Sunday, September 17, 2006

ebb and flow

Reading Jen at blue acres and also thinking of the times when the words don't come and when they do.

I was doing one of the regular(ish) DiVerse readings today - we're the ekphrasis team, writing in reference to artworks, this time prints at the S.H. Ervin Gallery - and one of the other poets said an interesting thing - that she tried to write a poem in response to a print of a cat. She's a cat person, so it should have been a shoe-in, she and we all thought. But, nope, the poem wouldn't 'go'. Whereas another print 'insisted' she write about it.

Of course, this is all speaking in metaphors about process, which is fine. I'm not scared or worried by metaphors. Jen says: "when I'm stuck it seems poems are like equations with one or two possible but elusive solutions, both requiring a good ten or twenty more IQ points than I have spare to find." I understand that as well, though it's not how I would have put it. I think in terms of flows and resistances. It seems as if it's a bodily process. Well, gosh, hey, it is. And if I thought of poems as equations, I never woulda written one. I'm a maths phobic, sadly.

But Jen then says, about the times writing is working: "like dreams just come when you forget that you can't sleep and instead start noticing those weird little images and words that are flicking through your mind all the time regardless." And I can go with that.

I'm not normally good at sleep but I do get those times in early morning when my wakeful body finds sleep quickly, suddenly, and I have the more vivid (and weird - as in sci fi, fantastical) dreams. I'm sure some bloke or gal has run around with some kind of machine measuring brain states during (hate this word) 'creativity'.

So the idea of flow works there, not just the river idea, but of body systems. As we all know, you can't step into the same river twice, so you lose things as you go along (well, I do as my memory is a bit dicky) but in the body stuff goes around, and in my puir wee body there's a bit too much pooling and eddying (congenital lymphatic hiccup thingie). But when it's working, it's working. Which it was through these three days of non-office time. Now, is the hour of the potential impasse. Hoping to keep the systems from glueing up. I have somewhere I am heading on a deadline.

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By the way the two ekphrastic poems I read at the exhibition today were ones I've published lately on da blog.

This one I retitled Side by side. It's after a print called Osmosis by Susan Rushforth. And this one as titled is after a series called Lightpool by Salvatore Gerardi, part of which is on the SH Ervin site, the red circle on blue.

1 comment:

Meredith said...

I love your description of the poetic process Jill.