Friday, 10 December 2010

Maps, Memories and Editing

It is always interesting taking a poem to a workshopping group. although sometimes it can be a little nerve-wracking. You can never anticipate how other people will read your poem or what they will read into it. The poem I took to my group yesterday was about a specific memory - but what I found interesting was that when the others read it they saw it as fantasy rather than a memory.  Thinking it about it afterwards I realised that the poem has many layers but these layers are not all easily apparent to the reader. The first idea is that life is viewed as a map or a series of maps, the second is that memory is used as a means of escape from unwanted thoughts - here memory is also used as a kind of fantasy - although the fantasy is something real that is remembered.

Here is the first few lines (but bear in mind it does need a lot more work:

If you travel far and fast enough
you might even escape
the unrolled map of your childhood,
you might sneak off its edges
and into some dream of narrow lanes
high hedges, man made hills.

In a place like this
you might find yourself
under a canal bridge with a small boy
blowing on a harmonica beside you,
watching birds skimming the water...

In the poem at the moment the idea of the map is in the first and last stanza but not in the ones in between and it was suggested that more could be made of the maps which I think is an interesting idea. I was not worried that they viewed it as a fantasy rather than a memory - the beauty of sharing is that sometimes other people read something in a completely different way than the writer intended. Some people get irate about this but I don't mind it - if I did I would simply re-edit to try and make my meaning more implicit.  

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