Its vases hold gold-stemmed roses, not ponds with logs from which turtles descend at our approach, neckfold leeches shining like black droplets of blood. It holds models before the young of skillful evasion, withering heartlessness.It swallows Paris & Athens, tracks its genes to the Armory Show. It lifts only its own weight for exercise, does not body-block, or break up double plays, or countenance scar tissue.
Well, maybe not all of your poems, but over the last year or two or three. Keep doing it until those words, images, and ideas are out of your system. If, for example, your voice tends to be the same, make fun of it, so you can explore other voices.
Now use those words, images, ideas, in at least every other line of the next poem you write. Or until you at least understand how to use them with significance, and not as an easy fall back. If it’s your tone that tends to be the same, bust it up. ” at this point, as if you are a noble knight on a gallant steed, and you are about to go on an exciting journey or heading for battle.
For instance, she has a poem titled “Light My Fire,” in which she weaves in certain events from the time period of her birth & the song.
She then talks to those events & to the song & wraps them all together in a poem that talks back to her existence & to the reader. You will use song titles from songs that were on the top 40 chart during the week of your birth (well, for those of you born in 1970 or after).
Or you can use titles of songs that came out in the year of your birth, or the titles of albums, or the titles of books, or whatever else you can think of.
The point is to discover the immediate effects of your surroundings when you were born, by using the title of something as the lense through which you will perceive those surroundings.
For example, waiting to make my list: The David Lehman Experiment; or The Best Poetry According to You That’s right.
Each year you will compile your own anthology of the best poems you read that year, but the poems could have first appeared in a year other than the one you are reading.
If you don’t understand the second title to this assignment, it will be explained, in part, in an upcoming poetry assignment, “Break on Through to the Other Side; or T 3, T 2, T 1, T=0, T-1, T-2, T-3, T-2006 AD; or The Big Crunch as Big Bang in Reverse; or Neo Takes the Red Pill of Negative Eternity.” Look for it soon. This was inspired by Christopher Howell, who at the end of one of his semester-long creative writing classes would have students write a paper on what they have achieved with their poetry in the semester. The questions are: What are you doing with your poetry?
[See Science, the Universe, Time, & Other Evolutions.] Happy New Year! In what ways has the poetry you have written this year been successful/unsuccessful? or what would you like to see/hear happen to your poetry? What do you like &/or dislike about the current happenings in poetry?