Thursday, 19 February 2015

Jump-starting a Poem

Robyn Sarah believes that collage—the assemblage of diverse elements or fragments—is at the root of most poetry:
Poetic logic is nonlinear; it makes leaps; on some level it is improvisational, free-associative. One of the things a poet does intuitively is to discover/uncover unlikely connections between diverse particulars by placing them next to each other (e.g. last night’s dream; today’s weather; something heard on the news). Whether these particulars come out of one’s daily life, out of one’s head, or out of somebody else’s written text, the poet is doing the same thing: choosing, highlighting, and juxtaposing things that have caught attention. It also doesn’t matter whether they are freshly observed or remembered/rediscovered. I keep notebooks where I jot things down as they come to me—physical or sensory particulars, random thoughts, words or phrases, words heard or read, stray memories. Why did they catch my attention on the day I noted them—who knows? Some jottings begin growing immediately into poems-in-progress; others just sit there, waiting to catch my attention again. They ripen as I get older. They accrue. After four decades of keeping notebooks, there’s a wealth of such material to draw on for inspiration on a day when I need a jump-start.

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