Thursday, March 20, 2008

over spring break

I will immerse myself in poetry: Poets of the Late T'ang, How to Read Chinese Poetry, and a gift from Ryan when he came home: a guide to New Orleans and The Anchor Book of Chinese Poetry.

Malena Morling suggested I immerse myself in Chinese poetry for a period of time, which might help pare down my language. Carolyn Forche recently told me I ought to be careful with adjectives and adverbs, something I think weakens a poem and can be a beginner's mistake. Trust in the action of the poem, the muscularity of its words trimmed down.

I am grateful for this kind of advice; I drink it up. We can edit line-by-line, but I know overall, there is much work to do in my writing. I am ready for that metaphorical rolling of sleeves, to get my fingers into the dirt. My skin has toughened in the sun and dirt.

This is what I bring with me on the plane. I am having a quiet period in my writing, which happens--a natural ebb and flow. I wrote furiously when my grandfather was unwell, and I think that exhausted me somehow, though Palm Beach certainly revived my voice. I am bringing my writing notebook too, something I bring everywhere I go, regardless. It makes sense, though, to take advantage of these quiet periods--to read furiously. I find that I read constantly regardless, but when I am in writing mode, I read more books of poetry, and when I am in relapse, it is fiction I turn to. And with my goal of reducing the house by one bookcase (oh, if only we could have a house big enough for a library--then it wouldn't matter a bit), I am trying to read books I wouldn't mind passing along, letting go.

Currently reading: High Fidelity by Nick Hornsby. A nice, clever, clipped voice.

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