“I am seduced and bamboozled,
made discombulate by metaphors…”
--from Seized by the Perils of Poetry
One of the things I like best about my relationship with poetry is the way a poem will sometimes suddenly arrive, insist that I find something on which to quickly write, and astonish me to no end with all it has to say and how it chooses to say it. That particular mode of swift and compelling literary seduction is one I savor these days because I’ve written so little poetry over the past couple of years. And the most recent poem to turn up in such a manner was particularly welcomed because it represents my individual commemoration of the forthcoming 100 Thousand Poets for Change event scheduled to take place September 24, 2011.
I formally announced my support of 100 Thousand Poets for Change, founded my Michael Rothenberg and Terri Carrion, several weeks ago. I knew I could manage a blog or two by way of helping to raise awareness about the event but less certain about producing a poem for it. My most current mental templates have all been designed to accommodate prose in one form or another with poetry left to stand its own eloquent ground. Fortunately, the poem was never uncertain about itself and will make its debut on several websites September 1, 2011.
My method of poem-making is usually somewhat different from those poets who often very successfully research and outline poems to achieve some very impressive end-results. I tend most often to express an intention or desire to write a certain poem, but then allow myself to forget about it. Nevertheless, some part of me––my subconscious? Soul? Spirit?–– makes it a point to collect impressions, expressions, information, images, and voices that fit the stated intention until it’s ready to deliver either a few lines that provide a hopeful start, or a full first draft that makes my knees shake at the sight of such a gift. The majority of poems in The River of Winged Dreams, oddly enough, were not the result of prayed desires. As told in the book, they more or less invaded my life like the army of winged beings for which they are named.
In this latest instance, I was amazed to pick up a pen one moment and then the next find myself blinking at 36 lines of a full first draft. I don’t know if the new U.S. Poet Laureate Philip Levine has ever experienced such moments of cognitive disconnection followed by creative reconnection or not. But I’m guessing that, with more than two volumes composed over the course of his lifetime thus far, it’s very possible that he has. Who knows, if enough of them pop up over the next couple of years I might just end up with my own fifth volume.