Friday, March 19, 2010

One step at a time.

Pick a subject. Make it small, tangible, concrete. Pick something you care very little about, or perhaps something that makes you vaguely uncomfortable, something icky maybe, or something you've never even heard of. Pick something around which you can craft a poem that avoids sentimentality. This will then become a poem that can attract a larger audience, one that needn't be familiar with you, your surroundings, your experiences. Pick something interesting.

Learn all that you can about your subject, recording anything and everything that is remotely fascinating. Try wikipedia. The knowledge you gather might not be factual, but it might be more inspired for it. No, scratch that last bit. It's the internet, once posted it becomes fact. Become a part of this phenomenon.

Write down in your file, page, notebook, spare bit of palm, the most interesting words you've found associated with your subject. Challenge yourself to think of synonyms for these words. Use a thesaurus when your mind has run dry as it can be your most helpful tool. Keep your eyes and ears open and be alert for similar sounds, spellings, structures. Explore this 'music'. Don't be afraid of puns at this point, and revel at those words found whose dual meanings you can sculpt. This is the point when a poems destination, narrative, crux, whole 'point', might be glimpsed, or forever altered.

Let all these ingredients stew for a time. Leave open your file, page, notebook, scrap of skin and jot down anything that comes to mind throughout the day/night, whether it be images, extended metaphors, whole lines, or random words. Any one of these might in time be the pinch of salt that rounds out your entire piece, or the poke that sends it in an entirely different direction. But of course, only time will tell, and at this point, your poem needs this time to marinate, ferment, rot a bit.

Have a cup of tea. Pair it with a chocolate chip hot cross bun. Marvel at the perfection that is a cup of tea and a chocolate chip hot cross bun.

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