Thursday, September 13, 2007

Thursday Prompt: I Am Thinking of My First...

When I find a blog whose writing and experiences I find compelling, I tend to go back and slowly devour that blog. I did that with this and this blog, and I do not regret it--the writing is fresh, the reflections are real, and I hope to see more of their writing in print in the near future.

And I'm currently reading this blog, from beginning to current. Teresa was in a workshop I took this summer with Carolyn Forche, and her writing reminds me of something you could crawl into--the hide of a skinned animal, the flesh of a fruit. She is raw and completely aware of her surroundings.

I stumbled upon a poem called "I Am Thinking of My First Deer," which is such a wonderful way to enter a poem, and in honor or in reaction, I wrote my own first draft of a poem I think may live to a revision called "I Am Thinking of My First Bee Sting," where I hope will eventually find a way to juxtapose the beauty and vanity of my grandmother with destruction and protection. It's not doing that yet, but I think, for me, first drafts can do two things: they can simply be an enjoyable way of drooling thoughts onto the page, or they can be the seed of something, and you can see it happening right there (or maybe see it right there a little while later). I think I've known the first drafts that might live on; some first drafts have done little in the way of changing just yet, and others, like the one I wrote today, have a long, long way to go, but I'm excited to see where it will go.

This is something I'm struggling with the most right now: revision. How do you know when to revise? How do you even approach it? MDB used to tell us we needed to wait months sometimes to revise a poem as we needed that distance; Carolyn Forche told us a poem has a certain shelf life in a poet, and at some point, the poem does expire. I'm torn between wanting to let the poem percolate and being afraid of it molding over when I thought I could let it set for a while.

With all that said, today's prompt is to write a poem that is either titled "I Am Thinking of my First _________" or has an opening line this way.

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