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May 05, 2010

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A great, shapely post, Sandra. Wise and welcoming.

You made me realize I've never pondered a metaphor for my own craft. Sitting here in the early wees, the best I could de-embed was right undernose: a seedbed, but for birds. Every poem seems to hover around and wait for me to throw some seed. When I do, birds land. I don't know which, or whether they'll get along with each other or me or what they'll do after feeding. Ibis and ducks seem to mingle pretty well, at least in my backyard. Sometimes the ducks will look in my windows, necks stretched, heads cocked, doing their best impression of a curious heron doing its best impression of a nosy human.

Experiencing over a dozen years of writers' block (what happened to the unstoppable flow of my adolescent mind?), my metaphor is currently buried treasure with a blurry map. It's a struggle to figure out where to look, and then there's still a lot of digging through dreck before I find anything valuable. I am going to think about this more; maybe if I change the metaphor I can change the reality, too?

Brilliantly written, and the oyster metaphor is fem-licious. (that would be a new word, and of course, all poets have license to invent those, granted in perpetual time by one Edward Estlin Cummings.)

So of course, Sandra's column asks each of us, what is your metaphor of poem making? For me, one is a Billy Collins espresso accompanying a Neil Young pen -- swift, at dawn, caffeine conjured, guitar galvanized (either gentle unplugged or the searing hurricane of a crazy horse racing), and even fierce.

And when finished swept away under a tree, like the one Robert Frost describes in "Directive,' to be found later - days, months, years, then changed with those one, two or three vital voicings that make the breaks fly. Which you can't see immediately. No way. Has to be left in the dirt for your boot heels to work over.

And workshops for poem makers? Never for me. It is a singular art. With singular voices. Power packed by individual force.

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