Nothing like a deadline to get the creative juices flowing. And now mine is in – THE DEFENSE. I’m sure James Franco will have to do one, and justify that short story along with others. I have to defend my lake poems, so I’m thinking I’ll just quote the CBC jury. MacEwanesque people!
Truthfully though, it’s a bit terrifying – the idea of justifying your work. I’ve heard horror stories from last year about MFA students crying or being asked what brings your work to the level of poetry. That isn’t a question that I think I’m prepared to answer. But it’s good to think about.
Clearly there is a level of arrogance in writing for what will hopefully be public consumption and I think most writers deal with it – what do I possibly have to say that hasn’t been said before and better. Let alone to presume to call oneself a poet. But that’s what I’m doing and now I have to prove it.
So I’m brushing up on form and tradition. I’m reading Stephen Fry’s The Ode Less Travelled and Mary Kinzie’s A Poet’s Guide to Poetry and anything else my brain can take it, while still dealing in the minutae of the world – like filing my taxes, which seems far more reasonable than poetry.
And I practice my defense in the shower, like Jimmy Rabbit in the Commitments. What brings this to the level of poetry? That’s a great question, Jerry. Let me tell you how it all began.