Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Desperation Poems

No, not poems about desperation, though I'm sure there are good ones somewhere. I'm thinking about the ones I write out of desperation to meet a weekly deadline that a group of friends and I have set for ourselves. Practice, as I've said before, is as important for a poet as for a singer, dancer, painter--anyone who wants to stay in the creative game. The desperation poem is not just practice; it is a mouthful of humble pie. Pretenses of depth and beauty become a stale crust. Sharing these poems is self-mutilation. But I suspect all writers have duds in the notebook or the wastebasket or wherever we file them. At least desperation poems stretch my muscles, suggest what I need to know in order to write a valid poem.

And what is a valid poem? One that shares an experience in such a way that the personal, specific language becomes useful to another. A valid poem interrupts consensus reality and says, hey, pay closer attention to the world. Allen Ginsberg said, "Notice what you notice." Someone on line recently asked that we "Notice one thing each day, write it down and share." Chris Ransick has a wonderful new blog entry {http://chrisransick.com/blog/} about what he calls "dasein"-- that feeling of being in the now that allows us to see more deeply, to sense our place in the world. Desperation, too often, turns my attention to an anxious need to comply with some expectation.

No comments: