Tuesday, April 10, 2007

Noah Eli Gordon: On Making a Poem

"I've tried everything I can think of to bring a poem into the world: automatic writing; timed writing; making word lists; sketching out detailed charts of specific syntax and filling in the words later on; writing only in public; writing at specific times of day. The really maddening thing about it—and I'm sure this is true for many many poets—is that once you've had that breakthrough moment with a particular mode it's sure not to work the next time.

For me, being a poet is something that needs to be continually relearned. Nothing works the same way twice, which is why I think it's important to explore as many avenues as one can, to create outrageously complex and seemingly impossible projects for one's self, even if they end up in failure. Although I'm wary of labeling various factions within the poetry community, I do think this is a more generative way to consider the term "experimental poetry," as it's all about seeing what works and what doesn't. How does one experiment with language, with memory, with narrative, or even with emotional states or physical conditions? The goal is not necessarily to write a certain kind of poetry, but simply to alter the ways in which any poetry might be written."

It was great to read this. I've either said the same thing before, or thought it, or just plain experienced it.

I guess it's always nice to know you're not alone.

I'm experiencing the "nothing works the same way twice" problem with Horoscope. The first set came out easily. I find myself working harder with each poem as it comes. Slackening into old and easy tropes. I'm aware of it, making a concious effort to not ease up. But it's hard.

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