Friday, December 23, 2005

writing poetry

My apologies to those of you who periodically drop by, since I've been remiss in my posting for a few days. But it's good news, folks. I've been writing instead; writing poetry, that is, rather than prose, my more usual poison these past few years.

I started writing poems again after a long and difficult hiatus about two years ago, just after the birth of my fifth child, and although it was only a poem or so a month at that stage, it's now begun to snowball; poems are coming thick and fast, sometimes several a day, though of course not all are successful. But at least I have a far better idea these days of the sort of poetry I want to write and should be writing.

When I was writing this rapidly before, in the late nineties when I was putting my first collection together, and also in the year or so immediately following its publication, when four or five poems a day was not unusual, the ratio of throw-outs to must-keeps was much higher. Now I feel early on in a poem that it's not happening and either kill the whole thing without continuing, or write up what I've got and mark it as 'unfinished', just in case I want to work on it again later. And the standard of the poems I do finish is much higher. This is a blessed relief, believe me, because for some years after my first collection came out I was not able to put pen to paper at all - not to write poetry, that is. Hard to explain why, but I started suffering from a sort of poetaphobia. (Probably the wrong word - fear of poets rather than poetry itself! - but you get the general idea.) It sounds ridiculous now, but just the mention of poetry would make my palms sweat. I do still get nervous about poetry on occasion, for one reason or another, but not actually when I sit down to write!

So I'm extremely pleased to be writing again, and so fluently. I just hope it lasts! In the meantime, since I probably won't get a chance to post again before the day itself arrives, please do have a peaceful and merry Christmas, and for those of you who, like me, will be slaving over a vast family turkey and all the trimmings etc. on Christmas Day, do remember to enjoy yourselves ...

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