Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Amy Says Yes

Amy King [re]gave her permission and blessings to use her book as part of my project!

I am full throttle, even though my fuel is running low. Sure, I'm cranky. However, I can get this done in two days!

Essays to grade are coming in tomorrow, so I have deadlines. Self-imposed or not.

Wow, I'm tired.

Only seven poems left to finish.

Friday, April 25, 2014

Universal Word Deck

If first read about this in the book The Practice of Poetry in the 1990's, where one takes 100 index cards and writes a word on each one. The words would have meaning to the poet, and be used to generate poems from. Think of magnetic poetry before magnetic poetry.

My poems weren't great.

Going through Amy King's I Want to Make You Safe reminded me of this process/project, as words reappear in her poems: moth, milk, wine.

Maybe a project would be making a universal deck, but create poems with a theme in mind. For example: Jazz musicians (each poem reflects the musical attitude of each musician), or a city (places around that city, via memory, memoir, what is said there, etc.).

Maybe the "trick" about the Universal Word Deck is that there needs some kind of variable introduced, as well as some kind of restriction? Using all 100 words would seem too transparent, while choosing fifteen for each poem in a series might work well.

The gist is to create something, a poem, out of a kind of prompt. The Deck is something I will revisit after almost two decades, for sure.

A Poem a Day is Possible

I used to think not. It might be that the pressing day's events seem to come into our minds, that there is "real work" to be done. I was at PT's Flying Monkey when my father came by. He saw my car, he said, and thought he would say hi. then he said, "This is the real work you do, huh?" I was grading papers. I chuckled, and brought up that there is a lot more to teaching than grading papers. Even preparation is a necessity. I can't just go into a classroom without a lesson plan.

Overall, what people define work to be is often not the "real work" to be done.

Yes, I wash dishes, mow the lawn, and, most importantly, co-raise children through attachment parenting--a lot of work.

But poems are necessary for my self-development. They chaleenge me emotionally, intellectually, and I grow from them.

Joe Harrington and I are exchanging daily emails as part of NaPoWriMo, to really try the poem-a-day thing. Neither of us has missed a day.

This sounds fatherly, but it shows what happens when you put your mind and heart to something.

The real work is time management and attention.

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Amy King Project, Part II

I wrote to Amy King for her blessings and permission on what has happened as I am further into my project.

My shadow poem approach has switched to more of a write-reflection approach, where sometimes her words enter my writing--to use them in new contexts. I'm writing a lot about my mothers, the matriarchal history of the family, of Topeka, of my high school friend who took his life shortly after high school. The project feels more like how I read her poems as a way to survive and reconnect with the place I am in. Of course, some of the struggles (like Sen. Brownback) come in, too.

An interesting thing happened, too. The page I was on accidently flipped without my awareness, and I continued in a new poem. I corrected my error, writing two poems from the two, but it could have easily stayed as one poem.

With that said, it is kind of like Noah Eli Gordon's The Source approach, when he does a write-through of page 26 from various books found in the Denver Public Library. The same could be with a stack of admired poets? I would not feel as conflicted with this method. Maybe as the borrowed words would be fewer--less obvious of a write-through when holding someone else's poem next to mine?

Monday, April 14, 2014

My Email List

Those who personally know me know I love poetry and how it plays a vital role in whatever community it finds--or communities that have it. I try to find new venues for letting others in Topeka know about what is coming up. Also, I love being a part of poetry workshops, as either participant or facilitator. Add to that my own quest to use my chapbook as a means of social awareness and discussion. So I created an email list. Thank you for signing up if you choose to do so!


Friday, April 4, 2014

Reading Amy King in Topeka, Kansas

I am alternating between my Amy King project and my other project. I started the Amy King poems a year ago, where I would write a shadow poem to an Amy King poem from I Want to Make You Safe. I also incorporate overheard things. The gist: to survive Topeka, a poet takes up projects and poems.

I wrote my second today, and hope to go back to revisit what I wrote a year ago.

I have a copy I write in. I also try to match up location and context to Amy's poems.

Here is an example I wrote today as my mythology class watched the film Snow White and the Huntsman. I happened upon Amy's poem "A Bruise That Stains the Teeth," which references women in mythology. I included not only shadow writing, but things happening in the film.

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Hate Park, Part Three

The William Stafford Celebration was yesterday, and one of my conversations caused me to pause. Julie from KHC mentioned how I mentioned in my facebook posts that Gage Park was a current project of mine, and how it was a wonderful place. Of course, my research surrounds the social awareness and struggles of marginalized people, so it is easy to forget my experience of the Park.

That is important--to be honest, to capture the authenticity of my own experiences playing in the playground, going to the zoo (back then). Really, it is a fun park, and we continue to take our children there. It is one of the rare Topeka places, in that a lot of people think of Gage Park when they think of things to do in Topeka.

Maybe these considerations, of taking away the lens through which a writer approaches her or his work, creates the best art, the work of representation.