Thursday, March 01, 2012


What does it mean when one -- Moi -- says I don't write poems to say something but to have the words speak on their own behalf? (I was asked, and service-provider Moi now ripostes...) Well, let Moi explain by example: Here's a couplet from a poem I was editing (from the manuscript Reproductions of the Reproductions of the Empty):
I earned the moments
I made my mother cry

That couplet (partly) reflects authorial intention -- I was thinking of saying something specific that led to that couplet. In the final draft, I changed the couplet to
You earned the moments
I made my mother cry

I changed that first word because I thought the change from "I" to "You" not only brought in the reader but made the couplet more mysterious and thus, in this case, more powerful. (You may think I'm full of beans but the point here is my thinking-during-the-writing-process, okay?) So while the change to "You" didn't capture authorial intent (I certainly have no clue as to what this new couplet means), in my opinion its mystery made the poem more effective.

The approach also reflects what I mean when I say about certain poems -- I'm not writing them so much as sculpting them or collaging them together because words, like Poetry, already exists around us and my job is simply to see them into manifestation, versus imagine something into existence. (The idea of further explicating this suddenly exhausts, so I'll leave more for another day.)

Anyway, thank YOU (who know you are) for asking. I'm happy to provide this Service Announcement Du Jour.

Labels: ,