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  #11  
Unread 04-06-2021, 07:49 AM
Susan McLean Susan McLean is offline
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I've never tried to write a poem a day for a month, but when I got a writing residency for two weeks (many years ago), I did discover that simply spending hours every day trying to write poems proved to me that if I sat down and tried, the ideas and poems did start coming. Until that time I had always waited for inspiration to come.

I don't think I would enjoy forcing myself to complete a poem a day. It would certainly limit the kind of poem I would attempt. Now that I am retired, I do spend several hours a day in writing, but usually I am working on translating poetry. It gives me practice in all sorts of areas--rhyme, meter, diction, syntax--but it doesn't give me much practice in generating ideas for my own poems. That's okay. The writing itself gives me a sense of purpose, even when the ideas are not my own.

Susan
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  #12  
Unread 04-06-2021, 08:05 AM
Yves S L Yves S L is offline
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Adding a comment to Susan's thought: Interestingly enough, to me, recently I reckon that learning how Chinese characters structure the meaning/definition of words within the structure of the characters would give me an intense practice in dissecting, synthesising, and naming observations of scenarios in life: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=j9BJRE4r46g I reckon my ability to construct poetry would rise exponentially.

So I can very much see translation as a way to intensely practice a whole bunch of useful subskills, but I suspect that Chinese would allow a person to drill down a level below words, in a way treating each chinese character/character combination as its own "poem".

Last edited by Yves S L; 04-06-2021 at 08:19 AM.
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  #13  
Unread 04-06-2021, 08:16 AM
Max Goodman Max Goodman is offline
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Yes, the sweet spot for most of us lies somewhere between waiting for inspiration and meeting a rigid quota.

A related dilemma is balancing revision with writing new stuff.

I grow convinced that thinking itself is analogous, that the mind (the ego?) must constantly choose between consolidating/understanding/remembering what it has just thought and pushing further.
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  #14  
Unread 04-06-2021, 11:01 AM
Roger Slater Roger Slater is offline
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I love what Chuck Close had to say about it:

“Inspiration is for amateurs. The rest of us just show up and get to work. If you wait around for the clouds to part and a bolt of lightening to strike you in the brain, you are not going to make an awful lot of work. All the best ideas come out of the process; they come out of the work itself.”

And in a similar vein, Leonard Bernstein:

"Inspiration is wonderful when it happens, but the writer must develop an approach for the rest of the time... The wait is simply too long."
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  #15  
Unread 04-06-2021, 02:01 PM
Julie Steiner Julie Steiner is offline
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I'm reminded of a friend who took a class in which participants were asked to share their efforts after being given a half-hour to write on a prompt. She referred to this part of the class as "showing each other our turds." But a large part of her distaste was for the polite exclamations that everyone was expected to utter after each contribution, and for the assumption of some of her classmates that everything they wrote was golden in its raw, unedited form, simply because they had written it.
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  #16  
Unread 04-06-2021, 02:42 PM
Yves S L Yves S L is offline
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An interesting dynamic at NaPo on PFFA is that some poets are skilled and fast enough to write non-turdish first drafts under duress, but I tend to mostly interpret those poets as just mostly continuing a project that was already underway, of applying techniques already well drilled, of material that had already been stored up, as opposed to frantically finding topics to write about each day. Too, it is sort of a poetry party! For myself, I find it difficult to shut of the critical mechanism that just wants to analyze the heck of out stuff turd or no turd.
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  #17  
Unread 04-06-2021, 03:53 PM
Max Goodman Max Goodman is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Roger Slater View Post
Chuck Close ...: “Inspiration is for amateurs.”
Yes, that's what makes that end of the spectrum so attractive. Part of me feels (as I imagine many of us feel) that my poems should be products of pure love, written for no reason but that I was inspired and felt driven to write them.

Certainly when I read others' poems, I want to believe this of them. Though I know that good poems can be inspired many different ways, knowing that a poem was written because the poet wanted to write a poem that day (or to meet any goal other than following the inspiration to write that particular poem), would not make me eager to read it.
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  #18  
Unread 04-06-2021, 04:04 PM
Roger Slater Roger Slater is offline
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But I don't think it's such a binary thing, Max. Sometimes the inspiration comes during the writing process even if the writing process began out of pure discipline. For me, anyway, there's little inspiration to be derived from a blank sheet of paper, but if I can manage to put one or two lines down on the paper then I might (if I'm lucky) start feeling the inspiration. As Close said, "All the best ideas come out of the process; they come out of the work itself."
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Unread 04-06-2021, 06:06 PM
Max Goodman Max Goodman is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Roger Slater View Post
But ..., Max.
I communicated poorly if you think I disagree with anything in your post, Bob.
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  #20  
Unread 04-06-2021, 07:31 PM
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Kevin Rainbow Kevin Rainbow is offline
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A better exercise in my opinion is to pretend you are blind for a month and compose poetry that way. No pen, no paper, no computer/laptops/mobile phones, etc. Only the "internal" page, your mind, and your voice. "Write" and revise ten poems this way. After the month has gone by, then write them down. Once you better master moments of using only the internal page, you will be less dependent on the external one. You'll learn better to create and retain poetry internally on the spot, anywhere, everywhere, anyday, everyday.
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