Monday, March 3, 2008

My Unweekend Weekend

This was one of those oh so rare weekends where I didn't go to Momma's.

Saturday I went instead to Chattanooga for a writer's conference. I hadn't submitted any of my work for critique but I went anyway just to learn. It was awesome! Would have been even better if I'd actually submitted some of my work.

You know, I seem to go through life ass backwards.

Take my writing. A few years ago I started writing poetry furiously. At the height of this I was writing up to five poems a day every day. Did I know anything about poetry? Heck no but this fact didn't even slow me down. Did I think I even liked poetry? Well, not really. Sure and I had memorized a few pieces growing up, 'Wreck of the Hesperus', 'Little Orphan Annie', Paul Lawrence Dunbar's 'Song of Summer'. Yep, that's the lot of it if you don't count Dr. Seuss books and nursery rhymes. There were the other things that I had to memorize for school but I figure they don't count since that wasn't voluntary.

If you had asked me "Do you like poetry?" I would have said, "Heck no." (and then recited one of the three above mentioned poems)

So what makes me think I can be a poet now? I went to this workshop and was the lone non-academic in my group. There was one "masters level" student near my age. The rest were barely out of their acne years. But I read their poems. Mine are just as good. Well, naturally some of mine really suck but heck, so did some of theirs.

A lot of what I've written has no rhyme or reason. I've also experimented with forms. You know, prove you are a worthy musician by performing classical so that you can then perform avant-garde. Looking through my new copy of 'The Best American Poetry of 2006' I don't find any Sonnets, no Triolets, no Terza Rimas. Yay, I don't have to write that stuff. But sometimes it is fun to write it anyway.

I think my poetry may never escape the fact that I am a musician. I have a miserable tendency to write songs. Not in the modern sense either. More often than not I hear Corelli in the background of my writing.

Have I ever read any modern poetry? Well, not yet but I bought some books Saturday and mean to start. Do I think this reading will have a big affect on my poetry? *shrugs* Not really.

I have decided, I will be the Grandma Moses of poetry.

Sample poem:

To Write a Pantoum

A poem can be so very hard to write,
Such crazy rules there are to plague my path.
I try and try and try with all my might
Mayhap I should trade poetry for math.

Such crazy rules there are to plague my path
Repeat this line in the right place and time
Mayhap I should trade poetry for math.
It’s hard to get the proper lines to rhyme.

Repeat this line in the right place and time,
Don’t let it run away and have its fun.
It’s hard to get the proper lines to rhyme.
But when you do you’re proud of what you’ve done.

Don’t let it run away and have its fun.
These rules can make you crazy while you work.
But when you do you’re proud of what you’ve done.
Such pride there is in mastering the quirk.

These rules can make you crazy while you work.
Yet working it all out can be a feat.
Such pride there is in mastering the quirk.
The satisfaction of a job complete.

Yet working it all out can be a feat.
So mightily I struggle with the task.
The satisfaction of a job complete.
That in the finished work I’d like to bask.

So mightily I struggle with the task.
I try and try and try with all my might
That in the finished work I’d like to bask.
A poem can be so very hard to write.

Yep, I'm well aware it sux but it was fun to write.

7 comments:

DaForeigner said...

Don't worry, I can write to save my life. Never have...and don't think I ever will. :) I'm more a Math nut than English. I thought the poem was just fine! Enjoyed the way you rotated the lines into the next section of 4. (Not sure if that is called a stanza or what...LOL) And at the end, it all started where it began.

jennifer said...

There is a lot of EDUCATION that I don't have (nicer way of saying "Duh"). I love poetry, have a book of love poems that is my favorite. I have written a few but I am sure they go in the "bad poetry" file. When I read your post and heard poetry analyzed, I think hmmmmm, time to start a fire and edit my body of writing just a bit? :^)

I will always be the simple woman. I will love the words that speak to me, where I am during a particular time or place in my life.

I was proud of myself when reading your poem. I GOT what you were doing. It looked like it took some time and work! I am JEALOUS of your Chattanooga weekend (I love that city) and the things you must have learned at the workshop. How is the....writing contest?...story coming along? Are you still pursuing that?
Thanks for your compliment on my old double chinned grouchy picture. That is pretty much me these days and the pinky-lee pic, not so much.

Have a great week. Start writing the next Great American Novel!! I will live vicariously through you when it becomes a best seller and tell people I knew you when. Of course I couldn't pick you out of a crowd, except maybe with a backward mug shot, but hey! We're still buds!!
Jen

Wamblings said...

Jennifer and Rob,

YAY, you both picked up on the form. A pantoum has all these lines being repeated in their turns. The rhyme scheme isn't required but I didn't realize that when I was writing the silly thing, making it more difficult and a lot more fun.

I suck at math. Not can't, just don't much want to. And Jen, I'm really awful at home decor, where you seemingly excel. We all have our own strengths.

Nineran said...

Strange thing, Weebs. I don't think it sucks. The thing about your poems - and your characters - is that usually they are _alive_ ... and how you make it rhyme is just beyond me. That's "good" poetry/writing - something that touches, reaches, and connects. And I really think that if you read too much of how it "should" be done, and you're the impress-able sort (on rules, like I am) then there goes your refreshing-ness. And you somehow don't lose it, even when Webit's kicking a pebble along and not-pouting.

Wamblings said...

*hugs* Nineran, Thanks. My chief editor over at Sushi Tuesday just told me my strength lies in mood and setting. I think this is just another way of saying that it is alive and fresh. At any rate, I am gaining confidence. Reading the how to books is giving me confidence because I was instinctively doing a lot of it anyway. About the only thing I'm changing is to try and cut some out of the overly fat ones.

cktoon said...

Funny: I wrote a lot of poems when I was just "out of my acne years"... and would also say I don't like poetry.
Trying forms - specially classical ones - was really fun. It helps expressing things when you try to improve the rythme of words, AND don't focus on what you want to express.
Nowadays I'm better at maths ;-)

Wamblings said...

Sometimes I really enjoy fighting with a classical form. The rest of the time I allow the poem to dictate its own form. This may rhyme or it might not. It might be strongly rhythmic or it might not. To me the important thing is conveying the mood and/or setting the scene. This is my strength as a poet, I think.