Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Notes on Poetry Composition


Notes on Poetry Composition


When I need to make sense of it all, I go back to the beginning.
I throw out the poetry textbooks and all my lecture notes.
I ignore the voice in my head that keeps repeating “imagery,
cadence, structure and rhyme”.

I go back to Bluebird and Roll the Dice. I go back to that place
where my passion was born, where the muse first gave me a wink
and the gods showed me words that could kick like a mule
and kiss me like no woman I had ever known.

I forget about submission guidelines and contributors’ copies.
I pour myself a tall glass of cheap scotch cut with ice
and drink until I don’t give a shit, until I’m ready to wipe my ass
with rejection letters and can vomit up years of advice.

It’s then that I remember the women I’ve fucked
and the ones that have fucked me. I think about the pain
and failure that's refined me, then I take another sip and say
“but I’m still here”, and I smile at the gentle tinkle of ice and glass.

SMG

22 comments:

Honkmofo said...

This is Awesome! Go crazy!

elmonte09 said...

Powerful...cold-water-in-the-face wakeup on a Saturday morning.

Shannon Peil said...

Incredible advice. Fuck rejection letters. Write anyway.

forpuck said...

Thanks. The first thing I felt after finishing was: "I needed to read that".

Khakjaan Wessington said...

YES! This is what an archive of web verse can do--let one witness first hand as a poet makes his (or her) turn. We are embodied so our verse is embodied, so we can't pretend to put it all in one place & call it word-space. The writer evolves so the words evolve and the result is a gigantic archive of moving verse that serves as testament to the living-process of the author. In this regard, the opus becomes self-referential and adds a layer of complexity to all that came before. I like that you Bukowski yourself and get all meta; because the hyperlinks themselves becomes an explanation of how you continue the tradition into cyberspace and demonstrate a self-awareness of what you're doing.

The poem itself was very good; but if you consider this whole page one gigantic poem, then it serves as a movement that turns the narrative direction of the composition. That's why I liked it so much.

You're an interesting poet and very clever. It's a pleasure to read your verse the day it comes out.

Jeffrey Miller said...

You da man.

Ms. M. Hudson said...

I was with you until the first part of the last paragraph. LOL I am, however, encouraged to keep writing and to write even when I feel crap is on the horizon. I secretly believe that if I continue write and experiment with form, I'll find my voice and it will be as limitless and beautiful as I'd hoped it would be.

Thanks for another great piece, Steven. Pull out two glasses this time. Rum and Coke, please.

Natasha said...

Who needs ice...or a glass for that matter. All hail YOU and your post. Much enjoyed :)

Brian Miller said...

frickin best thing i read tonight...you channel bukowski well...ha...write for yourself they will like it or not...now pass me a glass...

Matt Coughlan said...

Something about "beginner's mind" is rattling around my skull...ah, to hell with it. :D

Bing (PinkLady) said...

scotch on the rocks makes you take everything and anything in stride... i love how you injected humor to a very serious musing. :)

signed...bkm said...

Rejection letters make for some awesome poems...though..the scotch on ice is not for me...it hurts my head thinking about it..well done...bkm

Claudia said...

this is real and tight and liberating and frickin' good!

John (@bookdreamer) said...

Write with your truth and one day they will come...

Beachanny said...

Your main metaphor is right. It's all golden liquid and it runs both ways, falling into youth, falling into old age; the need to be real and writing it comes down to finding the edge and keeping it sharp.

But the golden liquid dulls the point and the sunshine glares. In old age, it's hard to know where we were sharpest..if the edge is in the knife by dark or in nature by day. Perhaps it's all a myth. The road to keeping it crazy may lie there.

Amy e said...

Love those nights and the poetry born from them

Claudia said...

just read this again steven and it really touched me...also listened to the bukowski pieces you linked to... it's the real we're seeking and when i read this and when i read bukowski i think "yeah, this is real and honest and raw" nothing artificial and weird constructions that fall with the first blow..not sure if i express myself very well here but just wanted to tell you this is why i started to write, this is why i cried when i read my first bukowski piece, an almost made up poem
http://www.poemhunter.com/poem/an-almost-made-up-poem/
and what you say in your poem is what should keep us writing, nothing else... so thanks for this...

Eden Baylee said...

I fucking love Bukowski, and this is just one of the reasons why.

eden

Eden Baylee said...

Steve, your post was fantastic and soooo channeled Bukowski that I thought it was his words!

You're amazing. One day, I'll join you in a scotch, only I take mine neat.

eden

Beachanny said...

If you'd written this in tercets, I would have added your link tonight in our discussion of "modern" poetry @ dversepoets pub.

When I think of "modern" poets I've read, you are one who comes to mind. Liked this a whole lot, sir.

Mark Dillinger said...

That was a good collection of words, they cut straight through me and to the point.

I will continue to read, Thank You.

Christopher Reilley said...

You keep writing them, and we will keep reading them.