In Which I Finally Talk About My Own Work

Clearly this is not my own work.  It belongs to Peanuts Comics. 

I made a few ground rules for myself when I started this blog over two years ago.  Contrary to other poetry blogs which I have seen (and greatly enjoyed) I decided not to post any of my own work on here.  That decision is based on two things:

1) Many places will not publish poems that appear on the internet, even if it is a private blog.

2) I am a slow writer and an obsessive compulsive revisionist.  To post my work, I would have to get it “just right” and that never happens.

All perfectionism and publication hunger aside, I am always less interested in talking about my own work as a poet than talking about someone else’s work.  I love talking about writing and poetry so long as it isn’t my own.  I don’t know why this is, but unless I am speaking to another working poet, I assume that most people could care less about how something gets onto a page.  I imagine my writing process to be painful to hear for nonwriters in the same way it is painful for me to listen to my friends talk about software engineering.  Please stop.  Oh god, please stop talking.  

This isn’t to say that I am not a self-promoter.  I willingly admit that I tell you where you can find my poems or me reading my poems all the time.  If we are friends on Facebook, you have probably been spammed by me saying “Check out my poems in X_LITERARY_REVIEW!”  To be a working poet means to also be a poet who gets his work out there and lets people know where to find it.

So, graduate school is done for the academic year.  All the papers are written.  All of the poems are revised.  Everything has been handed in.  I am going to take a break this summer.  I don’t know exactly what that means yet, but I need a serious break from the breakneck pace of read, write, revise, repeat!

I decided that for the first part of my summer break, I would focus on five or six poems that I have written over the course of the past two years.  Although they were written at different times and under different circumstances, I feel that there is something the connects them all.  A nonfiction teacher here would call it one of my “core narratives.”  Simply put, I am saying something in these poems, but I am unsure of what.  I want to investigate this vein more deeply.

I have picked out six or eight books centered around the genesis of these poems to help me along the way; they are a good mix of memoir, biography, fiction and poetry.  With any luck, I should come out the other side of all of this with new material for the fall.  But, I am expecting that like all writing plans, this too shall go terribly awry from my vision of it and “do its own thing.”

So enough from me for now.  I am headed back to the coast for the summer.  I hope to read my poems in a few places as well.  Stay tuned!

Posted in about poetry, core narrative, moving, revision, taking a break, the writing life, writing process.

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