Saturday, April 01, 2023

Gaps in the oeuvre

Readers have asked me why are there such gaps in your work and well there ain't.. ;-)

I'm a little OCD and track the poems I have written - although I am behind right now, good years and bad years - you know yourself...

I am in the process of addressing this and at the least will post up a few poems for the missing years. I am very appreciative of the nudges in this regard.

An issue here is prior publication. It is often the case that one cannot submit when the poem has been previously 'published' on one's own website / blog. Whilst I can appreciate the sentiment / rationale from a publishing perspective it does seem counter indicative - one holds / hoards the 'allegedly' good poems for submission. 

Whilst the merit of a poem is totally subjective nonetheless one is contrained by the 'rule' - in my opinion. Comparing this with other creative endeavours would seem to confirm this, how might a painter sell or exhibit work without showing work?

I track when and where, the year, the title, the date, the location and well about 10 other metrics. Yeah I know, I'd be better to try and focus on poetry. (or vice versa). I only write in pencil and in longhand and only add poems to the spreadsheet after they have been transcribed into a Doc. I tend to cycle through no punctuation or some punctuation, perhaps even full punctuation. I think the cadence / the inflection one hears in the mind makes or breaks the poem, irregardless to punctuation or lack thereof.

It's not over since then the process of drafts, the bad and the ugly are easy - one leaves them alone. The good however iterate themselves. Years ago I was amazed to learn that the great Stanley Kunitz cycled through as many as a hundred drafts before he was happy. 

Back to Paul Valéry;-

"In the eyes of those lovers of perfection, a work is never finished - a word that for them has no sense - but abandoned;.."

For me it is not perfection, per se, perhaps just that one word that does not belong.  <grin>

I rate poems 1 to 5 stars and then use the spreadsheet to track submissions, when I'm in submission mode, which does fluctuate somewhat.

There is a funny / applicable anecdote here, a Basque person was talking to an Irish speaker about the various nuances of their languages and asked;-

what is the equivalent word in Irish for mañana? (tomorrow)
the Irish speaker thought for a while and said
we do not have a word that exhibits that sense of urgency

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