Part of this is dwelling in novel-land…feeling like I have a permanent visa there.
However, something more curious is going on that I’m interested in. Because I don’t really feel blocked at all. But the field in which the lines live remains uncentered. This could be considered the kinesis of the poem, what animates it from start to finish. And it has tended to be wobbly. Attempts at narrative in poems have become too discursive, and the discursions have tended to fall flat.
Finally, I do think there is something else positive in this. For a long time I relied on what could be generously be considered jokey lines…puns, wordplay, the clever baubles of language. I don’t really feel excited about the very use of those anymore. The poem is something more difficult (which doesn’t mean it still can’t be fun) to delineate. The axes that I had written oppositional lines for so long against–taking a place/seat in the avant garde tradition of disassociation and dispersion of language–now feels pointless. The formal techniques, what are they tied to? Having poems “accepted”? This isn’t to say that poetry, the right poetry, is powerless…far from it. It’s just that I see so much of the dissociative techniques being used in the field of the field, so to speak. That is to say, poems as extremely conscious chits in the occupational realm of poetry. Which is one reason that contemporary poems about poetry, as a general rule (though there are certain exceptions) drive me fucking crazy.
I suspect that maybe some of this also has to do with the fact that relatively recently I finished a 165 page fucking poem. Maybe? There is the very real, no looming possibility that I will never write a poem as good as that ever again. And when I say good I mean, good for me. It did me good and made me/helped me change the way I think about myself and the place in the world. It’s a much different proposition than in a novel, and as I try to squirm around in the vast oceanic space of the novel’s potential and try not to drown, I have to remind myself that it’s all a matter of scale. Of the field. The white space of the style. Perhaps this is all at last moving away from the final imitative stages of a long tutelage. But I am speechless. What can I possibly say?