The other day “To Drown” went through workshop. Professor was generous with compliments. She said it was “careful.” I don’t know why, but I was so flattered by the comment. I love work that seems very aware and economic with language, and yet appears effortless. To be tentative and intuitive are both crucial in poetry. I often find that my classmates have little to say about my work, and whether it is good or bad, it unnerves me a little. But thankfully Professor always has some insight that gets to the very core of the poem.
The feedback: I had discovered this the night before the workshop, and pointed it out to the Professor. She quickly agreed. The first three lines create a off-kilter mixed metaphor. The more I read without those first lines, I like the opening so much more: “It came over me once…” One of the criticism was the indentation. Ever since France, I have felt more liberated to with line breaks and indentations. I had been reading Lawrence Ferlinghetti’s A Coney Island of Mind, and there is a great intuitive flow to his indentations to his poems. It goes back to the idea that visual aspect of poetry is quite compelling, the way the words fall on the page lends to the rhythm, the cadence of the work. The other main criticism was at the end of the poem. The transition between the drowning imagery with the flight imagery was too sudden or drastic. She said add another “beat.” I need to “say something,” as she put it, not some flowery description but to actually say something to work as a catalyst for the final stanza. I almost always agree with her comments, and this may be a possibility for the next Artemis submission. I’m excited to say there are a number of poems I’ve written since France that I may want to send off.
I have been trying to crank out more writing, but it’s been difficult. I will hopefully have a revised draft of “To Drown” coming soon. Also I know I haven’t been following the initial purpose of all of this, but I think in order to help invigorate my “creative constipation” as it were, I will turn to the visual from which to work. Until then. . .