Had a very interesting discussion, through Facebook chat, with a good friend, Mara. She’s one of the few people that I know who actually asks me about my poems and who, I feel, recognises my distinct need to create poetry. She told me she likes my work. I get tickled pink every time she shows interest because I think she’s a fabulous writer herself and every time she asked me about my work, it reminds me that I do have an audience. There are people who want to read my poems.
When I was taking up poetry back when I was still in college, the Internet wasn’t what it was. It was not some unlimited resource of information and a platform with which one can broadcast their own persona into the void and hear people clamour back for more.
We were taught to read poetry, to love poetry, and to write poetry, but also to understand: poetry has very little regard in the practical world. It will never die, that’s for sure, there will always be traces of it out and about; but no one will ever get rich by being a poet. That’s sort of the warning we were all told.
This was of no consequence to me: at the time, I was dead set on becoming a novelist but I did enjoy writing poetry; in fact, I loved it. I was writing poems until I got heavy into drugs sometime in 2003 or 2004 and then I stopped and I only resumed in 2007 or 2008. I didn’t go full-on back into poetry until I read Just Kids by Patti Smith that rediscovered the power of poetry in my life. After reading Patti Smith’s memoirs, there was no turning back. The poems just kept coming.
So, I was talking to Mara this morning, and she asked me if I had any new poems and I told her something that surprised me. I said,
What I want to do, though, is to compile my poems already and fine tune them and prepare na a manuscript. I think it is time.
That way, when I write new stuff, it is free from all the old habits and ideas. I can work on new forms. I think.
And then Mara asks me,
When it’s all compiled to mark a phase in your life it’s like building up another collection from scratch. Do you feel like you’ve moved on a little from the poems in the compilation you plan to put together?
And I answer,
More the other way around. I feel like I can’t move on to other poetic styles or structures until I can get the first volume out — like anything I write now will have to find its place with all existing poems now. But if I compile, collect, and publish the current ones; it will free all the future works to that link or connection.
And it’s a strange thing to admit and articulate because, I guess I sort of knew it inside, but until I said it aloud, I didn’t realise that I was feeling that way? That’s me, really. I need to talk things out to realise what I know on a subconscious level.
But that’s it, really, the gist of the matter. It’s time to collate my poems and form a collection. It’s time to fine-tune the bastards and prepare a book of poetry and get it out before the year ends. Whether I do it myself, through the Internet, or pass it around to some publishers here, I don’t know. I just know I want to do this and I have to do this for me.
I am currently trying to finish a script that has been moving very, very slowly. I have several more waiting on the wings and a new job, which I will talk about soon.
But I have to find the time to gather all my poems and begin the slow, tedious process of fine tuning each one, cleaning them up, and then putting them together and form the collection.
Because it’s time to do it. It’s about time.