Saturday, March 03, 2007


JH: Procedure fascinates me, too. Is the specific procedural idea, "idea" for lack of a better word, the poem, or is the procedure the poem? If something other than the written product is the poem, what is the written product called? What does it mean to return to previously written procedure? I wrote the first GRANDUNCLES OF THE CATTLETRADE in February 2005, and wrote a second one a couple of days later. The third GRANDUNCLES OF THE CATTLETRADE wasn't written until July 2006. I've written them fairly steadily since then (36 to date). How does one decide to return to a procedure, or, in the case of revision, a non-procedural poem? We have earlier spoken of series - is a series a revisiting? How much time must go by before continuity is revisiting? On the page a ten-year break between cantos or a line is indistinguishable from instantaneity. Is there a difference between continuity and revisiting? How well does an occasion travel? When you write, what in the non-writer must stop in order for the writer to begin? By write, I mean any kind of writing that is not a conversion of speech into print. Do you get stage fright before you write (this is opposed to what is known as "writer's block", which is an inability to write)? Is the poet ("poet" defined here as what causes a person to write, from start to finish, when a poem is to be written) altered by this oscillation from writer to non-writer? Does a person have memories of being a poet, as he or she has of being a person? Is one ever a poet when not writing - how would one know? There is an occasion of being a person, and there is an occasion of being a poet - how well does one occasion travel to the other occasion? It is likely that the person carries over to the poet; is there a vice-versa of the poet carrying over to the person? If so, how would the poet manifest itself in the person - only in writing, or in occasions of non-writing?

AHB: pick a question to answer. It does seem part of a poem that one used particular procedures to produce the text rather than “made it up”. And yet, the reader hadn't ought to belabour the idea of a trick. It doesn't matter to me whether an angel or muse gave me a poem, or that I used a procedure or program. I remember discussion about August Highland's work, which is produced (at least some of it) using programs that he did not write. Someone wondered if the programmer should be considered the author. Well, should the programmer be granted credit for writing the program, or should the person who created the computer? Argh! I credit the one who says they are making a poem. The point is that any work receives tributaries from many directions. Works of art seem like instants, yet they are created in time. My own poem, Days Poem (soon to be published, Meritage Press) continually refers to hobos, Tarzan & Jane, bears, Walden Pond, Fu Manchu, and so on: all as what I would call characters. The collaboration that you and I have been doing—for how many years now????—relies similarly on re-referencing of similar characters. I think in both cases a revelation or evolution is witnessed. That witnessing presses the writing forward. Poems are occasions. To write, one must accept the occasion. When I am busy or distracted, the occasion is elsewhere. I can write for short spells, 5 minutes say, and feel productive, yet I need some writing focus to start things. I used to write much more than I do now. I feel as much a writer and poet now, tho I write less. I don't meet with poets often, and when I do, the occasion is not necessarily marked by a lot of poetry talk. Yet these occasions fuel me as a poet. Tho in these circs, perhaps I am poet only in name tag. Certainly I see things thru the prism of poet, and whatever I do could influence my writing of poetry, but I guess I am not consumed by it all. I used to run 2-3 hours a day, and in a way I was a runner the entire day, because I'd be hungry and thirsty all the time, plus I'd always carry this energized weariness with me from, I suppose, the endorphin release. Mayhap something similar occurs as a poet.


Post a Comment

<< Home