Nearly the end of 2012, and we’re still here. Should we be relieved?
I forgot to mention before that I will be at the Poetry and Prose Winter Getaway in New Jersey next month, which will be my first real poetry retreat ever; quite excited about this! I hope I get to say hi to Dorianne Laux, because I chickened out at the Dodge Festival and didn’t get to meet her. While the Jersey Shore in mid-January is not the most hospitable natural environment, I suppose that means I will be more able to seclude myself in the hotel room and write up a storm. Tomorrow I’m going to make my list of poetic new year resolutions, so “doing a poetry retreat” will be fulfilled right quick, I suppose.
This week: “back to basics”
This is going to be a simple post. I looked back through the last year of Reveries, trying to come up with some kind of idea for what to do on the last one of the year. One thing I’ve noticed – and in a good way, I’m flattered by it – is that a lot of the prompts have comments where people have said, “This requires a lot of thought; I’ll have to come back to this later.” I think prompts that challenge you to think a lot are the best ones, that deserve attention; there are certainly throwaway prompts out there, and ones that come naturally for some and difficult for others, but my favorites are the ones that require extensive thought. I’ve never liked the idea of time limits on these Reveries, and so I’ve never pushed for getting a response poem up within the week or whatever. Sometimes you only need to be with a prompt for an hour; sometimes it needs to stew for a year.
So, as we roll from one calendar year to the next, what I suggest is go back to the ones you’ve set aside. If you need a refresher, the “Reveries” link in the left column will pull up only the Reverie posts, so you can remind yourself which prompts you skipped but wanted to do later, or which ones you want to give another go because they were just so cool. (I hope you found at least a couple of them cool…) Maybe you want to go all the way back to the beginning of the year, having had fifty-two weeks to practice and develop ideas. Any way you want to do it is fine with me, but with all the holiday chaos (note that this is going up a day late), I don’t think any kind of prompt I could cobble together will do justice equal to the notion of going back and having a second look at something valuable from before.
And after that, here is my suggestion for the next year’s prompts: each week, I will take one poem and workshop it here on the blog. You can send poems in via email (linksfreude at gmail), or by comment, or link to them in your blog, and I will pick one out of the bucket to pick apart. I promise you the following: I will be fair and constructive in my criticism (endeavoring to do three strengths and three areas for improvement; shorter poems might get less), I will treat all poems equally (even if they are the kind of poems I dislike; see my list of poetic turn-offs, also in the left column), and I will try to give a chance to everybody (unless no one takes me up on this offer, and I have to post my own poems to revise openly). My hope is that I can deliver some critique and suggestions in a way that is leading, but not controlling, and that will touch on general poetic subjects enough that other readers will be able to make use of it. Of course, the caveat I always give still stands: all of this is based on my own meandering experience of the last three-almost-four years as a daily-or-thereabouts poet, the several years before that as a prose scribbler, the linguistics/comparative literature training that I have, and the consequence of being a voracious reader. The advantage to my comparatively unprofessional experience is that you don’t have to pay me several hundred dollars to read your stuff and get an opinion. I just hope it’s an opinion you’d want. :)
Probably I will still do these on Saturdays, too. I’ve gotten very used to Saturday posts.
If you want to be considered for the first of these new prompts (whose name is yet undetermined), please send me something this coming week (such as, for example, a response to a Reverie you missed?) so that I have something to put up on Saturday that’s not my own work. And spread the word, if other people want critique. The comments section of those posts can also be a forum for other poets to workshop each other, if that is something desired as well. It’s very free-form feel-it-out kind of stuff, this: it will be a learning journey for all of us.
Off to the Apple store to see if they can fix my iPod. Cheers for now!