We recently read Don DeLillo’s Point Omega for a workshop and came across an interview of his in which he says he changes the words of his sentences to fit the rhythm, even if it completely alters the meaning. I find this bizzare, brave and liberating at the same time. We’ve all put a word in a sentence at some point that has never seemed right and then spent hours trying to find one that says exactly the same thing. As writers, we attach a lot of meaning to our pieces and we hate letting that meaning go. Especially those of us who have been brought up to constantly ask ‘what does the author mean? What meaning can I take away from this?’ when reading other texts. Some of us don’t think that capturing the essence of meaning, as opposed to tying it down to each end is sometimes enough. I must admit it has made me less hesitant to write poetry. Because for me, that’s one of the difficulties of it; capturing the meaning yet being concise with it in such a short form.
A while ago someone sent me a YouTube link to performance poetry and it gave me a clearer sense of writing poetry too. Made me wonder why I hadn’t found one myself before. Also got me thinking of how poetry has always been written to be read aloud and performed. I’m not saying it has made it writing any easier, I still struggle and fret about whether it’s any good, but it helps having people around who you can trust to give you honest feedback. I guess I’m not ready to give up on poetry. It was what got me into writing, was what I wrote to begin with. Even though now, I look back and cringe horribly at my younger self at the quality and teenage topic choices. But even back then I wrote to express. The best writing comes from the inside but it can sometimes be the worst because of our attachment to it.
I hadn’t actually meant to come on here and blog about poetry but I guess it’s fitting as it is national poetry day. I’ve written about five lines of two different poems in draft form on my phone over the past week just before dozing off to sleep. Lately I’m embracing the high points in life that not only make you write, but make you write fearlessly and worry about the ‘quality’ later. Being self critical can sometimes be counterproductive.
It wouldn’t be a proper entry without me sharing a poem. I really could list so many from Maya Angelou’s ‘I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings’ and so many of Emily Dickinson’s… I came across Carol Ann Duffy for the first time at A-Level and since then, this has been my all-time favourite poem. I find it so beautiful. Another one worth checking out is ‘Answering Back’, an anthology edited by her. What I love about it is that it’s contemporary poets responding to poets of the past, and you can see the comparison and how the poems compliment each other. Makes you appreciate and understand the works even more and smile at the witty responses. Reading the anthology, you really do get a sense of a conversation being carried on through the ages, and how time has altered opinions and attitudes. Definitely worth checking out. For now, this is my all-time favourite Duffy poem.
and the distance between us, I am thinking of you.
The room is turning slowly away from the moon.This is pleasurable. Or shall I cross that out and say
it is sad? In one of the tenses I singing
an impossible song of desire that you cannot hear.
to reach you. For I am in love with you