Thursday, October 31, 2013

The double surface

Love this quote on poetic process and effect by Catherine Meng, from The Conversant (emphases mine):

While writing Eclipse, I spent a lot of time thinking about genre, and about how to write a poem that could feel like prose but have moments where it would bloom out/balloon in/shift from past to present. I was fixated on the idea of wormholes, and I was trying to actually write them into the poems—the bookcase that lo and behold is actually a door that leads to a secret passage. Is there a way to actually move through space in a poem?
[...] I was interested in the moment when the poem becomes a double surface of sorts, when there is a slippage in the words so you end up, without noticing the transition/transmutation, on the other side of the glass. I was interested in this happening to the reader of the poem and the writer of the poem at the same time. Is there a way to live-tweet the slippage? To write about the making of the poem while you are making the poem? [...] Many of the links that happen are a surprise to me; the secret passage way reveals itself, and you write into it and hopefully end up somewhere more interesting, but sometimes you end up exactly where you started. I think I say something about “round and round we do this without ever starting or ending the poem.” I sometimes get very dramatic about the futility of it all (an “I can’t go on, I’ll go on” type of thing), especially when I get involved in concept projects like this. There were days when I was just bloody sick of writing and sick of my own writing, but slog slog slog, you just keep writing in hopes that one of the bookcases will be false.

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