Last week, I felt a desire to finish two poems that had been in the draft folder for more than a year. Finishing these two poems allowed me to let go and move on (hopefully into more poetry writing).
One poem is about my experiences of working as a pharmacy technician and the other about how thoughts can keep me awake at night and how they sometimes become louder than the sounds coming from the world. They’re written in a stream-of-consciousness style.
Polishing & Submitting
These poems were inspired by a poem I’ve mentioned quite a bit on this blog: Louise Gluck’s “October”. Gluck uses the questioning technique throughout it. The two poems that I wrote also use questioning. I’d stacked a lot of questions, and I decided to connect the questions with commas, so that there’s only one question mark until the end of the poem. I did this after reading advice from an editor who said that connecting all of the questions with only one question mark would have a better effect.
Blogging has taught me so many lessons (I’m hoping to post about this soon), and one of them was a renewed confidence in my writing which seems to also be impacting my poetry writing. I’m starting to feel okay about writing bad poems again in hopes that with showing up, polished poems begin to form.
When I revise and edit poems, I usually record myself. I listen to the recordings to find the lines that I want to edit or revise. I worked on them last week, and the results were poems that feel as polished as they’re going to get.
After the polishing, I decided that it was time to submit them to literary journals. These poems don’t feel mine anymore, and I have faith that they will find a home. After submitting what felt like a million job applications in the past two weeks, submitting the poems felt like a much easier process. The submission process usually calls for a short cover letter and a bio in addition to the pieces one submits.
I’m finally finding some things that link the small collection of polished poems that I’ve accumulated so far. For one, I seem to be addressing specific people or groups of people in my life. One poem is addressed to my father, the other to my mother, and another to my students. I’m not surprised to find that I’ve been writing letter poems. I have always been the quiet one, better with words on paper, and I show my love better through actions than through physical touch.
When I go from poet to analyzer of my writing, I see that the poems are not poems. They are letters from the heart. Some of them include emotions that I still don’t feel capable of expressing in the real world.
Some of the poems are also full of questions that at one point I felt that I didn’t have the answers to. To a certain extent, I still don’t. Maybe in letting go of the poems, I’m letting go of the questions and accepting the questions without the need for answers.
Friday, March 29, 2019