September 14, 2006
In the Soup
Last week one of the fellows made a pot of chicken soup. Not a pot--a vat. We'd had two roast chickens the night before and in they went, bones and all. The resultant broth threatened to flood the main house. When a woman makes that much soup you know her emotions are doing the cooking. If you ever find yourself bombarded with soup, pies, and brownies you might want to ask the cook what's going on. Odds are that someone's heart is about to be broken.
A draft a day, damn it. Titles: The Fish, Of Mothers, The Birches, The Field, Holiday, The Angels, My Los Alamos, The Ring, The Green Flash, Theories of Falling. There was an eleventh, but it was a poor stillborn thing...what seemed rich with rural detail turned out to be smug. But overall there are patterns and cohesions, sparks in the lines; I'm having fun. I finally used the phrase "the reveal" in a poem--that is the title my book has had for months--but immediately realized the poem was not Title Poem material. So the search for a platonic form of the book continues.
A big thing I'm trying to do is give myself permission to leave certain poems out. Not because they are lacking, but because they don't fit. They'll go in the next book, whatever that is. This is harder than it sounds--the poems that have appeared in high-profile magazines or anthologies are a kind of security blanket that I want to wrap around the manuscript, as if to prove "this is your worth your time--just look at all these other editors who said so."
Okay, back to work. Neruda calls, and I never resist a Chilean man.