Once a poem’s online I forget about it. In once sense only that’s a blessing, and I’m not sure there’s much sense in that sense because a poem is a thoughtful creation, crafted, not a geyser of emotion or cleverness, erupted.
I have posted a few unpublished poems on this blog, and in a few cases typed first runs right in. And then forgotten about them. What’s the point?
With rare exception, I work on and over and in poems as long as requested. With NO exception (except a few on this blog as mentioned previously) I write first drafts of poems by hand, then type, print, edit, type, print, edit . . . And when there’s nothing else to be done I send out the poem. Sometimes I send the poem to Siberia, a file where poems that just don’t work live. They are warm and fed but their biospheric life does not include guests. Kafka’s messenger never reaches them and they don’t care. These poems aren’t sullen. They’re differently abled and know it.
A poem submitted to a journal is most often rejected at least once and when I get it back I take another look, ask if it wants to get off the bench and back in the game (Look, Ma! I wrote a sports reference!) or needs a massage. Maybe an amputation.
However, as far as prose and nonfiction are concerned, this blog unstuffs me and that’s been a great victory.
Most reviews I’ve posted here were typed into the blog and “published” or gone live. I might spy a typo or stupid sentence construction and go back in to fix. It’s not like the blog is a dangerous mine and reentry risks life.
When I wrote reviews as a freelancer for The Seattle Times each one took an enormous amount of time. I was utterly convinced I was a slow writer, no change possible. If my current reviews were worse than those, less insightful or fun or effective in tribute where called for, I’d agree I should return to those awful weeks in front of computer, me trying to hammer out a greater piece of writing than I am capable of creating.
But what I write now, although each could be expanded – now, that’s for sure – is fine. I am writing for a blog, not an journal, and length needn’t be too long. No one’s paying me for this. A few pieces here on my life might claw at me later. They might demand more attention, more words. We’ll see.
No poem is ever done. But some poems, many, are done talking to me and so they live out in the world, make new friends and decisions about me I may not like. That’s the deal.
So no more poems typed into my blog. Only poems pasted from my collection or after they’ve been in print long enough I do no disrespect to the kind journal.