Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Between Words

Playing with space when writing poetry appears to require some getting used to, if you come from the physically formless world of fiction writing, as I have. The latter doesn't demand you consider the shape of the piece, the way poetry does, and I'm taking as much advantage as I can of this additional means of word expression. Because you can have your plain fries, that's all well and good. But you can have cheese fries, too, and damn it, I'm going for the cheese fries.

I would think re-imagining the use of the page would be a cliche outside-the-box effort for anybody, really; we're all taught to read from left to right and write in paragraphs and stanzas. The idea that text can hold more power than just the meaning of its words - that the words themselves can visually coalesce into trails and shapes that contribute to the poem's message - is exciting. I've taken traditionally formatted poems that seemed like they were missing something and resuscitated them by allowing the words to escape onto the rest of the page.

I gather my faces
ride my Portuguese
out to sea

I gather my                       faces
            ride my Portugese
out to sea

Freedom of form and shape and language is refreshing. I write poetry with less boundaries than I did with fiction. I enjoy writing a poem with a purpose of shape, then following it up with a left-aligned, prose-y piece. I enjoy taking traditionally shaped poems and scattering the lines all over the page, and vice versa. I enjoy drinking a soy dirty chai while doing all of these things.

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