May 05, 2010

Over at Best American Poetry: Metaphors of Craft

I turn 30 today. I'm not stressing over it; the last decade has been good to me. But there will be some sushi today to celebrate, oh yes, and possibly the indulgence of listening to the new Josh Ritter album, "So Runs the World Away," as it is being streamed over at NPR. Enjoy:

My friend Austin has been playing with Josh for a few years now (in fact, they've just formalized themselves as the Royal City Band). It blows my mind that of three folks I shared a vegan breakfast once upon a time at DC's Diner, one is touring all over the world, one is now a renowned slam poet, and one has a shot of being selected for Lilith Fair (if you happen to be judging for the Lilith Fair Local Talent Search in Boston, vote for Winterbloom). Good things, happening to good people. It should always be this way.

Apropos of nothing: I am slightly alarmed to hear that they are planning a sequel to The Dark Crystal

Over at the Best American Poetry blog, I take an observation about my writing process that was originally written for this Clarion-Ledger interview--but cut for space--and run with it, turning it into a short essay on "Metaphors of Craft."
My brain, I've come to realize, is an oyster. It captures some bit of grit (a notion, a face, a sound) and then worries at it, over and over, coating it with language, until the grit grows into a pearl. That's when a poem is waiting to meet the page. 
This model helps me grasp why I start drafts after midnight: for me, writing is a process of (semi-)conscious accretion that reaches critical mass, inclined toward lyric intensity rather than narrative structure. I still dislike prompts--but then, I dislike cultured pearls too. And it's my responsibility to give this oyster a healthy bed, which means a reading diet that pumps nutrients in the water. (Goodbye, Us Weekly. Hello, Threepenny Review.)
Read the rest of the essay here.


Giulia said...

Glad you like Josh. Some of my best friends are from Moscow, Idaho.

Stephanie said...

Happy birthday!

Oliver de la Paz said...

Happy Birthday, SB!

Reen said...

Dude, really? Josh Ritter? "To the Dogs or Whoever" was sort of me and Jeff's first song. Trying to sing all the lyrics is still sort of a hobby/challenge for me...

Word verification: "dimante." Hoo boy.