As many friends know, I love poetry. It fuels me and gives me inspiration and energy. But I generally don’t write poetry; I read other people’s poems, and memorize my favorite ones. I don’t write poetry because it is a fine art, a serious craft, and to come to it requires diligence, patience, intensity. Who wants to write a bad poem? It’s worth the effort to write a good poem – but it’s a lot of work. So given my respect for the craft, and the effort involved, I don’t write poems.

That’s not to say I don’t want to write poems; I just don’t want to write bad poems. There’s enough bad poetry in the world – more than enough. But I’m also an insomniac, and I am sometimes prone to wake in the middle of the night and what else is there to do but write a poem? More often than not an intense dream has driven me to awake suddenly, with a stark awareness of the night, and that’s a place where many of the few poems I have written have been born.

My desire to write excellent poems constricts me; it prevents me from writing too many poems, and it prevents me from publishing (or seeking publication) of most of my poems. Something has changed for me today; I found this bit of a poem I had written some time ago and felt the impulse to publish it on I am also constricted by the intimacy of my poems; given that my dreams provide the raw wood for most of my poems, and my dreams tend toward the intense and intimate, I’m further reluctant to share them publicly. There is the dark stuff, taken from the depths of the subconscious, and although it may be hard to make sense of, it has power and it is intimate and revealing in oblique ways.

Despite all that, I’ve published this poem and maybe that’s the small opening required to publish more – and more importantly, to write better poems.

One Response to “Craft”

  1. Constraints Says:

    […] quote came to mind when I wrote my earlier post on “Craft”, because I was writing about the constraints around producing something really good. Excellence has […]

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