Monday, August 24, 2009

Quick, what's your reaction when you see . . .

. . . a table of contents that looks something like this?:

Camera 1.doc
Camera 2.doc
Camera 3.doc
Camera 4.doc
Camera 5.doc
Camera 6.doc
Camera 7.doc
Camera 8.doc
Dear Empire [these are your beasts].doc
Dear Empire [these are your canyons].doc
Dear Empire [these are your dead].doc
Dear Empire [these are your evenings].doc
Dear Empire [these are your followers].doc
Dear Empire [these are your goods].doc
Dear Empire [these are your holy places].doc
Dear Empire [these are your meadows].doc
Dear Empire [these are your monuments].doc
Dear Empire [these are your nights].doc
Dear Empire [these are your orders].doc
Dear Empire [these are your pastures].doc
Dear Empire [these are your plains].doc
Dear Empire [these are your processions].doc
Dear Empire [these are your questions].doc
Dear Empire [these are your ramparts].doc
Dear Empire [these are your skies].doc
Dear Empire [these are your structures].doc
Dear Empire [these are your subjects].doc
Dear Empire [these are your volcanoes].doc
Dear Empire [these are your winters].doc
Dear Empire [this is your aftermath].doc
Dear Empire [this is your art].doc
Dear Empire [this is your breeze].doc
Dear Empire [this is your city].doc
Dear Empire [this is your contrition].doc
Dear Empire [this is your photo in the absence of flowers].doc
Dear Empire [this is your product].doc
Dear Empire [this is your purview].doc
Dear Empire [this is your rival].doc
Dear Empire [this is your subject].doc
Dear Empire [this is your tremor].doc
Dear Empire [this is your window].doc
Dear Empire [these are your phantoms].doc
Dear Empire [this is your tomb].doc
Dear Empire [this is your photo].doc


I've been organizing a computer file-folder filled with these epistolary poems, plus a few newer things that I've been writing. The number of poems in the folder is 44. Each poem is one page, so that's 44 pages of poems. Too short, I know, but it's a draft of something. I also have in mind distributing the "Nocturne" poems I've been writing throughout this draft collection to see what they look like.

And those poems are here:

Nocturne on Good Friday.doc
Nocturne in Red and Blue.doc
Nocturne with a General at His Study.doc
Nocturne with a Glass of Water.doc
Nocturne with an Errant Horse.doc
Nocturne with a Dictator.doc

The "Camera" poems will more than likely be scattered throughout, and will not remain at the front of the manuscript.

Anyway, that's what I've been doing all morning.


Gary L. McDowell said...

My reaction: I would love to read it.

Good luck, man!

Oliver de la Paz said...

Thanks Gary!

My current concerns are that the manuscript doesn't move a reader forward. That might be a matter of placement, but also seeing a mass of like-labeled titles might be overwhelming for a reader. So, the next step is to print the pages out and put the damn thing all over the floor to reorder.

Matthew Thorburn said...

Hi Oliver, this is all just personal opinion, of course, but if it were my manuscript I would consider making "Camera" and "Dear Empire" section titles, then giving the individual poems their own individual titles. Just a thought, and admittedly I haven't even read the manuscript, but I think I would want the individual poems to stand out more that way -- to work as a sequence or group but also have more individual identity too. Hope that is helpful.

Anonymous said...

Here's some art by Kathleen Lolley that I recommend though it may have zero to do with what you're looking for:


Oliver de la Paz said...

Hey Matthew, I did/am considering that. On the one hand I want the poems to exist as individual pieces, but on the other hand I want to maintain the emotion and the intimacy of a letter from someone to someone which might get lost. There's a narrative and recurring characters in the letters, if you were wondering, so it's almost like a novella, if you will. Of course, there's no real narrative to speak of at the moment--just observations.

Pops, I love those paintings! They're not exactly what I had in mind, but I LOVE them.

cornshake said...

Hi ollie--i logged in just to comment and saw that Matthew took the words right out of my mouth. I think i'd be ...overwhelmed at that TOC, for lack of a better word...look at you go go go!

Oliver de la Paz said...

Thanks y'all, for the feedback. What would your reaction be, then, if the titles were "[This is your photo]" for example? BTW, the bracketed stuff is the first line of the poem, in case you hadn't already figured it out.