Just wanted to let you know that I’m not writing a blog post this week.
Most of my writing time this week has been spent working on organizing my poems. I’m horrible at keeping track of what I’ve written and if I’ve posted them on my blog or not. None of my poems have published anywhere but here. A few of my poems I’ve read at church or at the local poetry open mic nights. I have no idea which ones. That kind of record keeping hasn’t been important to me.
A poem is an ephemeral thing – wind-blown and touching here or there for a short time.
That is until you think it might be a good idea to send purposely out into the world. Say for an application for a poetry workshop or to a literary magazine (both of which I’m activity working on). The people who run those things have rules. Annoying rules like not resubmitting the same poem over and over again or submitting poems that have already been published. Even more annoying, one set of guidelines I’m looking at wants recent poems. Recent, as in the last year (good thing computer files have timestamps or I’d not even be close on this).
If someone asked me to describe my poetry or read say more than one of my poems – frankly I’d be lost. Except for what is posted to my blog and two collection documents on my computer, most poems are just document files with no notes to indicate when I wrote them or if they’ve been used. Even worse this week was that I found a poem that I’d handwritten on the back of a church bulletin – it had possibilities (I write some good poems when I’m suppose to be listening to the sermon).
Lately I’ve been thinking it might be easier to just write new poems for the poetry workshops rather than do the archeology on my computer to find recent unpublished poems.
And one other annoying thing – these days most literary magazines consider posting a poem on your own blog to be “published” and they don’t want them. Which is why I have a few uncatalogued poems floating around my hard drive – clearly at the time I wrote some of these I thought of sending them somewhere.
Normally I get so excited about a poem that I just post to this blog and call it done. Then a few days later I’ll think, “Darn, I should have sent to the New Yorker or somewhere and now I can’t.”
It’s something of a dichotomy in poetry. One hand a poet is supposed to break the rules of language and poetic form to create new, inspired works, but on the other to get these noticed or published you have to follow a set of rules or you go unheralded and unrecognized. sigh…
Wow – did I just use the word ‘dichotomy’ in a sentence.
So here I sit on a rainy Sunday afternoon chasing around my digital records looking for poems I’ve written instead of writing a new post about something important.
There are so many good things I could write about today. I could update you on my current poetry collection. I did write a poem last week. On Friday, Heather and I went to San Francisco to see the Gauguin exhibit at the De Young. Yesterday it was warm enough to put a coat of finish on my bookcase and I cleaned the gutters.
I expect there is a lot I could say about cleaning gutters – lots of good life metaphors there.
Instead here I am lamenting my lack of file organization for my poems and you don’t get a post from me.
Sorry about that. I’ll write something for you next week.