Friday, July 21, 2006

Musings on a Non-linear Narrative Poetics

Here's a little thought that amused me as I wrote it; part of an on-going poetics entitled "Musings on a Non-linear Narrative Poetry."

Sometimes I start with the poem's title, and, try as I might, the poem seems to go its own way. What emerges is something very different than what I wanted or expected. For the reader, such a title might seem to be a road marker on the wrong road! Still, I often keep it, because it was the place from which I thought I was beginning my journey. Therefore, the connection, while not direct or linear, is important.

In a similar manner, we may begin a journey from a place we don't know so well, or perhaps from a place we don't know as well as we thought we knew it. We keep asking, "is this the right road?" Or we keep asking, "how can I find the right road?" All the while we are taking pictures of the landscape and of each other, but it's important to remember our doubts, our lostness, our wonder, even if that's not the essential purpose of our travels. It is as if we thought we were heading north from Caesaria to go to Rome, yet somehow we ended up in Yavneh outside of Jerusalem. We look around startled, and maybe think, "hey, this isn't where I thought I was going, but it's an interesting place to be." Or maybe we're just disgusted that things turned out so poorly. That night, or a decade later, we look at the pictures we took on the road, and remember our remarkable, or pitiful, “Journey to Rome.”

A journey, which, don't forget, is really a metaphor for writing poetry.

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