April experiment

It is National Poetry Month once again. I usually do not take part in poetry month writing challenges, but I thought this year I might try something out of my comfort zone.

My plan: post a poem draft a day for this month. I have never blogged daily before, and I have never tried to compose a poem a day as Luisa Igloria has been doing on the via negativa blog for, I think, more than three years!!

This concept–er, this practice–will be super-challenging for me and scary on several levels, mostly on the level of posting unrevised, often unfinished or awkward material publicly. But I have just about 3,000 followers and only a minuscule percentage of them read my blog regularly, so I have to think of this as reading to a small room.

I can deal with that. At least–I think I can.

We’ll have to see how the month goes. Meanwhile, welcome to my month-long experiment in immediacy.

~

Tom’s Green Field

In your landscape
light exists as waves, not particles

active, roiling
over the placid horizontal planes: sky, treeline,

cropland in wind.
For there must be currents of air, speedy thrill

storm can assume
chopping at clouds miles distant, changing hue

illuminating
the dense grove’s surface so it shines

and no rain’s fallen
and perhaps no rain will dampen the field today–

only luminescence
pigment trapped in layers of oil, bouncing

cobalt, cadmium
iron oxide through your swirling glaze

that gazed once
on energy in patterns, an hour’s moment, waving green.

~

agriculture clouds countryside crop

Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

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Transitions & ambition

letter I
have maintained this blog pretty regularly, for years now, writing about books and poems and gardens and teaching, examining the concept of consciousness and trying to plumb–from a novice’s perspective–the brain’s wiring and functions. I suppose I am seeking a kind of “interdisciplinary” approach in these posts and in life: a philosophy of values that considers the arts, aesthetics, evolution, biology, social structures, neurology, consciousness, physics, etymology, pedagogy, ecology, and compassion (have I forgotten anything?) in a distinct but expansive method of living in which I can situate myself and which might guide my behavior as I make my life-long way through the world. If, by some chance, my words influence a reader–so much the better; this is, after all, a public space (WordPress.com).

Like many people who use social media platforms for their writing, though, I have a mixed view of its suitability as a medium and of its perceived necessity for contemporary writers. My purpose, originally, was to practice writing prose and to promote the arts and the natural environment as necessary complements to and instruction for the development of empathy (compassion) and metacognition in human beings.

The blog has been reasonably suitable for practice; it gets me writing what is basically a brief essay on a more-or-less weekly basis. It has several thousand “followers,” but only a handful of readers. [I can discern this through the statistics page on WordPress, though I don’t check often.] In general, I use this platform mostly as a way of “seeing what I think,” and it serves that purpose, too.

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I have come to some conclusions about the problem of consciousness (and about whether it actually is a problem) through the reading and experiences of the past ten years or so. Those conclusions are, however, private ones. While the process of discovery and inquisitiveness works in a public forum, the takeaway remains, for this blogger, a thing carried within.

But.

~~

But other blogger-writers have influenced my thinking about what a public forum such as blogging or Facebook can do for the writing process. Dave Bonta and Luisa Igloria, as well as Michael Czarnecki and Lou Faber–among others–promote by example the option, and value, of publishing new or unedited, unfinished, partially-revised work. Granted, not all of them have thousands of readers who weigh in on criticism or encouragement; but the very process of making public the work-in-progress seems to me to be courageous. This may be because I am a wimp, or it may be because the social aspects of the vaunted “po-biz” have dampened my willingness to show a kind of transparency in my writing methods.

I am not on the tenure track and will not be teaching in an MFA program, however, so why would it matter?

Therefore: be prepared, oh limited but blesséd audience. I may begin to foist upon you the recent sad, sad poems I’ve been writing–in draft form. Or I may begin to reveal the poems from my seven-years’-unpublished manuscript online. Or I may, like Luisa and Michael, begin to blog “a poem a day” (unlikely, but…). It seems to me that a transition is in order here. And that stands as my writing ambition for the moment, as autumn makes its way toward the solstice and I face another stack of student essays to grade.