Fellow blogger and poet, J.lynn Sheridan, recently wondered if poets make goals.
I know she knows the answer is: Yes, yes we do. Even though we might, for the sake of our sanity, hold these goals loosely in our hands the same way we hold form loosely when composing poetry, so that both serve, and neither one turns us into their slaves. We don’t want an established form or a niggling question to restrict us when the creative juices pour onto the page. (More on juicing and revision in future posts.)
I’m delighted J.lynn has provoked me and her readers into thinking about the ways we challenge and develop our art. (You can find her blog, and questions, here.) She made an extensive list of basic questions that challenge us. Any question is food for the hungry dogs of poetry but the self made poet sometimes rejects them as unbefitting a “poets” life. Yet, if the cocksure poet sitting at a trendy cafe, sipping latte, can remove their tilted cap and don something other than black turtlenecks, they may have a chance to use such questions as a way to prod and cajole themselves toward generating interesting and significant art. Assuming you are not a vegetable, several of these questions should spur you on to more thoughtfulness in our writing life. Thank you J.lynn for bringing some tough love from your bright sun.
Scanning J.lynn’s questions I realized three things right away. One, that considering any one of these could burn up a fair amount wood inside my cranium, and two, I could use a reality check, and three, the questions could be used as prompts for blog posts. Seeing that I neglected my blog for nearly a year now, I decided to burn a few sticks of woody thought on, say, one of her questions each month. It would be a fine way of inquiring, expressing, and sharing the current shape of my writing life.
Next post: Can anything good come from looking in the rear view mirror?