point is a confused mass of words and phrases, squiggles and arrows.  I like these ‘pen and paper’ revisions.  There is something about the hand-brain connection, so I write and rewrite quite liberally.  By the time I commit the poem to the computer screen, it has already had five or six revisions.  Once on the screen, I move things around a bit, but I print the page to do the finishing touches.

I am quite orderly about final revisions.

First, I work on what the poem is saying.  This is so difficult for me, because I tend to write descriptive poetry.  I have to challenge myself to add narrative, or clarify deeper meaning.  Sometimes the poem gets a new title at this stage.  Unfortunately, I am rarely happy with the results of this step in the revision process.

Next, I do the detailed revisions and for this, I have a checklist to follow (see ‘revision checklist for poetry’ under about)… I know my own work very well and I am prone to repeating words, using passive rather than active verbs, and using the singular when I should use the plural.   I ‘press’ on each word in the poem, to see if another word will add additional meaning, improve internal rhyme, or covey a more accurate image.  I count syllables … sometimes small changes will accentuate or create structure … sometimes there is little if any pattern to the poem.  Lately, I am paying a lot of attention to the ends of the lines, trying to decide why I end each line where I do.

Finally, I read the poem aloud.  This helps me to hear the words, and discover where the rhythm is off, and to know when to include smaller words like articles and when to let them go.  Reading aloud also helps me with ‘voice’.  I often shift from a child’s point of view to the technical and I have to be wary of leaving my audience in a state of confusion.

The next step in the revision process is more enjoyable.  To do some final polishing, I read my poems to an audience.  Sometimes this audience is a member of my family and I listen carefully to their suggestions.  I especially think about bits they may not like.  I also read my poems to the members of my two writing groups.  They offer excellent critique and usually I make some revisions afterward.

When is a poem complete?  Perhaps never.  I still work on poems published years ago.  I guess I agree with Oscar Wilde who said, “This morning I took out a comma and this afternoon I put it back in again.”

If you write poetry, how much time do you spend on revision?  What process do you follow?

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revisions

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a violent October wind –

every tree bleeds red,

bends northward

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my books also lean

and the pencils in their holder

the colors in the hand-blown drinking glass

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purple lavender, scent of summer

the flowers now dry

braided with ribbon

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Copyright  Jane Tims  2012

Written by jane tims

October 12, 2012 at 10:58 am

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