Every cause in the known world seems to have a day dedicated to it but who exactly is in charge of this shit exactly and what gives them the authority to attempt to control our thoughts like this? In newspapers and light and vapid news programmes the call will be sent out that today is the day or the month where we’re supposed to think about these things. International no smoking day? How about international lick my festering lungs clean day? Leave your contact details in the comments and i’ll set it up.
April is international poetry month. Of course, it’s not international good poetry month so prepare for pain. Prepare to have poetry of all description shoved down your throat. One of the books I’m reading at the moment, reality overload, has a number of paragraphs discussing this approach to poetry – a sort of flattening of value and draining of meaning wherein all poetry is the same and is merely a commodity to be consumed. It’s a pretty involved book which I’m going to have to re-read with a dictionary on hand, but I’ve garnered alot from it. I hope.
I used to write alot of poetry, in a completely untutored way, but I don’t like alot of poetry. I used to do open mic readings alot as well. The types of places that have poetry readings are usually the kinds of places that cultivate culture like one would attempt to conservate an endangered species and as such draw crowds of, well, a mixed bag. The events ended up feeling quite sterile. I once got a knowing nod of respect off of an acclaimed poet as I got off the stage at one of these quite sterile feeling events – the event being centered around her reading. Her name is Pascale Petit and she was really quite good but her performance was totally marred by, dare i say it, the ambience of dead air. The poem in question was this one and it’s honestly a total mess, formless and making makebelieve at having a structure. Stil, there’s something about it that I’ve always liked.
In later years, having decided that the vast majority of poetry readings/open mic opportunities carried this same weight of dead air, but still finding myself writing and developing, having this sense in my head that poetry could be vital and full of life (the way it seems to be in Manchester at the moment), I started doing readings at an open-mic night at a club. Obviously, such spots were intended for musicians and I was in fact the only writer who read there. My performances there went pretty well. People used to come up with me and attempt to converse, ocassionally buying me pints of lager. On one ocassion the noise of people talking drowned me out and I started shouting. The moral of the story i guess is don’t ever give me a live microphone.
Since I’ve decided to give being a ‘novelist’ a go my poetry output has dropped a hell of alot. I want to come back to the form, give it a studious attempt for a change, but I barely trust myself to write a novel, let alone write a novel whilst studying and writing poetry, so it’s gonna have to wait.
Which brings us to this post on writers rainbow I found wherein the author encourages the novelist to step away from the keyboard and take on the techniques of the poet for a while.
Poetry, for me, is an intuitive process, very different from my work in fiction and prose, in which everything I do is analytical and purposeful and organic to my nature. I come from a storytelling family, so that has to have had some effect on me. I also continue to have trouble finding poetry that resonates with me. For such a short form, I find it wears me out, all the same. I like a puzzle as much as anybody else, but let’s keep it to jigsaws, crosswords and sudokus, I say. Give me access.
But one thing I admire about poets is their relatively low-tech writing practice. Most poets I know can write poetry wherever they are, whenever they are. A pen, a notebook, and a moment is all it takes to get them writing. Prose writers, on the other hand, are keyboard junkies (to be fair, if I hand-inscribed everything I ever wrote, I would have a terrible case of writer’s cramp!) who need outlets, laptops, perhaps a mouse and a thumb drive, to get their work achieved. Not all prose writers are like this…
I totally get what she is saying here. I used to fill notebook after notebook with scribbled notes and poems like i was shelling pistachios (i have a thing for pistachio shells) but since I’ve been on the prosetrain… My current notebook is like 3 years and it’s still far from filled. It’s definately something I miss – the spontinuity, the writing by intuition alone. these days notes are thought and grown invitro before even reaching a page or screen. There’s still intuition and spontinuity, but nowhere near as much.
Still, what is said is no absolute. Not all poets work this way. Not all prose writers work at the opposite end of the spectrum. The point is, i think, new perspectives and techniques are always valuable as your never quite sure where they will lead you and any creative process should be something of wandering into the unknown.
International Poetry Month « Writer’s Rainbow.