Listening to Carl & Emily on Writing

Listening to Carl Adamshick and Emily Kendal Frey speak in the WR 222 class last week, and talk about their poetry and processess, had me thinking about my writing and my own processes.

Carl talked about writing poetry as collage, about how he kept notebooks filled notes and fragments that he wrote down as they occured (or happened) to him. Writing tidbits until he had enough that he felt that he could put them together to make something greater than the parts. He talked about how he juxtaposed dissimilar images, to let the reader make the connections in their head. Putting together the bits he had already written, and then writing new parts to fill in the gaps where needed.

Carl’s approach isn’t dissimilar from my writing process, so much as it is in reverse. When doing prose I usually don’t go for dissimilar elements, but instead additive ideas and images that I have tinkered with and written down. Which makes me ponder trying things his way, see what comes out of it, in my writing the next time that I try writing poetry.

Emily described writing poetry as being like peeing, sometimes you get backed up and have to write and release what is inside you. Which I understand as that is entirely like my writing process. I always hear people talk about sitting down every day for a set hour of writing, but I never manage it. I usually end up with a bunch of ideas backing up in my head until I have to write them down to get them out of my head and out of my system.

On editing Emily talked about writing long poem, writing lots, and then cutting and editing to remove everything that isn’t “true”. Removing artifice, falsehoods, the extraneous bits written to look good but which clutter or mask the core of the poem. Cutting until what is left is something personal and revealing, no masks or falsehood.

My editing process… Is not that organized or directed. I tend to cut too much, cutting into the core of the poem and then having to write and re-write to replace what I felt was lost, and then having to cut that again, until I get sick of reading it and move on to writing something else.

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