Monday, 18 July 2011

Narrative Sequence

I am thinking about the narrative sequence, which seems a little ridiculous given that I am hardly writing any poems at the moment. But I am looking at them in preparation for the Arvon course I am going on next week. I don't think that there is much of a narrative sequence in my own poems - except for the prose poems, which definitely do go together - although at the moment I would say that they are a collection of poems about the same family rather than a sequence with any kind of logical order.

One of the recommended texts for the course is "Wild Iris" by Louise Gluck which, I am re-reading at the moment. I am not sure that I like the collection as much as some of her other work and it is hard to pin-point why exactly. I think it is maybe that her themes for the collection (apart from flowers) are the biggies - life, death, god etc, and although I know that most poetry (my own included) does cover these topics in some way, books that set out to look at them from the start often feel like hard work to read. Maybe I just like my poetry a bit closer to something real - as I said I don't know what it is I don't quite like about them.

I am wishing that I had a more portable copy of "Deepstep Come Shining" by C.D. Wright that I could take with me. Deepstep is one of my favourite narrative sequences (along with "Dart" by Alice Oswald) - what I like about both those books is the freshness of voice and the way the bigger subjects are in there along side very ordinary mundane day to day stuff. Both sequences also have strong voices, which is maybe something that I feel is lacking in "The Wild Iris".

It will be interesting to see how the tutors get us to look at sequences in regard to our own work. I haven't avoided writing one but just have not felt compelled to write for long periods on one subject. I suppose the closest I came was all the childhood poems that I wrote when I was doing my degree at the Art School.


Tim Love said...

Good luck. I'm sure the Arvon experience will get you writing. I can't usually see much difference between a poem sequence, a long poem and a themed pamphlet/collection. The Wasteland? Terry Street?

Julia said...

Thanks! Funnily enough we just read The Wasteland for my book group and I am reading Terry Street at the moment - I picked it up in Oxfam a few weeks ago.