from Poets on Craft, CulturalWeekly.com
The poem is a living thing. The writing is an intimate interaction of art and the physical body, and it is reflected in my line breaks. I was influenced early by the poetry of William Carlos Williams and Robert Creeley. Williams’ made me realize the break should reflect the breath; read the poem aloud, your body will tell you where to break the line as you pause and inhale. It reflects the pattern of my speech. Creeley’s use of the short line creates a tumbling effect, the poem becomes a waterfall of words trickling gently on the page, one line leads naturally unto the next. The written and spoken aspects of poetry rely equally on each other.
My subject matter? I’m surrounded by it. My senses are bombarded when I am awake and asleep. What I see, touch, hear, feel, and smell all have the potential to trigger those sacred moments of clarity that are expressed as poems. Sometimes it will burst out, my fingers unable to stop hitting the keys of my laptop until the poem is birthed onto the screen. Then there are the ones who grab my attention, but leave it for me to work it out, exercising my heart and mind as I struggle with the essence of the encounter. What is this mark it left on me? What about it needs to be expressed and passed on? The process can take days or weeks. Then at the time of its choosing, the poem shows up, says “now you’re ready, let’s do the work.” To be a poet is to pay attention.
I view the writing of poetry as the best of three worlds: indulging in my fascination with words and the sensual pleasure they give sliding off my tongue in various combinations, the joy of being able to make a verbal music (although I regretfully cannot carry a tune or play an instrument,) and painting mental images that project color and texture in the mind of the reader. The best poems touch on all three, and it is the bar that I try to reach, no matter the subject matter. Ditching the ego is the first step, realizing that I heed the call of a higher cosmic energy provides all the reward I’ll ever need or want. It’s all about the poem… nothing else matters.