Wednesday, August 12, 2009
I've written a handful of poems in recent weeks about my childhood and teenage years: Proustian reminiscences, holiday snapshots, family portraits, that kind of thing. It's a well-worn genre within poetry, and that fact alone makes me worried. Is it the poetic equivalent of a mid-life crisis to suddenly start writing poems about one's youth?
They're not desperately bad, these poems. One has just been accepted at Poetry Review, and I'm fairly confident of placing a number of others in magazines over the next year. They are honest poems, written - thanks to a general lack of it in my family - without sentimentality. They appear to work well in a stand-alone lyric sense, and easily earn their place in my fourth collection.
Yet somehow I'm uneasy about having written them and about wishing to write more, which I definitely do. There seems to be a positive wellspring there, looking back at my past with older eyes, and any gush of new, publishable poetry must surely be welcome after twelve years in the game.
But am I really the sort of poet who writes 'nostalgia'?