Friday, August 21, 2009
bread loaf, workshop five
The training wheels now come off: we've had our final workshop.
Much on tropes: We spoke of poetic conceits, staying on something and developing. We spoke of being cautious, that we might cast about for a trope: "here's another one that has implications and another one that has implications..." It's all a part of the trigger, trying to find where the poem resides. A poem that is asking the questions Who am I? I don't feel like myself is justified in the trope-casting and there is no need for a great deal of ground. EBV told us, "if there is not a purpose to the order, something has to be pulled out." One can have a qualitative progression, which comes through with the images. David Barber, a fellow in the workshop told us that we have to "own your trope." She warned us to not put the trope in a dependent position. If we have two tropes, ask yourself: What can I gain from adding a second trope that you cannot gain from the first?
She said to us: "Structure is your friend, structure is your friend, structure is your friend."
While writing: Is there something driving the poem to the end? What is stable, what is recurring?
Consider the reconciliation of opposites.
In the poem, if the narrative and lyric are competing with one another, "run your Geiger counter over it and see where the poem is charged."
And this is it. I'll have her voice in metronome in my head: figure, ground, figure, ground, and I'll probably even envision her finger wagging back and forth in time. I'll consider lineation and syntax and line endings. I'll think, again and again, of structure, the order in which the information is conveyed. Figure, ground, figure, ground. Tock, tock, tock.
who: ellen bryant voigt