Sunday, December 18, 2005

I broke a pattern today. Deliberately, isn’t that how patterns are broken? I made a different choice. I said out loud, I am not the same person I was four year ago and I meant it.

Last night I went to see BrokeBack Mountain. It made me sad. Possibly b/c I was positioned between three people who were sobbing yet I did not. I don’t know why? I’m not a closet crier and yet sometimes silence is good.

In November I stood in a three block line to see Pride and Prejudice. I love that I live in a town where ppl read. Two girls were in front of us and they said, they couldn’t remember any lines memorable from the book, not like Romeo and Juliet. Blah, blah… we are all fools in love, I said. My date was not impressed. I thought it was pretty impressive. Okay, it could be I spent the rest of the evening moaning, “Where oh where is my Mr. Darcy?” That might be it.

Charles Wright has a damn fine poem in The New Yorker. Damn fine. Worth the whole price of the magazine. Also an interesting article about William Woodworth, how he was mocked so much during his writing career, how he has forty years of work no one has ever read, how he did his best writing in his thirties but even then he wasn’t really, ever respected in the literary community.

It is so interesting this whole career perspective. I always find it interesting when people say to me I'm the real thing. What does that mean? I mean, I get they are giving me a high compliment and I do try to take it as such, but the real thing? Does validation of work make it art? And if so, is it the artist’s own validation or the general community?

I love the poem “Chicken Little.” I wrote it three years ago before chicken poetry became popular. Yes, there was a rush. I’ve never published it…maybe b/c there was a huge flood of poultry poetry. I don’t know? But it still took me awhile to figure out that I could still be proud of it. I could still like it, that it didn’t need outside validation.

I'm not the same woman I was four years ago.


Emily Lloyd said...

I am not sure if I've ever told you that you're the real thing, but I can tell you what I mean when I say it of a writer. For me, "the real thing" is about raw talent, often about a writer who seems to be doing something new. It is about the quality of your ear or observations, and NOT necessarily about the quality of your writing.

Many successful poets and many good poets are not the real thing. Nor am I the real thing, and I know this, and this is why I don't push myself very hard, why I don't write much. What I am is skilled. Is the difference understandable? My work is not on fire. It may have no flaws, but... I could name many respected poets, also many blogger poets, whose work I think is skilled but not hot...not "the real thing." One reason I admire Catherine Wagner's work is because I think it smacks of being "the real thing." It doesn't really mean that I like her poems better than other people's's just that it's clear to me that something big is going on there.

Now, being the real thing without being skilled...that's tough. I would rather read an unskilled real thing poem than a skilled unreal thing poem (am I driving you nuts yet?), is probably real thing with skill rising.

I do think you are the real thing, btw. And I think you have gotten much more skilled over the time in which I've read you.

Rae Pater said...

What I mean when I say a poet is 'the real thing' is that their poems take me somewhere. They change, grow, or expand in some way my perception of life the universe and everything.
When I read their poems my psyche shifts ever so slightly. I can feel it happen. I get this when I read your poetry, and sometimes even just reading your blog.
Like Emily, I find many polished and skilled poets whose work I can admire for its technical skill, but which doesn't move me at all.
The poems I accept for VLQ are sometimes lacking in polish, they may be a little rough round the edges, but they are all poems that moved me in some way.
For me, the person I think of as a 'true poet' is the person with a unique vision of the ordinary, and a unique way of expressing it that enables others to share that vision.

Pamela said...

I think that you are the real thing, also, because your poems have a perfect pitch, which is not the same as having a good ear or always hitting "correct" notes. It is an innate gift that relies more on composition (origin) than technique (acquired skill). I have enjoyed every poem/draft of yours I have read on this blog, and that's not true of almost anyone else (Ms. Louden being a notable exception, and also Dr. P.)

early hours of sky said...

Thank you all that was kind. I wasn’t really looking for validation about be “the real thing” which always makes me think I’m in a Coke commercial. I think being “real” will be a constant journey for me, maybe that’s what keeps us going as writers, our quest for “the real thing” or the perfect poem.

And ditto about Peter and Loudon…they are originals.

steve mueske said...

T., you're the real thing. Just had to say it.


early hours of sky said...

Thank you Steve, did you see who is teaching at Split Rock this summer? Oh we so have to do that class....