I had a wonderful teacher in the Queens MFA program, (actually they were all wonderful and amazing), but this particular teacher, Cathy Smith Bowers, shared many nuggets with us, one that will stick with me forever ......"Write the poems that need to be written".......
I have not written a new poem since April. Certainly I've jotted down ideas, phrases, images, but nothing new has come into my head, heart or poet's eyes, that has to race to a piece of paper, get recorded, or get birthed.
During the months of April and May I did an incredible amount of work on the revisons of my thesis, The House of Saturdays, both the English and Spanish versions. I never knew that the revision, editing, reading, reading, reading again, and again, looking for, listening for stop points, for sounds, for words that could be reconsidered, revised, was so much work.
I learned much during this process, I learned about what mattered to me as a poet, what I was willing to fight for in a poem, what I was OK with deleting, revising. I also learned to experiment with format, stanza lenghts, line lenghts, etc.
While I was in Panama, I again worked for 4 days straight on the final edits of my entry for the Concurso Nacional de Literatura, Ricardo Miró, 2006. I submitted a total of 700+ lines of verse. I am proud of the accomplishment. Regardless of the outcome, (the winning submissions for poetry, novel, short story, essay, and theatre categories) are announced on October 17th, 2006)
the work is a labor of love, a love of Panama, of the Spanish language, of the sounds, celebration, the life that is contained in the memories, the ideas, the images, so many of them from Panama, that fill the pages of the manuscript I submitted. I will keep you posted.
So back to .... the poems that need to be written....
My thesis advisor in the Queens MFA program, Sally Keith, also challenged me, my thinking.... during one of our meetings to discuss my post MFA life, my writing, my future projects, she asked what I was going to work on next ? I was surprised by the question, not by her asking it, but surprised in that I never really thought of what next.
I assume poems will just keep coming to my head, my heart. That my second set of poet's eyes will continue to see images, ideas, memories, and write, write, write. I have many poems that are important to me that I need to work on, and I will. I also have ideas, notes, images, that I can draw from and write some new drafts.
I have time, I have space, I have ideas... I guess I better to get to creating some new poems. I will keep you posted. Happy Fourth of July, tomorrow..... Be Safe.... and Hot Dogs Rule !!!