I am first and foremost a poet.
But this also makes me a memoirist.
Not all poets write their own stories in their work, but often I do, making the leap to actual memoir a pretty manageable one. November is one of those dreaded months for a writer, where there is all this obligation: what will I write? How will this matter in the long run… and the big question:
Is it better to write something poor quickly or write something rich over a longer span of time.
And again, I am a poet. So the thought of 50,000 words extinguishes me. At the library where I work, we are doing a small outreach program to welcome writers and I thought it would be valuable to participate and reach writers through that avenue. But again… is it worth the time.
For many of us in school (getting our masters) this is crunch time for projects and catching up on readings. For this reason I was never really involved before. For those of us with family it is turkey time, and who has extra hours when there’s baking to be done?
So I’ll write a novel… or half of a novel… with this in mind.
50,000 words is their goal, not mine. The NaNoWriMo challenge is made for novelists who want to write mysteries and thrillers; romance novels and sci-fi. For those of us in different genres, there are other constraints on what we can and cannot accomplish.
My memoir may only be 40K words, and that’s OK with me.
The important part is writing, community, inspiration and deadline. I want to write every day, but there’s so much good television on Netflix… maybe I need something like this to break the ice on this “writer’s block” – and maybe I’ll get 2 days in and think: no, I am a slow-burn kind of writer.
I won’t know unless I try!
To those of you writing: Best of luck. To those of you choosing to abstain: May your long-term projects be the fruit of your lives.
For now, I’m just getting my feet wet with longer-forms… I’ll keep you posted!
I get asked all the time why poetry.
Like it was a choice, or I had some conscious investment in the matter.
The fact is, poetry chose me. It was the way in which I was able to express myself best when common phrases were fleeting. I have found poetry to be a hyperbole of two-tongued thoughts.
If I am pressed to make an argument for poetry it is this:
Poetry presents a certain duality meant to foster opportunities for connection and personal growth in a way other on-the-nose writing styles fail to offer.
With poetry we can both shelter and reveal.
Poetry is body language of the soul, bending and coiling around a truth that is both simple and profound.
Poetry is a love letter to the parts of us that are extinguished and not yet formed.
Poetry is a timely absolute, a human extract, distilled and reduced to its lowest common denominator, which all can digest but few can conquer.
Poetry is a flash of joy – caned and labeled – to be taken at the first sign of melancholy.
Poetry is the shortest distance between two people or two episodes in time.
Poetry is nonsense.
Poetry is conflict without happenstance.
My stance on poetry has always been an emphasis on words rather than works. The words drive the motion of human empathy, not the poet and certainly not the poetic persona. It was with that in mind that I sign all my poems ECW, rather than my full name. In a sense the initials represented a version of anonymous that I could use to separate the words, my poems, from the works, my ego. In doing so I felt I granted them a sense of freedom from myself, an otherwise fatally young unpublished novice of the trade.
It has been almost a year since I granted this site its own domain name, a stray burst of ego I felt the poems deserved. I retired the original “ACallToVerse” blog in favor of a more extemporaneous name, a name that would be effortless and rooted in value. The change paid off. I went from 13 followers (many of them duplicate emails and ex-boyfriends) to over 100 friends and strangers, many of you poets and artists yourselves. The great joy of your company has both inspired me to write with more gusto and attend to the website with more care. Without you I would be simply a quiet light in a bright city.
I told myself I would need to write an ‘About the Author’ page on the once I got 100 followers. I now have over 100 and I have procrastinated and waited to find the right words. So while I endeavor to craft some kind of personal statement, I first wanted to say thanks for reading. Your participation in this site has given me hope for the present and future of poetry, and for that I am eternally, digitally grateful.
About the Author Page coming soon.
Until then, here’s a picture of me in a teacup. (My fiancé and I just had a whirlwind day-trip to Disneyland)
(I’m all squinty, it was rather sunny)
I am pleased to announce the launch of our official website: Noble / Gas Qtrly, coinciding with the start-gun of our premier competition: Natural Selection.
Fight in the first competition of Noble / Gas Qtrly, Natural Selection, where your poetry or prose will face off against other submissions for a chance at victory. At long last your work may reign supreme.
The site is now officially open so please join us for the first round of submissions and let the battle begin!
If you have any questions or comments leave your two cents below and I will get back to you with all the details I know. The first issue is set to rumble through in October, so ready your helmets; it’s going to be one hell of a safari!
Noble / Gas Qtrly Poetry Editor
Here is another example of a poem that maybe needs some sleep. I am not sure how it got into this list (i’m not super organized) but find it to be below my current standard of writing for my collection.
See a previously retired poem here – Poem 27 Retired
So let’s talk a little about this poem. Poem 51, written about my favorite tree at JMU was placed on the filler page at the end of a book I was pretending to read for some feminism class, but was more a distraction than an art piece. The best thing to do is grab lines that work well as just lines and keep them for later. You can see with the +’s and -‘s that those lines stand out starkly against the rather flat repetition.
Retiring is important. It signals a poem is no longer a strong piece of your collection and designates an offical action for it that you make within your lifetime. Don’t let lingering poems happen to you! For more on that idea see Poem 27 Retired, and I’ll give you my whole shbiel.
For this poem, the reason is simple. With over 130 poems to look after, there’s no reason to keep this one alive if there realy is nothing going on, no big picture. Sure, an argument could be made for a simple childhood expose, or some kind of success imagery, or betterment, or togetherness, but it’s pretty flat, so why not take the best few lines and make something dazzling.
There’s nothing wrong with giving a poem it’s getaway, and it makes you a stronger writer for knowng when to let it go. Always look for ways to make poems better, but if you are holding on to a few lines, or maybe just a good idea, cut your strings and save it for another day, it might suprise you how lovely those pieces sound in some other poem.
Poem 51 Original