HOUSECLEANING -- A PATH TO POETRY
I LOVE ART and of course appreciate living with art. To keep track of the progression of artists whose works enliven our living space, I keep art files. Basically, anything related to the artists' works -- from exhibition announcements to correspondences (love hearing from artists) to media -- gets filed.
That is, they're supposed to be filed. Instead, for the past five years, I've tossed these bits of info onto a windowsill in the library, intending to file them. Well, this week, the files are updated, courtesy of Michael. I needed to give him a chore and thought filing also would give him an excuse to read and learn about other artists.
What I discovered, though, in going through the five-years-plus information piled up on the windowsill were some old poems whose existence I'd forgotten. I occasionally stumble across old poems in various nooks and crannies, and this sheaf of three were, I realized, poems from a stay at MacDowell years ago. So I read them -- which was interesting because after several years of separation I could read the poems as a reader and not their author. What a relief to discover that I loved "Opera For William Carlos Williams," a long poem about the sexual lives of visual artists; its epigraph -- and may it amuse you as much as it must have amused, and still amuses, Moi -- is
"the derivation of the adjective venereal is from Venus!...I was stunned!"
--Dr. William Carlos Williams
Not only that, it's a long poem -- 216 couplets! I immediately thought it'd make a neat chap! Interestingly, one line was from what my notes say was a breakfast conversation with then co-resident Lucy Grealy!
I also discovered a 22-part poem, except the first three parts are missing; I don't yet know what to do about the missing parts. I might do a "Dave Brubeck" on it, in terms of how he ended up composing/finishing "The Time of Our Madness".
The third poem was a silly one-pager about martial arts and I must have thought it also unsatisfactory at the time I wrote it as I hadn't bothered to transcribe it yet from handwriting.
Still, this is a pretty good haul to discover -- I often wonder what's lurking within moi voluminous files. In any case, perhaps I should clean house more often!