The Poetry Process

This year I have challenged myself to write a poem a day. My challenge was in response to a challenge my mother began in 2016, and continued this year, to produce a drawing a day. Poetry seemed a more suitable challenge to me.

This morning I completed day 86 on my morning walk. I often compose poems as I walk my dog. It is my rare time alone with no demands placed on me other than the tug of the leash. Most days I can complete a poem this way but sometimes nothing comes. It is then I revisit my notebooks where I draft my poems, looking for snippets of poems that never formed, or ideas from past poems, due to be reborn. It was during such a search, that I came across my notes on the writing process itself. I don’t have the exact date but approximately mid-year 2003. Seemed appropriate to share.

Writing a poem feels like diving deep into the sea. I plunge and begin to feel the mental clutter fade. Deeper, I feel the words approach and try to come together. At first it is all wrong, the meanings too obvious; the imagery uninspired.

Deeper still I dive, past the quiet of nothing, into the place where language is alive, surprising me, and I listen.

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