Wednesday 1 October 2008


Today some sort of routine is resumed. Too much has been going on which has nothing to do with writing, commitments to others. Also some business hanging over me which was originally to be completed long ago and which is still going on. People to be overseen and chased up. It is just how things are.

Looking back reveals how necessary peace of mind is for writing. Knowing that there are just three hours to write in and that then it will be necessary to jump up and deal with the so-called real world means that writing may be unfocussed during those three hours. Writing this blog is my favourite diversion from writing poems.

Today the 20 min free writing exercise: only carried out three times in September, not counting the times we wrote in class. Poems have been written but not finished, in the sense that more work is needed - or maybe they should be chucked out?

Taking my writing book to bed with me in the evening can work well; by then nothing more can be done about all the other stuff, and my head is clearer, less anxious. But tired, which is why it is not a good long-term strategy.

Have been reading over the last weeks a medley of poetry, Robert Lowell, Kate Camp's Realia and some of Elizabeth's poetry collections. These last have intriguing titles taken from poems in the collection: You're very seductive, William Carlos Wiliams (1978, John McIndoe) and The Legend of Marcello Mastroianni's Wife (1981, Auckland University Press and Oxford University Press). Re-reading them several times brings more enjoyment, more understanding, and also a clearer perception of how the number of words can be reduced - what can be pared off, how to leave space for the reader's imagination, rather than pinning it down with detail. That may be a new insight, or is it an old one which has returned with greater power?

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