Monday, October 23, 2006

The Dark Unmarked Waters

Just read on Josh's blog that Deborah Tall has died. The journal she led, Seneca Review, was the first publication I remember reading and thinking: "Wow. I wish I wrote like that." Of course, this was before I'd learned to experiment with my own style but still, fifteen years later, I've never produced anything I thought fit or merited inclusion in that journal. It's a home for the lyric essay, which is a fascinating form for me, having been trained repeatedly in the classical and technical essay. This post takes its title from one of Deborah's poems.

Had another of those moments recently where I mined an unpleasant memory for a poem idea. I'm actually pleased with the final product, but my internal editor is all over me to burn the thing before [subject person who would not appreciate the publicity] finds out what I've written. As is usual, the "real" portion of the memory is the rough diamond at the center of a highly fictionalized setting, but I don't think [subject person] would consider that appropriate mitigation. It's the old question: how to reach the larger audience and not chase away the local one. Or is this a question that only I ask?

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