Monday, January 26, 2009

Cold January Days

Of course, I shouldn't complain. The teens as a low is nowhere near negative temperatures, and believe me, I know negative temperatures, having lived in Utica, NY for four years. There's that breaking point where you breathe in and your nostrils freeze together, for example.

I'm just plain tired of the cold and our house is a bit drafty, needing new insulation, windows, etc.. Afterall, it was built in 1977, so it's seen its fair share of winters.

Poor Jake's been hurting his paws on frozen ground, and I think I need to get some doggie shoes for him.


Happy Chinese New Year! I'm a Rat, but I must say, the Year of the Rat wasn't so good. Hail to the Year of the Ox!


So, I'm pretty sure I have the first poem of my manuscript and the last poem of my manuscript down pat. The problem parts are everything in between, but at least I know I've got something.

Here's the dilemma--the voice shifts, and shifts quite profoundly. I have poem after poem of longer narratives that are triggered by a memory and meander into some moment of epiphany.

I wouldn't say, "in opposition to," but seemingly in opposition to those narrative poems are these little lyrical pieces that are roughly a page in length.

How are they unified? Well, they're all fairly autobiographical.

The trick for me, then, is to find a poem that can fuse the styles, which is why I've been muttering about long poems. I think, a long poem would 1) allow for some lyrical and ecstatic language play and 2) unify the narrative through a long meditation.

But how to start. On my trip to St. Louis/Carbondale, I drafted what looks like a first section. I'll tinker a bit more and I may post bits here and there.

I'm interested in G.C. Waldrep's Disclamor and what seems to be a long poem that he's chopped into bits and distributed throughout the collection. He's got this sequence of "Battery" poems which, are pretty blatant stylistic shifts when placed next to the other poems. But he has so many that, collectively, they "right" the momentum of the book.

Ultimately, my concerns are about momentum . . . I've talked so much about the idea of tone and balancing tone, but there also has to be enough significant movement in the tone of a book to move a reader's eyes forward and onward.


In other news, I'm a finalist in something. Which is what it is.


The sun god is up. He's peering over the firs and making large shadows of my house.


Current spin:

Neko Case. "Furnace Room Lullaby." She's got a new album coming.


Collin Kelley said...

Good luck with the manuscript.

I love Neko Case.

Oliver de la Paz said...

Thanks, Collin!

I love Neko Case too. You know . . . if you asked her to be in a band, I bet you she'd join.