Friday, April 23, 2010

Knowing & Not Knowing Excercise

The following excercise and resulting poem came from A Poet's Companion. I recently had to repurchase it after it was viciously taken from me during boot camp reception. I plan to utilize it a lot this upcoming week for the sake of producing a lot of poetry before the end of Poetry Month, especially since I haven't done much writing this month. And I call myself a writer. I'm rather shamed actually. But nontheless, it's one of the best sources for writing and technique development that I've come across since I began writing seriously.

One of the authors, Kim Addonizio, has become a muse for me. I find her not only talented but from her work I get the feeling that she herself is an interesting person. As Wendy Williams would say, Kim Addonizio is a friend in my head. Her work deals with relationships in unconventional language and challenges the reader to essentially not be taken-aback or offended by the language of her work. Particularly good examples of this are "Washing" and "First Kiss" from her first collection of poems, What is This Thing Called Love? I took the title and decided to make it the jump-off for the following excercise. So far the excercise has done it's part; that is, gotten me to open a pathway to something, though as of right now this is merely a first draft.

Begin a poem with a question word: Who, what, where, when, why, how. Ask a big question about life, and then try to answer it from your own experience.

"Every good poem asks a question, and every good poet asks every question. No one can call herself a poet unless she questions her ideas, ethics, and beliefs. And no one can call himself a poet unless he allows the self to enter into the world of discovery and imagination. When we don't have direct experience to guide us, we always have our imagination as a bridge to knowledge."

--Addonizio & Laux

"Good writing works from a simple premise: your experience is not yours alone, but in some sense a metaphor for everyone's."

--Addonizio & Laux


How will I know I'm ready
to love? Will the lavender of new cherry blossoms
appear more vibrant, or seem ecstatic,
bursting to white flurries when I discover
the sudden tartness of love? I know kisses -- all
sorts. I know sex, bodies displaced in a bed
of tawdry passion but love --
(but) love is another thing. an
experience as old as the grooves in the palms;
yet still so far, as foreign as where my soul
lies, its core empty and graying...

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