Friday, March 20, 2009

Composition Class

And then there's one more route by which a never-to-be-seen-again work can find its way into my archive pile: Exercises.

I will give myself an assignment once in a while, or take it from one of my friends and resources to the right, and I sometimes get a finished poem from it. Most times, though, I get something of interest, something that has a useful extractable nugget, something that I want to pull out and show someone as an exhibit (the same way I show them the parts of the basement that my cousins and I constructed ourselves: to say, "See? I can sorta do this!").

Actually, the basement is the right analogy here. I wanted to do the work myself because I wanted to know how to do it, to know I could do it, and to have a deeper appreciation for the folks who should do it (because they possess a proficiency I do not). For example, while I still dismiss much of the performance art most people mean when they say "spoken word" (rhymed whining is still whining, after all), having attempted to write in that sing-song, erratic-beat format gave me a much better sense for how hard it is for the ones who do it well to do it well.

So part of my pile is devoted to these failed experiments and horizon-stretchers. And no, it's not likely you'll ever see one unless you engage me in a discussion of how to incorporate metallurgical terms into a villanelle.

It's not pretty, but I can sorta do it.

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