[Poem a Day] “Subtle Acts of Self Preservation”

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Reading a lot more lately, and I think it’s making me double back on my own work with a bit more of a critical eye.

As a lot of you might know, I’ve been working on putting together a debut collection for the past few months, and about two or three months ago, I had already pulled together about fifty that I liked enough at the time – pieces that I felt showcased the best of what I had to offer as a new author.

But lately, sinking into book after book I’ve been picking up at the old Metuchen book store, I’m feeling a bit differently. It’s not as though I’m ashamed of the work that I made, and I don’t think I’m full on comparing my work directly to the pieces that I’m reading. It’s just making me realize that I’m still developing my particular sound – the poems that I put up three months ago aren’t necessarily pieces that I would write now. Thinking of reassessing the entire project and trimming some of the fat – taking out a lot of the short form I used to write and putting in more of the pieces that sound more like me, and less like where I started.

[Poem a Day] “Death and Glass”

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The dead of winter really makes me miss falling asleep to the sound of crickets outside.

I’ve always been the kind of person to pass out with something in the background. Usually it’s a video, or an audiobook, or when I get lazy, just my computer fan buzzing away into the night. I like to think all those things are just placeholders for crickets and a nice breeze, though.

[Poem a Day] “A Window Pane Somewhere”

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Gregory Alan Isakov, one of my favorite musicians, once described his writing process as less an act of structuring a story and finding a way to put it into his songs, but more a practice like describing a dream after you’ve woken up from it. You’re left with bits – these images that stand out and persist into the waking world and you’re left to try and sort through them while they’re fading away all the same.

I feel like that sometimes. I use vague slips in my work a lot – stop just short of describing a place, a feeling, a thing, and drop a “something” instead because the image isn’t completely clear to me. It’s something floating in the haze – I can guess at what it is, but I can never be too sure.

[Poem a Day] “The Light Through The Shades”

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Finally finished reading the first of the two poetry books I picked up at that old bookstore I was telling you guys about. It’s called The Cop Who Rides Alone by Ross Martin for anyone who’s wondering, and it’s definitely got my recommendation.

There’s just something about wry, choppy, imagistic freeverse that just gets me every time, and reading this definitely has me trying to work different angles into my own work.

Thinking of heading back to that store again this week – picking up one or two more small collections. I’d hate for my queue to run dry.

[Poem a Day] “Lingering Space”

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Unrelated, but my brother was telling me something about an application form he was filling out for Stanford the other day.

Apparently one of the questions was “List five things about yourself”.

Kid puts down:

1. Sisyphus

2. Pushing

3. A

4. Rock

5. Uphill

 

I don’t know if he actually wanted to get into Stanford in the first place, but he just might be a better poet than me.