I speak in meandering sentences. When I write here or in an email or for business purposes, my sentences tend toward the compound and expansive. Last night, I wrote a poem that had no more than twenty-five words, if that many. My poems are getting smaller. Less narrative, more compact. Extra words in poems are getting under my skin, and I find myself having no choice but to banish them. And this is hard to do when I am trying to revise a poem that was originally quite narrative, which means it has articles and modifiers, and I’m not in any mood to deal with them. I end up rewriting the poem completely and it looks nothing like the original draft, which isn’t necessarily a problem, but you never know.

To start a poem in prose-like long lines or sentences is fine, I often stat that way, and sometimes the poem stays like that, but more and more, I find myself deleting a lot. The lines get tighter and shorter, and even though at the moment, I’m liking that better than meandering sentences as far as poetry is concerned, I wonder if I’m not losing something by keeping out so much.

I’ve always wanted my poems to be poignant and precise, without being opaque and difficult. I want people to understand and feel something when they read my words. I don’t want to make it too easy, but I don’t want to exclude. How to navigate these fine lines is a matter of strategy. And each poem is going to be different from the last. And so the struggle with art continues.


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