Rabu, 10 September 2008

Poem Puzzles

It's the second week of what I now call fall, defined entirely by the start of school. I have settled into a routine, which I am now breaking, so one must question whether I can call it a routine if, after 7 days, I am interrupting it. I've been walking Tommy to the bus stop, walking home in the morning sunshine (or rain), sitting down at the kitchen table, and working on poetry. I feel like I am making some progress on poems I started over the summer. When I am working on a poem, I feel such a sense of absorption, and I am aware of a logic and a rhythm to the process. It's like assembling a jigsaw puzzle, though I suppose there is sometimes more than one solution to each poem puzzle. I can feel when lines are fitting together, and I can feel when I need to reshape and reconfigure. I always think that I know when I've put the final piece in, but sometimes I have "false closure," and then I come back to the poem puzzle and take a few pieces out and build different pieces to replace them. When I am done with a jigsaw puzzle, I like to run my hands over it. When I am done with a poem, I read it aloud to myself, which is like running my hands over a puzzle. Last August, when I was hiking along the ridge trail in Nordhouse Dunes, I loved looking at the trees, which were all shaped by the wind. They had distinctive growth patterns and similar twists. I notice that with puzzles. Each 500-piece, 1,000-piece puzzle tends to have one shape that is repeated, with some variation, in many of the pieces. So it is with poems. Something in our work becomes our voice.

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