For today's entry I pulled a couple paragraphs from two different posts. Why? Because I can! No, it' s really because they're both from this time last year and they both share my thoughts from when I was first starting the poetry project. This year I do not have a specific goal set as to how many poems I'm going to write. Instead, I want to take a closer look at the better ones from last year and see if I can't turn them into their own best versions. I think new ideas and poems will come along with that work, so long as I'm faithful to exercise that poetry muscle on a regular basis. So, without further ado, here's what I said before. It's all still true.
I first started writing poems in junior high (isn't that when everyone does?) after moving away from a boy I thought I loved and hoped to one day marry. Though I hope you never see those particular poems, back then I thought they were pretty good. And the teachers I wrote some of them for told me I was a pretty good writer. Then I went off to college, and I shared my poetry printouts with my freshman English professor, a man named Johnny Wink. He kindly advised me to put a little more "craft" into my craft. I kindly felt like a big dork, yet ended up taking his poetry class the next year. It was there, constantly exposed to wonderfully good poetry, some in books and many written by my fellow classmates, that I began to understand how I was coming up short, but I got so scared of failing that I rarely tried to write anything better. Instead I wrote the required number of assignments, passed the class and decided that perhaps I was better suited for another kind of writing.
But in my heart I still believe you can have the heart of a poet without actually writing rhyming stanzas; and I contend that a poet is exactly who I've been these past thirteen years. My verse may not rhyme or evoke startling imagery as it is most often shared in short essay form, but my soul has been in love with words since I first got to know them back in junior high. And that's all you really need to be a poet,some sort of longing love affair. Pay attention to the longing, the rest will sort itself out eventually. I'm just glad that when I had to move away from that boy, words and poetry came with me.
Five Days Later . . .
I've been advised to stop taking myself so seriously and just do what I can, to stop expecting perfection with every thing I do. I'm trying to take that advice to heart, but it's a scary thing sharing this new side of myself. I've always thought I was a pretty transparent writer, but adding poetry feels like I'm upping the ante somehow. It might have something to do with studying Emily Dickinson when I was a junior in high school, and thereafter adopting her particular definition of poetry as my standard. There's only one ever been one person who was Emily though, so maybe I can just give myself a break.
I was able to work on my poem for a couple of hours on Saturday so I came up with a skeleton of sorts, then laid it aside until tonight. I've spent the last twenty minutes tweaking, and now I've just posted *it here. My original thought with this project was to take ideas from your comments every Monday. I'm not so sure that's going to work out as easily as I first pictured so I'm giving myself the freedom to break that rule. However, there is an allusion to one of my daughter's suggestions, which was to write a poem about Bigfoot. I guess the idea kinda stuck.
*I'll be taking a look at that first poem later on this week, so if you want to give it a read and have any ideas for its improvement, send me an e-mail with your suggestions. I'll take any help I can get. Thanks for paying attention, to me and to yourself. See ya soon.