The Deliberate…

It’s time to write but the internal mulling over process is growing branches – more like veins – and they’re burrowing…going places I did not expect.  I have been reading a lot of poetry lately – writing more of it than I have in years.  I have entered my sacred circle, searching for stories never expecting to find them in poetry but there they are – visible more to my ear than my eye, writing an old thing a new way.  I found a new poet, too.  Nikky Finney – who is not new but somehow she was hidden from me all these years.  Perhaps, I wasn’t ready for her; she’s intense.  Her poems help me understand the ache in my own poetry to be more than…  They’re like short stories – her poetry.  Raw, refined and full of truth – her poetry is a lesson in the deliberate…   Deliberate as in:  Intentional, on purpose, premeditated, calculated, planned, and not accidental.  Every writer should have/develop the ability to deliberately tell their stories, their way – to flip the switch that turns off all outside interference and just say it…

I am noticing a greater freedom in my poetry lately.  Now that I am focusing on it; it seems to have evolved into another form of storytelling.  It even almosts writes like a play.  In the past, I have written monologues in poetry but I never thought much about the connection to a freedom I haven’t had in my plays.  Not that I am not free already but in poetry, one can be sparse and direct and move on to the next thought.  This is the first time my poetry has become part of my circle where I thought of it as story first.  Putting together a manuscript recently, I found myself looking at the context of the whole, the arch, the subtext of the whole, the imagery, the story…   And, now, I can hear pieces and parts of poetry whispering to me from the shadows; on the verge of the light of day yet always just able to crawl back into their hiding places – too many to catch.  They want me to sit with them by the fire and listen as they slowly tell me – everything…they promise to tell me everything…  But, I have been so busy lately; there has been no time to linger in my sacred circle longer than a moment. Especially, since I was expecting characters from a play to speak and not fragments of poetry. 

Maybe the poetry will end up being a play…  At any rate, if I deliberately go with the flow and write whatever wants to be written now; I am sure it will enhance every area of my writing life.   May be the break will bring me back to the characters more refreshed and ready to rock and roll.  As long as I can meet my deadlines…


  • By Nikky, March 16, 2011 @ 8:08 pm

    I don’t do much on line. But I want to respond. I must. Sometimes you just have to respond. Responding is why I love cats. You touch them and they move their backs like a roller coaster. Cats don’t ask “Should I respond.?” No. They just do . It’s in their nature. I’m not new to poetry. I’ve been writing since I was 14. But my first three books were sold out of the trunk of my car. But this new book is introducing me to so many new good souls. Writing brings the oxygen into my blood. This new book and our new amazing social media is helping me touch and be touched by an entirely new circle of eyes and hearts. Your work feeds me. I thank you for reading poetry. I thank you for hunting for new voices. I’m a long-winded poet. I never fit into that other poetry box. Into any box actually. You are right…there is more short story in me than haiku. I’m working on some of those now. Life is raw. Life is spidery and veiny too. There is a lot of mulling over to do in this life in order to get to a deep sweet patient breath. Thank the goddess for beauty. Isn’t “deliberate” the most beautiful word. Stay strong.

  • By Robin Byrd, March 17, 2011 @ 5:56 pm

    “the deep sweet patient breath” is exactly what I’m mining for… I am glad you responded. I love the long-windedness of your work, how it is so full of life…so un-like any other…so against the current… Thank you — the sound of your voice is needed in the earth… It affects me and I’m glad it affects me. I just bought two of your books, “Head Off & Split: Poems” and “Heartwood”. I can hardly wait for them to arrive in the mail.

  • By Linda Cue, April 1, 2011 @ 11:19 am

    Just wanted to say that I discovered “Heartwood” online years ago.I’m a librarian working at the county Jail in Gainesville, Florida. And I needed material that would appeal to my male and female adult inmates who were struggling with their reading skills. This book was a life saver. The short stories generated so much discussion from my men and my women. So of course, i ordered “Rice”. My men seemed to like this book a lot more than the females, but I loved it. Been a Nikky Finney fan since. Ordered “Head Off and Split for our poety book talks for the month of April. Can’t wait to read it.

  • By Robin Byrd, April 7, 2011 @ 12:01 pm

    I think that is phenomenal. One never knows what just getting the words on the page and out there can do. I am finally get to read “Heartwood” and “Head Off and Split” myself this weekend. Thanks for sharing.

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