Friday, March 16, 2007

The New Stuff

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I went out Tuesday night with friends for cheap Tex-Mex and then drinks. It was nice, just being able to sit and laugh and stuff my face with people whose company I enjoy. It was a needed break because this looks to be one of my productive weeks and I had been living inside my own head too much. I won't complain because I feel awfully productive: three new poems in various stages and a couple of packets ready to go out into the world.

The new work is at that stage where I'm not sure--I love it intensely one day and think it's derivative hackery the next. This will pass. I'm letting them sit for a while until I can look at them with some remove.

That feeling nags at me though. Bits of our conversations over drinks about art and poetry and creativity in general have made me think about the danger of influence and the limits of vision. The way that developing style and voice can slip into mannerism--cf the first section of Philip Levine's Don't Ask--which is something I try to avoid. I don't want to write the same poems with the same tone over and over and over. There are stylistic tics that sometimes can't be easily undone or evaded. I don't want to be overly reliant on what I do well but fighting that and reforming that... is the exact sort of glorious uncertainty I'm at right now. The poems are different tonally. They're a little gentler, a little more lyric. But they still feel like me.

Ambition though, for what I want/expect/need from and for the new poems (maybe not these three exactly, but future poems), is growing.

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