Thursday, January 29, 2009

In Glory, In Wire

I wrote my first poem today in weeks. I always tell myself, "I don't need to write," like I'm trying to prove that I'm above it or don't need it in my life, and then when I don't there's this odd malaise that sets in, and I attribute to the lack of pushing words around the page. So yes, clearly I do need to write, and I need to start sticking to the draft-a-week plan.

It's another poem for the chapbook I think.

Speaking of which, I finally say down with my friend Nick the other day (you should buy his chapbook here)—my most astute reader, who's always honest and somehow hones in perfectly on the shortcomings and loose ends in my work—to discuss the chapbook. I now have many ideas where I can take it, and I still have poems to write that need to be in there. It feels that way to me at least. There's no reason to rush it I suppose.

The project's comprised of poems that I haven't really received comments on, mainly because I haven't sent them to people until a few trustworthy folks recently, as the chapbook.

I'm hoping if this doesn't turn into something that it'll at least help with future collections and projects. Since the chapbook is kind of inherently more like a sprint, you need to be ultra-cognizant of how poems fit together, what the chapbook's doing—its "agenda" I suppose—and how it ends. Even though many say, "Put your strongest poems at the beginning," I do believe in a fitting and should-be-perfect ending, however you want to define "perfect." Maybe I have no clue what I'm talking about. I don't think I ever do.


I hadn't looked at Ghost Lights in a while, so the other day I took a look at it and cut two poems. That makes it about 53 pages of actual poetry, and I'm really happy with that length. There were some contests in the past months that called for 60-90 pages of poetry, or at the very least 60— instead of the usual 48—so I had to sneak some more in there, and I think it seemed forced, just like it kind of had to be. Needless to say, I didn't like that.

I got a recent poem published that—if it fit anywhere—I thought would fit somewhere within Ghost Lights, as it's an elegy. That said, I couldn't find a place for it. I realized this is because the only thing I can really do now is cut poems. I don't think there's anything more I can say than what's in those pages through those poems, and the aforementioned poem seemed like an echoed amalgam of a few others already in the manuscript. And if I was writing new work to include poems, they'd be forced and wouldn't have the same kind of energy the current poems do. It's taken me about a year and a half to realize this.


I watched Lake City the other day, mainly because it was filmed in Richmond, though really it was Glen Allen I think. I recognized one five-second shot that was clearly an establishing shot, probably not part of the previous shot, that was in Shockoe Bottom. And I tried to Google some names of places and things, and I found some locations that are in Glen Allen, about five miles away. Most of the movie takes place in an old farmhouse, and the cinematography's easily the best thing about the movie. I never knew the surrounding area here was so gorgeous. It reminded me a bit of Tim Orr's contributions to the more lyrical movies he's filmed. Overall, though, it's not something you need to rush out to see. I say this too much maybe, but it reminded me of an MFA screenplay that somehow got the funding to back it. The story was a bit too loose and tried to do too many things, but I didn't hate it by the end, which is a good thing.


Congratulations to David Wojahn. It's more than well-deserved.

I'm fairly certain in saying that without his help and support and influence these last four years, I would be completely lost in the world of poetry.


And some noteworthy and necessary spins for me lately:
  • Antony and the Johnsons - The Crying Light
  • Various Artists - Dark Was the Night
  • Calder - Lower
  • Musee Mecanique - Hold This Ghost
  • Tim Hecker - An Imaginary Country
  • Loney Dear - Dear John