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  #21  
Old 07-14-2018, 02:58 PM
Patrick Murtha Patrick Murtha is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jayne Osborn View Post
Whilst you guys have humor and we have humour (for some reason!), we're totally agreed on humorous, because ''humourous" doesn't even exist!!

Jayne
Jayne,

You caught me trying to be a smart aleck.

It's the French influence, I believe, that has given you the "ou" back when French was stylish and Paris the capital of fashion. I read it somewhere, but I can't recall where--ain't that convenient!

Manalive! The amount of writing some of you do--makes me wonder, and feel like the golden retriever who got beat by the hare, like the fellow who sprints the first fifty yards of a marathon than strolls the rest and arrives at the end just as the stars begin to erupt in the heavens, long after everyone has left. The street, you can imagine, is strewn with paper, water bottles, and crumpled numbers. The only thing left to do is to saunter over to a pub for beer and a sandwich.

Sincerely,
PM
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  #22  
Old 07-14-2018, 03:08 PM
John Isbell John Isbell is offline
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Hi Michael,

Since you ask: yes, I do also obsessively reread and revise, down to the semicolon, and delete poems from MSS. Gombrich distinguishes medieval painting, which involved, to simplify him, drawing a perfect unicorn in a single draft, from Renaissance painting, which involved endlessly redrafting the seen rather than perfectly representing the ideal. There's a photo of Picasso drawing a perfect centaur in midair with a flashlight in a darkened room. I am much more like the Renaissance painter there.
What I post on the Sphere varies in age. My last posted poem, "Things with Mike," was written in 2012, but when traveling (like now), I do often post new work, which is more to hand. Otherwise, it's generally stuff from my MSS, which go back mostly through 2012, though some things date back to 1982, when I was much younger.
A thesaurus and the OED are precious to me. I don't rhyme much, so don't use a rhyming dictionary. It may be time, as Mme de Stael said after Corinne, to invest in one.
There's that Wilbur quote that what's hard is not the writing but the thinking. I am in complete agreement with him. I started writing a poem a day after reading about a poet who wrote a sonnet a day for a year; a task I would find impossible, not to say arid.
My only experience of a serious workshop, prior to the Sphere, was the Iowa Creative Writers Workshop in 2017. That may be why I am continually amazed at the cuts and splices suggested on the Sphere to work I've gone over many times, over weeks or years, and think finished (i.e., I've whittled them down to tinkering with commas). Which I guess is an answer to your question. I would love to have another pair of eyes when rereading my work, but sadly do not.
A final note that lingers with me is Frost's old remark that writing unrhymed verse is like playing tennis without a net. To write like Frost or Wilbur is, I think, very difficult indeed.
FWIW, since 2016, my MSS seem to make semifinals or finals in MS. prize competitions a few times a year. Maybe I should stop announcing my process in the blurb section, it may be self-defeating. But that doesn't mean I'll stop doing what I can to improve my craft.
Oh - I've published my share of books over the years. They are in prose.

Cheers, and thanks for the question,
John
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  #23  
Old 07-14-2018, 04:00 PM
James Brancheau James Brancheau is offline
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Been involved in resurrecting some grad school poems. Where the kernel is great, the execution, not so much. I'm more of the thinking that you learn from the poem, and that takes more or less time. Poetry is an act of discovery, and that's unpredictable. Thank god
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  #24  
Old 07-14-2018, 04:30 PM
Andrew Szilvasy Andrew Szilvasy is offline
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I'll add to my note, since I neglected something. I don't write everyday, but I read poetry everyday. And a lot of it. There's not better teacher, there's no better muse. And every book of poetry I'm enjoying is strewn with the scraps of verse that may become something more complete, but often go back to my library.

Justin, if you're still following the thread, I don't mean to be patronizing, but nothing is better than finding contemporary (or, in some ways, better, poets from the 1970s and 1980s) that you enjoy. They can inspire and provoke you to new expressions. That's not to say you should forget your Dowsons, necessarily. But if you think there are no good poets then or now, it's because you haven't looked very hard.

Reading it the mother of writing.
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  #25  
Old 07-15-2018, 06:08 AM
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Michael Ferris Michael Ferris is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Susan McLean View Post
I don't believe in magic. I believe in putting in time in a chair at a desk for 1-4 hours most days
I donít think they are mutually exclusive. Someone Ė I think it was Frost or Yeats or Auden Ė said something to the effect that the Muse will only come to take tea with us if we set a place for her. In other words, if you donít sit down to write, youíll never write anything inspired.

'Magic' is a rough word. But the really great metaphor, the unique rhyme, the keen insight, the intuition Ė where do they come from? I donít think we know. Thus we call it Ďthe Museí.

Slightly OT, but I recently read Philip Glassís delightful autobiography Word Without Music. He opens the book asking himself the question ĎWhere does music come from?í He never answers it.
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  #26  
Old 07-15-2018, 08:09 AM
Jim Moonan Jim Moonan is offline
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Michael F. -- 'Magic' is a rough word. But the really great metaphor, the unique rhyme, the keen insight, the intuition Ė where do they come from? I donít think we know.

From the imagination, which I believe is where the muse resides, wherever that is. I think it's more alchemy than magic. In fact, it's magic only in the respect that we don't know for certain how it happens. But there is no trickery. You can feel it arriving out of thin air on a slight breeze.
x
It makes me wonder... if we were to examine our writing behavior would we find that we all have writing habits and that what appears to be undisciplined/random writing activity is actually more predictable than it seems. It so often seems to come down to early morning and late at night. The gray hours.

But then again, it's all the time....
x

Last edited by Jim Moonan; 07-15-2018 at 08:15 AM.
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  #27  
Old 07-15-2018, 09:26 AM
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Michael Ferris Michael Ferris is offline
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Hmmm, that is nicely said, Jim.
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  #28  
Old 07-15-2018, 05:14 PM
Justin Goodlow Justin Goodlow is offline
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Originally Posted by James Brancheau View Post
You have 12 going at the same time, Michael? My god. When I was younger, I'd get obsessed with one and put my head through a wall trying to work it out. I do think valuable advice about habits would include having a handful going on at the same time. Working on one can unstuck another. Now I just have 3, but I think it's good to bounce from one to the other.

This is a habit I would like to develop. I usually work on one poem at a time over a period of at least a week, with the exception of lyrical spurts which usually get done in a session or two. I like to edit as go along writing (my philosophy behind this is that one cannot continue building a tower with a shoddy base). However, as evidenced by the feedback I have received here, the disadvantage of this is myopia. Its more difficult to distance yourself from poems when you nurse them like children. I'd like to be more like Horace, who I think remarked, put each of his poems aside for a year (I wouldn't do that long, though).

I have read a few of Richard Moore's (the formalist) poems which I have very much enjoyed, especially a stunning sonnet sequence of his I read recently. I also like the Australian Stephen Edgar, though I have only read one or two of his poems. Any you recommend?
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  #29  
Old 07-15-2018, 07:37 PM
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Catherine Chandler Catherine Chandler is offline
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Justin,
I see you have mentioned Stephen Edgar. His early work was OK but his last three books are outstanding. I believe there are only perhaps a handful of living formalists as talented.

As for the question posed by the thread, I don't have a specific time of day to write, but I do need total peace and quiet. I never thought I'd come to this, but I've given up my paper and purple gel pens and now write and revise (and I do a LOT of revising ) directly on my laptop. As for "output" -- it seems to be either feast or famine. I simply cannot wrap my head around the concept of a poem-a-day! Not even for National Poetry Month! I cannot work on more than one poem at a time except if one is mine and another is a translation.
I could not complete a poem to my satisfaction without my thesaurus, etymological dictionary and rhyming dictionary.
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  #30  
Old 07-19-2018, 11:52 AM
A. Sterling A. Sterling is offline
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Poetry routines are something thatís been on my mind lately since Iíd been concentrating so much on other kinds of writing for a whileócreative nonfiction, I guess you could call itóthat it was only every other week or so I found time for poetry. And itís always a bit of a zero-sum game since I do my best work in coffee shops no matter what Iím writing, and I havenít actually found a way to live in one yet.

I start by writing in my journal or reading poetry or some combination thereof and then move on to poetry. I might stay for two or three hours in all, and I make sure that Iím giving it my time and attention while I'm there even if nothing comes out of it. If I think Iím onto something good and itís getting late, I might move on to a bar.

In general, though, Iíd say that having a specific place to write with the sort of atmosphere that helps you focus is helpful. You get all the advantages of a routine without actually having to set one. Iím still searching for the perfect place in my current area, though. I had one in a city where I used to live that was perfectóI had a chance to visit it again last year, and I swear it was like the ideas for poems were already there waiting for me. Guess I've just got to keep on looking.
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