Thursday, May 27, 2010

BRAIDED CREEK AND MORE BREVITY

I'm at the point where I'm realizing, yes, my mind is going; this penchant for short poems and mild skepticism of longer pieces is not just a phase. My attention span is no longer under construction. It's just busted and we're going to have to drive around.

I'm not at the point where I'm worried just yet. So many good short poems out there! So much fun to be had! So much to read! I'm in Seattle right now, and the day after I flew into town I made a beeline for Half Price Books, where I picked up a $5 copy of Braided Creek: A Conversation in Poetry by Jim Harrison and Ted Kooser. I like it so far. If anything, brevity provides a more subtle deadline to acknowledge while writing; yes, we may not be able to write past a project's due date, but in brevity, we also cannot write past what the tiny page allows. We have to make every word count. (And yes, this IS a picture of me, thoughtfully reading text. Look at me think!)


Sometimes I wonder if Kooser gets away with more, though, because he's so old. This might be true. (Joking. Kind of.) Anyway, the book is set up without much guidance. The reader has no sure way of determining which poet wrote which poem, and all the pieces are roughly four lines. After a few pages, I started putting together a small list of people I might ask to do a similar project, mailing each other VERY short poems (this time not associated with any specific postcard image) and keeping a tiny thread connected between each of them.

Let's start with a couple I jotted down last night, as I pretended Harrison and Kooser were conversing with me through their poems. Anyone want to leave their own response in poem form? I'm open to starting my own "braided creek".


* (Wednesday night, May 26th)

I liked him better when I thought
he was talking about muffins
not coffins

*

Everybody matters eventually.
If you're a boy you must wait
until you're a man. If you're a girl
you have to wait until you're dead.

*

Even God wishes he had
a goat to keep the yard
in check



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