Thursday, February 16, 2017

Current State of Poetry

     Up until recently I seriously thought I was done with poetry. I was ready to go the route of Rimbaud and stop writing poetry, or something dramatic to that effect. At one time in my life I was a prolific poetry writer. My history goes back to adolescence, to that time when the youth needs a way to express itself. Poetry was my means. It was my way out, and my catharsis. Very common, yes, very garden variety; I know I’ve written about it somewhere in the annuls of this blog. The closest you could get to what my poetry was like in that time is a poem called, “This Concerning Neutrality,” and that was written sometime in the mid to late 1990’s. I wrote all the time though. I filled up notebooks of poetry. Then, when I got older, and I felt my writing had become more than just a passion, but something I really did, I continued, if not on a more pointed direction. Then taking the time to read, and re-read, and edit, and revise if necessary, and type, and format, and print, and bind became an extension of the writing process. The more involved I became in the process of creating a publication, I will admit, the less time I had to actually create. That had been a problem as of late. I had stopped writing poetry. Something about it disinterested me; something about it did not taste good in my mouth. It wouldn’t be fair to scapegoat it on the poetry scene I was surrounded by, not in a specific way anyway. My relationships were always, and I'd like to think still are, good. Because I was a public poet, I feel the direction of the writing and styles of the time weren’t jiving with me. Add to that an encroaching hostile political climate, because my views, which I'm open about, are averse to most in the poetry world; and, let's face it, we've all seen how passionate people have been this election season. So, I sat out for a long time not just physically, from the poetry readings and open mics, but also from the paper and pen. Looking back at this period of time, I was consumed with writing and completing The Distance To The End, but I actually did find some scraps of poetry. Apparently I even found time to be published thanks to Poetic Diversity and Silver Birch Press. So some of my newer work is out there, but not as new as some of the stuff I have attempted to create.
     I found myself writing my first scribblings of a poem in recent months. It felt alien. It felt like I had forgotten. The first words were tentative. As poetry has always been writing powered by feeling as opposed to outlined and brainstormed, I waited for the streams of consciousness to begin speaking. I relied on Olmsted’s observational and objective writing technique to get the ball rolling. Eventually the flow occured, and the poem was there. But what did it mean? It’s elusive. Metaphorical. Allegorical? No. Symbolic? A tad. Still needs work. I used to never believe in editing my work. Suzie Olmsted summed it up best when she said the poem was not raw if you go back and revise and revise, like it loses its purity, its soul. Now grammar and spelling is different. Of course, one will always go back and edit that. Perhaps, one runs into a throwaway line or two, that wouldn’t necessarily be a poem under total revision. I have always felt revising content-wise, and sometime structurally, steals away the poem’s original voice, strips away the passion, and demeans the orgasm that birthed it. In time, however, I learned ways of maintaining that original message. 
     So, I’ll see how it goes. I say to myself, “I make no promises to myself or anybody else about poetry.” But even now I’m trying. I do have some new stuff I’m working on already for the new year. I’m also looking at doing another publication. This collection is the entire reason why the ghosts of poetry stirred in me. I revisited old work. And I have decided to gather the poetry I originally published in chapbooks into a single anthology. As these poems were previously published in very limited run quantities, I am excited that they will finally have the chance to be read by a larger audience with much greater accessibility. The chapbooks I will be culling from in this endeavor include three Virgogray Press releases, Ghost Roads(2008), Limbo(2006/2010), and The Terrorist(2009), and Green Tea America originally published by New Polish Beat in 2010. I haven’t decided what road I will go with the collection. At this time, I’m probably about half-finished collecting the poems into a brand new manuscript. I do have a title I am playing with. I’m pretty sure it will stick, unless I have an epiphany between now and pubdate. So this is something to look forward. Once this book is available, I will once again hit up the reading circuit, at least regionally. I will also have more of my poetry posting on this blog, so you don’t have to look far. If you would like more to read, though, visit my website. Link is to the side, just shift your eyes and click. There are several poems linked there. If you like what you read, please support my work and buy a copy of This Reality of Man, my most recent collection of poetry. I’ll love you forever. J <3

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