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“new to you” poetry gong, day 6

October 18, 2010

There are only two days left of this poetry gong, and I feel like I am going to make it. (Hope I am not jinxing myself.) As I continue on with my tour of poets laureate — W.S. Merwin, Kay Ryan, Charles Simic, Donald Hall, Ted Kooser — I find myself now at Louise Glück.

Glück isn’t a poet who is new to me. I wrote about my impressions of her when I heard her read in July 2009 at Skidmore College in Saratoga. She read excerpts from a brand new manuscript, and I was enthralled by her.

The poems provided in the anthology I am reading are new to me, however, and I learned a lot about her that I didn’t know by reading the introduction to her section. She says, “The desire to make art produces … a longing, a restlessness” and “to perceive it at all is to be haunted by it.” I feel that way, too. There’s something about writing poetry that is out of my hands. Certainly the craft of it — the study, the shaping — is in my hands, but so much of the rest of it comes from chasing after, or running away from, that voice, that presence.

I was surprised to hear the introduction to her poems talk about how she wants the writing to showcase “the subtleties of timing and pacing.” Huh. That was my focus when I wrote about her reading at Skidmore. I need to find confidence in my ear. I can hear some of the same things the scholars hear. My instincts are reliable. Sometimes. 🙂

The way I’ve been doing this is that I read the poet in the evening or before bed, and then I write the following day, reading a new poet that night and so on. It’s been giving me some time to digest some of the lines and still do one each day. Last night and today (until now) I fretted about to what write from Louise Glück. There’s no way I can achieve subtly and master pacing in one sitting. So I have just decided I would cheat.

I am going to write literally about pace. I think. We’ll see exactly what comes out. At least the line I started this with is about pace. And I have been feeling overwhelmed and bogged down and stuck, stuck, stuck. Today, on the way home from lunch with a friend, traffic opened up then froze in place to let an ambulance pass. The line came to me. Ready to see if any of this makes a poem? Me, too. (I am stuck with it either way because I am late getting to this today.)



I make lots of leaps in this that I don’t quite pull off, but it’s a draft. Maybe I can work with it later. And I had no idea what to name it. Glück has a long poem “October,” and Kooser had poems with dates for names. So I plunked “October 18” there for now. And I don’t like how it ends. Seems too blah-bitty-blah, or something. And yes, that’s a technical term.

Be sure to go read what everyone else is writing for Day 6. There are a bunch of us still in this!

  1. October 18, 2010 7:59 pm

    an alternate title, just as acceptably bland, would be “monday.” realized that when i posted my link at big tent. it’s a monday alright.

  2. eskenosen permalink
    October 18, 2010 9:54 pm

    I got stuck (in a good way) right away on “The dying move/faster than any of us.” It’s one of those sentences that reverberates, spreads out.

  3. October 19, 2010 5:52 am

    “The dying move/faster than any of us.” definitely provokes thought.

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