working on craft

I’m thinking of taking a serious pause on writing poetry for awhile.

I feel my style of poetry has become predictable and too structured. Except for a few poems of mine, most of my work no longer surprises me and while I feel that I may have found my distinct voice, I feel my style has gone stale. As I start working on a new piece, by the time I hit the third or fourth verse, I pretty much know where it is going.

The form needs to evolve. I cannot stay stagnant. I can’t keep writing this way.

I believe all artists have to grow and evolve and I’ve been writing in this style for so many years now. It’s time I start to expanding my style vocabulary and improve on my craft. I’m going to be releasing Remnants within the year and I have enough poems to fill in another collection and probably two chapbooks but, at some point, they will all look and sound the same.

I need to grow.

I stopped writing poetry in favour of fiction and creative non-fiction after I graduated from college and when I got back to writing poetry again in 2008, I saw the vast improvement in both my content and my craft. Taking a breather in the process allowed me to stay away from my reflex to write the way that I do. I think I have to do that again.

I really need to start looking at other poems by other writers and not my usual poets whom I get so much inspiration from. I need to expand the structures with which I write so that I don’t get boring and so that my work will have that sense of spontaneity again. I have to start consuming books of other styles. I remember watching a few films about Kerouac and Ginsberg and thinking of studying the beat poets and I was reading Jane Hirshfield’s The Heart of the Haiku and I understood the sense of the poetics of haiku — not necessarily adapt the form but the essence of the work — and maybe I should continue on that vein.

I cannot and should not be bound by any one specific style if I’m to be the kind of poet that I want to be. Writing is like a muscle, the more you work on it, the stronger it becomes. The more you work on it in one particular way, the stronger you become in that particular way but it doesn’t leave you room to do other things with the same strength. It’s time to grow.

I’m going to have to think this through. I get so much joy from writing poems but if I just continue in this vein, I’m not ever going to extend my capabilities.

Maybe I’ll continue exercising on Instagram and Twitter because they are fun to do. I like the exercise of forcing myself to come up with a poem with such restrictions. But the long form poems that I put out here, I’ll take a break from that for awhile and concentrate on free-form writing and saving it without publishing it.

I need to give myself a chance to take a break from the form and structure I’ve gotten used to and give myself a chance to grow.


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