I woke up thinking about a buddy of mine. She writes at least one poem a day, with no discernible whining. She’d been using sestinas, but lately has moved to villanelles. She grabs her end-words from the world around her (kind of like how I grab my blog ideas), settles in, and makes a poem. Check!
Offhand I don’t recall the last time I wrote a poem. This is likely not a surprise to you, since I essentially stopped even blogging for weeks. My poem-making has been mood-driven, anyway, where my blogging has been more disciplined. Like my friend’s poems.
Mulling this, I noticed that my friend begins with a framework and then fills in the spaces. She doesn’t have to have a topic to start with; the topic finds her. Like I have “500 prose-words.”
Mulling further — when I was in my early 20s and deeply struggling, I had the framework of a Day: prepare self for work, arrive at the office, complete the tasks at hand, go home. The framework stood outside my roiling feelings: some days I barely hauled myself into clothes, some days the tasks at hand were breathtakingly tedious, but the only thing that mattered was the frame. Feelings did not define my days, actions did. In action, over time, my feelings caught up to them and filled in the framework.
I have historically loathed making formally-structured poems. Rhyme is not a talent of mine; my sense of word-meter is rhythmically esoteric; it’s all trying to roll a 6′ rock uphill, and who wants to do that?
But I firmly believe in the power that forms hold for us when we are squishy and unformed. Power to draw us into their formed strength; power to hold us firmly until we solidify and choose to step outside of them.
I’m going to consider giving forms a chance.