A perfect poem can arrive from the muse in one heart beat sitting, or it can take years. It can come from an inspirational or challenging event from that day (like the recent passing of Maya Angelou) or it can be hidden in a notebook and just need us to rediscover and rework it. Hooray to the writer’s notebook and the buds of creativity within!
I wrote the idea for This Wheel Doesn’t Turn almost a decade ago. I threw it into a digital notebook and didn’t feel the least inclination to share it but I couldn’t throw the idea away; one day I went looking back through my notebooks and decided it had clear potential, however, it had too many ideas competing for attention. Just one line was worth retrieving and working with.’ This wheel doesn’t turn. ‘ The setting was clear, and I took other ideas from the original draft, to blend through the poem. The poem was ready to be fully born.
Some poems need time to mature because the poet has not picked the right form; the words have to be filtered into a form that works for that theme.
Sometimes a strong metrical beat is needed so the poem has a power read aloud; whilst other poems work with visual tricks. I found that ‘This Wheel doesn’t Turn’ was a poem that wanted rhyme, mostly to add to the humour of the piece, and it became stronger by working on the beat.
‘This Wheel Doesn’t turn’ wasn’t a poem needing visual tricks lately but I have been thinking about how to be a modern ee cummings, so we shall see. I think today ee cummings would love working with three dimensions and animating words in all the various computer programs. What do you think?
Writing everyday or close to everyday and returning to words from years ago, or just yesterday, to apply the filtration of editing to the power of creativity or intellectual rigour can give a poem flight.
As well as my many digital and paper notebook, I have blog after blog. Some blogs, like poems, are full of words and ideas I wouldn’t change, whilst others I pull apart to write new pieces and am tempted to delete yet I hang onto them knowing they might come in handy.
I have begun to keep a paper notebook again to put down random ideas, and beautiful words I hear – like Azarella (not even sure that’s how it’s spelt yet) but the sound was so enticing I thought one day I must write around it.
(c) June Perkins