Monday, April 4, 2011

My Poetry Year: Entry #12

In which Your Humble Blogger shares an example of why she doesn't write in free verse more often:

"Slow Dance"

to read the speed
of the flecks of line
beating past
as pace and rhythm
on what should have been
a lonely and musicless
road where only
the relays of static
crack the sky
is to follow fast
fingers as they cross keys
and the radio dial
and to chase the guitar
notes that leap
toward home no
matter what home means
and that is all
another way of saying
you hope to make it
in time
for the slow dance
you promised

* * *

I question the wisdom of posting this, because I think it clearly demonstrates a problem that I still have, which is that I don't know exactly what can be accomplished with free verse or how to use it effectively. As you saw in an example in a previous post, I had tried before to maintain sentence structure in free verse poems, but I didn't like the results. With this one, I had in mind the idea of listening to the radio on a late-night road trip, and I ignored punctuation and chose certain words hoping to call to mind that hypnotic thing that happens when your wheels have been going over the road for a long time in the dark. I'm not sure if it achieves that, though, and the only spot in which I think the line breaks work well is at the end of the poem, where "you promised" is allowed its own line.

I peeked ahead at what comes next in my notebook: Wednesday's poem is a little more fun, I think. You get to see what happens when I try to write an ode to some of my favorite fantasy and sci-fi tales of all time. ;)

Not related to this poem, but I wanted to mention that I've been reading Yusef Komunyakaa's Warhorses, which I really recommend to anyone who wants an example of a strong voice in current poetry. This is a man who knows how to choose his words.

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