Saturday, January 29, 2011

Stream of Consciousness

Do I need a course in Poetry 101? I’m frustrated. I’m old. Already this is sounding like a poem. I didn’t mean it sorry. What I mean is that I’ve been literally (see) churning out this “poetry” since I found “The River of Stones”. Everything has been turning into poetry! I’m serious; of course that’s pretty obvious when I read what comes out of my head. As I write now I am deliberately writing quickly, sticking with the first words that pop into my head.

But I’m frustrated. I called my “Code” poem an ode having no clue what the technical meaning of an ode was. I looked it up in my old (1961) dictionary and on Wikipedia of course (ha---as a course) ---See! This is what is happening---play on words. Play is good, a serious business for me I guess. Anyway, Wikipedia immediately trips me up with "Ode (from the Ancient Greek ὠδή) is a type of lyrical verse. A classic ode is structured in three major parts: the strophe, the antistrophe, and the epode---", ok, go there--- Whoa, wait a minute, my head is already starting to tighten and ache. At which point I started this questioning, a little depressed, throwing in the “you’re too old for this” stuff. So I’m letting it all flow out into this piece of prose.

It is helpful. For a few minutes I let go of the maddening tendency to say it just right or not at all ---hide unless perfect---perfectionist tendencies. (A lie occurred; I fixed perfectionistic). Point is though do I want to study poetry at the age of 66? And if I want to look further into whether I do want to do that where will I start. I’m too much of a snob to buy poetry for dummies; I tried it once when I taught myself Front-page to create a website; I won’t enroll in another college course. I’m basically a hermit. I am enjoying “The River of Stones” exercise, surprised at what is in my head. Wow, it is really a great discipline to just say what I am thinking as it comes into my mind here in this now too long piece.

So, I’ll fulfill the stones project and figure it out from there. While doing this I have worked on my “novel” very little, believing I have to immerse myself in those thoughts/that world, to make a story come together in a whole. Is there a whole? What is the definition of whole? Clearly---obviously I mean cloudily---that is the question. 


  1. Robert Frost said 'to be a poet is a condition not a profession.' The way you describe things sounds like you've got that 'condition!' Why study - why not just read lots of good poetry, enjoy and continue to write your own? Your novel too of course - there will be room for both.

  2. Thanks Avril. I listened to the podcast of The Writing Game with Wendy Robertson. The poet who spoke about basing much of her work on Horace sent me to my old school anthology, in repose right here beside me on the bookshelf, to read him again after 48 years. One of four included poems is Mortality---of course, why not. AND, it is an ODE--- Horace: Poetry 101.
    Love your comments.