Thursday, April 12, 2007

So I didn't win anything in the earlier-mentioned contest, but my poetry was passed on to the national judges at least, and only like 8 are, so that's good, especially for a first year, A. said. I got the judges' comments; one singled out a particular poem for especial praise, and said the other poems in the manuscript ought to be more like it. The other singled out that poem as ineffective (but pointing out an aspect of it--the meter evoking light verse, undercutting the otherwise serious tone, which is something I actually intended--I guess they didn't like that or it didn't work for them though).

One also called one of my sequence poems "unnatural," and I don't really know what they mean by that. And then s/he misquoted the title. :P

So yeah, I'm not sure what the lesson is there. What some people like is exactly what other people don't like, sometimes, I guess. :) But I appreciated the comments, and thought that some of the criticisms were certainly true, like that the abovementioned sequence poem is/feels unfinished. I am grateful that I am able to write in a variety of tones and styles.

I have done a bunch of work on a longer poem for the Wordsworth and Coleridge class; I think it's about 7 pages. Right before class and having to read it I sort of frankensteined it together, actually cutting and taping things in a different order. I've never really done that before, because in circumstances where I would have had more time, I would have simply rewritten it in the different order, either longhand or on the computer.

I'm happy with it. It's not finished. But I like it and I like reading stuff out loud. I wrote a fair portion of it today at Starbucks but the notion for it was formed in my head earlier. I'll have to let things "settle" after this very recent writing and rearrangement and see if I think they work on a later rereading.

So I feel positive and satisfied with my work, both the work I recently created and the ideas I have for new projects.

If only I felt the same way about the two critical papers I need to do for another class, one a revision and the other a paper from scratch. :) I don't want to write any of this crap, I just want to write my own "creative" stuff. It's been very interesting to be one of a handful of MFA people in a class with mostly PhD students; our approaches are so blatantly different and that gets hammered home again and again. Like my response to a fellow poet's paper had to do with... well, authorial stuff. How does our intention, what we write and want to convey, relate to what's read, the thing created as now apart from us, as something that can get passed down (or not) over time, and read quite differently than what we meant?

Whereas another's response was about authorial intent and the ethics of dealing with different versions of a manuscript as an editor.

Or the professor will get quite excited about something for its implications of reading a poem from a certain philosophical framework, and that just makes my head spin. I... don't think I relate to poetry and poets that way. And I don't know why this should continue to be surprising! It's enjoyable to realize that difference though.

I am thinking about teaching next year, how I want to teach, what I want to do. I don't think we'll be doing any long fiction, by which I mean longer than a couple pages. It's my opportunity to foist my own desires and interests on students. :D I think it will be good.

Since I haven't written in a while I should also mention that I went through a sort of constipated period, and then unloaded a packet of like five poems upon my cohort. People don't seem to like the constipated metaphor, perhaps because it not only evokes shit, but likens one's writing to shit. B. and I came up with a much more pleasing metaphor, about regurgitating owl pellets. The author presumably being the owl, the delicate bones of shrews and mice inside the pellet being all the good stuff, or something.