For me, writing is often a struggle. I write essays with the greatest of ease, but poems require work. I’m almost through with winter break but must admit I’ve not done anything toward my thesis until today. I think that was okay, but I do wish I had a bit more to show from an entire month off. I have 58 pages toward my final manuscript. Mind you, not all of these pages are polished, but I’ll work on that this semester. Shining it all up. Not too shiny, of course.
This evening though, after Max went home, I decided to return to Michael Dickman’s Flies. His work always compels me to write. When I return to books of poetry, it is for instruction. I allow the poems to teach me. If a book does not compel me in this way, then I probably won’t return to it. But really any reading can stimulating the poetic part of my brain, which is really all of it. I think that might be what distinguishes poets from writers. The poetic brain. To a poet, poetry is everywhere. It’s a way of understanding, of seeing. Certainly writers can write poems, anyone can (doesn’t mean they should! haha), but I don’t think they work in the same way as when poets write poetry. Poets can certainly write in other forms–but they, we, I think, always bring that poetic brain to the writing. Whereas writers always bring their writerly brains to the poetry–which often doesn’t translate in my mind. There is just something in the poetic brain that intuits language, music, form in ways that I have not seen in poetry written by writers. Perhaps this is the rant of a madwoman, but this is how I tend to feel–particularly when I read what certain writers want to pass off as poetry in the MFA. That’s not to say that some walking around calling themselves poets aren’t as off as the others.
Oh, the MFA. I read so many disparaging blogs about MFA writing programs. I find many points to be valid, but hope that it isn’t all true. Yes, many generic writers are being produced… Yes, it’s a pyramid scheme in a way… Yes, many writers come through MFA programs thinking they are the shit only to be completely wrecked in the real world. But some of us might actually have what it takes. Very few. But I am hopeful for those of us who work hard and really do produce good work. Yes, I include myself.
Yawn… more later.