Showing posts with label limits. Show all posts
Showing posts with label limits. Show all posts

Monday, April 23, 2012

I'm Obviously the Only Person to Ever Be This Busy!

Consumed? Walloped? Sandstormed?

I saw it coming. April, that is. I should have remembered from last year with teaching and grad school, but the public schools in Pennsylvania don't finish until June, so when I found out my schools were finishing May 25th I started to hustle. With end of the school year preparations, chapbook finalizations, a handful of new projects, both paid and volunteer, poem-a-day, plus the Weave hiatus (which was supposed to give me time to work on new things) -- well, you know. Sandstormed.

I'm sure you're all just as busy, whether it's paper-grading, kid-raising, or 9-to-5-ing. However, I tend to underestimate my hard work, since I do a lot of it sitting down. Somehow, in the last week, despite feeling like poo on Friday and Saturday, I accomplished the following while still remembering to eat and sleep:

  • Prep for five classes (though it was mostly done the week before)
  • Taught five poetry classes
  • Graded and typed student poems for five classes
  • Read a chapbook and wrote a chapbook review
  • Went to two meetings
  • Posted and promoted Weave's new staff opps
  • Made final edits to my chapbook
  • Took back cover photo (way more time-consuming than it should be)
  • Organized files to mail to publisher
  • Wrote a fundraising proposal (yowza)
  • Wrote six poems
  • Wrote introductions for workbook project
  • Developed two illustrated pages for workbook project
  • Spent at least five hours on student anthologies
  • Updated my monthly personal finances
  • Kept up with Weave's social networks
  • Watched Finding Nemo with Sal
That last one is there because it's a big deal. I've been wanting to watch that movie with Sal since we met over three years ago. He'd never seen it! (*gasp!*) It was a nice break cuddling with him on Saturday for some movie time. Plus, it reminded me of a helpful mantra: just keep swimmingjust keep swimming.


Thursday, February 18, 2010

What are your boundaries?

This week I was told you can't write poetry about valentine's day. Also, the Titantic.

I don't like boundaries in poetry.

In theory, the whole universe is up for grabs, all of the galaxies and supernovas and black holes.
But in reality there are boundaries. In each culture there are topics that just can't be taken seriously in a poem. Some stories or words or events carry too much baggage.

I know this as an editor. I see a lot of poems about certain universal topics like 9/11 or divorce poems. Another common topics was the death of a grandparent. It seems that these universal experiences sometimes cross over into an area of sentimentality and the poem no longer works. I often got annoyed by people who wrote dead grandparent poems.

Until my grandfather died and I wrote one too.

I get irritated at the thought that people must write about pain or conflict. I think this is false. It's tension. I like to think that as poets, we can locate tension even when you think there isn't any. When I think about my grandfather, I think about having a person who loved me unconditionally. There really was nothing dark about our relationship. No pain, except in losing him to illness and old age. He had other sides to him I'm sure, but I didn't know those sides. I was always young to him and I knew that and it was okay. It wasn't just him. I was a part of it too, not knowing how to be an adult with him. But does that mean I have to invent some kind of pain or dark side of him in order for a poem to be successful? That I have to pretend I knew he had secrets? That wouldn't be the man I knew.

Maybe that is the tension. The tension of that relationship never changing since I was a little girl. And maybe that is the poet's real job. To find the tension and balance that with the sweetness, the love. Because we have to be able to write about love. Especially unconditional love. If that can't be touched in poems, I don't know why I try to write anything at all.

What topics do you feel are off-limits to you? Are there words or ideas or events or people you can just never let into your poetry?