Wednesday, February 08, 2006

Tea and hostages

Quick walk home with my friend Katie--with one detour to look at the snowdrops poking from beneath a hedge near the poetry center--and then tea and an hour to read each other's poem drafts (I call it "exchanging hostages"). She's working on a great poem, "I Made My Soul a Hat." I showed her the draft of my gazebo poem (which Deirdre calls my angel poem, and which I realize I've been resisting: it's really about the angel-shaped weathervane that's perched on top of the gazebo) and K had some great suggestions.

This poem feels so central to my manuscript. This is something I hadn't acknowledged to myself, partly because the poem is new, and I thought I was simply feeling something attendant to that just-cranked-this-out-and-it's-the-best-thing-I've-ever-written euphoria. But that feeling usually dissipates after, say, 24 hours. And then K asked something about the poem's centrality to the book, and I realized that, yes, it is. I think it is. I hope this doesn't mean that the rest of the manuscript is crap and that I'm only just now getting to the heart of what I need to be writing.

Breathe, breathe.

I wish we could do this every week. But then I would need to write more. And faster.

Thanks, Katie.

1 comment:

Katie said...

I would suggest that you post the poem here, but then realized posting it might detract from the eventual good of allowing people to read it in your book. I love the poem. I feel privileged to have read it, like I got a glimpse at the inner workings of a fine new engine, before the car goes to the showroom.

Why am I using car images? I've never talked cars in my life. Hm.

Back to the poem--I do think it has the feeling of being central and vital to whatever collection it joins.

That does not mean your other poems are crap! I'm thankful you wanted to be a poet and not a logician.

And hey, you might be able to write more, and faster... how quickly did that poem come together, once it wanted to come? You said it was natural. I wonder how many other poems would surface naturally if you sat down every day intending to let them come...

You are so good, Ron. I like our poem-sessions. The mint tea in the Bill Knott green mug, the cat tasting the tea from your own mug, the quilts all around us, so many fabrics, Randy retreating to his photos (his photos! but that's another post)...