Sunday, 6 June 2010

Examining the minutiae

 I really need to start examining my writing more closely and asking more questions of it: what is it that a particular poem is trying to achieve (beyond the obvious subject matter)? What is the poem saying that I didn't intend it to say? Are the words hanging together satisfactorily? Can I expand on the central idea even more?

Being on the MA and especially the last term has made me look at my work more closely than I ever have before. Our tutor this term is very pedantic about examining the minutiae of a poem and looking at how or if they are working. To begin with I found this very hard but I have really begun to notice in the last couple of weeks how I am beginning to take on board and really value this practice. It is as if I have made a little hop forward in my own little poetic evolution. Of course this doesn't necessarily mean that I am writing better poetry, but it does mean that I will be examining what I do write more carefully.  

My tutor has also suggested that I need to go back to the core idea of my poems and see if I can get more out of them. To find the place where the poem takes off and try and get back into that space and see where it takes me. This is something that I find really difficult and I have found that I am really resisting doing it and I am not really sure why. It could be that I am scared at what will come up if I do it - of revealing too much of my core, my inner self, or it could simply be that I am scared of finding a vacuum - a vacancy, that there simply is no more than what I have already written.

I have also come to realise, after the Les Murray workshop and re-reading my other tutor's comments on my last submission, that I have to work even harder at editing my work, that it can be honed down even further than I have been doing and that this will make the work even stronger. I already lose on average a good quarter to a third from the original draft of a poem, but sometimes just cutting that extra bit more can make all of the difference.   

I am also beginning to come round to the idea of trying to write in form. I haven't wanted to do this for a long time but i have been thinking about it for the last couple of weeks. I am not holding my breath for a fantastic outcome: I have never written anything in form that I have been entirely satisfied with. It will be good to try it on again though, like an old coat, and see if it fits any better after having been away from it for a while.  

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