In my last post I mentioned that thing about how we writers tend to work hard on something until we think it’s done, we put it out there into the world somehow, and then we forget about it and go on to the next thing. So that if circumstances arise that bring our attention back to that previous work it can be surprising to revisit and rediscover that old stuff, seeing it from a later and different perspective. Surprising perhaps in a good way or maybe in a bad way. There is always some question about whether the older work still holds up. The good news is that when I recently did a poetry reading from my chapbook I was pleasantly surprised at how well the poems stood up after all this time. Most of them after all were written some years ago when I was rather a different person than I am now.

I did a reading Nov 26 at the River’s End bookstore in Oswego NY. I was one of four featured poets reading, the others being my Syracuse poet friends Georgia Popoff, Elinor Cramer, and Jessica Cuello. The River’s End is an excellent bookstore by the way, and its proprietor Bill is a gracious and congenial fellow who loves literature and respects authors. If you’re ever in Oswego NY you should definitely go there. So as I said when it came my turn to read I started flipping through the chapbook looking for poems to read (I figured I would do the reading rather spontaneously rather than picking out the poems to read ahead of time). As I read the poems I had this strange and intense feeling of an unexpected expansion of my self, the sense of suddenly being aware of older aspects of myself, feelings and experiences, that I had forgotten, and which were suddenly made familiar to me again. In fact several times during the reading I almost choked up while reading the poems. The thought also occurred to me that these poems still hold up well, they still feel real and vital to me, whether other people like them or not. And that gave me some feeling of confidence that I am still on the right track. Trying to write poetry is like trying to make your own path through a wilderness. Every once in a while you get confused and you stop and ask yourself, am I going the right way? And then you might get a little psychic message coming to you from somewhere that tells you Yes, keep going.

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