Saturday, 17 April 2010

Losing the "heart" in my poems...

I have been thinking a lot over the past few days about the way in which my writing is changing. It is hard to pinpoint whether it is being on the Creative Writing MA that has brought about the change or whether it is the fact that my mother died earlier this year - or if one event feeds off of the other bringing about a more dramatic change than either factor would necessarily bring about on its own.

What I have noticed of late is that I seem to have finally moved beyond the need to always always be writing intensely personal poems about my dysfunctional family and my childhood. I guess that these are subjects that I will naturally keep coming back to as they are my history, so of course have played a big part in making me who I am as a writer (and a person), but it feels good for my writing to not be so interminably bound up with the past. Maybe my mother's death was the catalyst that I needed to finally be able to let go of any remaining residual anger and bitterness, or maybe I have just written enough about all that stuff for now.

My worry now though is that without this intensely personal element that my writing won't be so strong. When I showed my partner the second draft of my first journey poem his initial comment was "very descriptive". Whilst this was not a criticism I am beginning to worry about whether description is all there is, and if so is this a bad thing? Description does not necessarily engage the reader in the same way as something containing more of an element of human experience. I suppose what I am really getting at is that I have a fear that the "heart" might go out of my poems. There has to be something in a poem that speaks to the reader, that touches them in some way and I am worried that my new journey poems might not do that. I shall be very interested to hear what my tutor has to say on Tuesday.

I have an interesting mix of poems for my submission this semester: a series of poems about sorting out my mother's house after her death, the new journey poems and then there are also some slightly odd poems like the one about chopping off my own head.

2 comments:

Mid-Wife Crisis said...

This is a very interesting post, Julia - and I knew immediately what you meant as your musings summed up exactly why I lost my enthusiasm for poetry, in that I too felt that the heart had gone out of my work. However, you're a good enough poet for something of you to always leave a trace, I think - maybe just below instead of on the surface....

pupski said...

Thanks! maybe you should try writing poetry again sometime...I think when you doing a course like an MA or degree and trying to write to order there is a danger that something will be lost, but I am hoping with time and nurture that that something can be found again. I am so glad that you are writing again!