I have really been struggling lately with my writing style. I want it changed. I want to move on but I feel trapped in it. I just completed writing a little chapbook of poems that I call Abraham Lincoln and Other Death Scenes, which I think with much bias is pretty stellar, but its style isn't much of a depature from The Man Suit, the manuscript I've been working on since oh say 2001 (after grad school). I like what I write, but it's getting tired. A formula (aaaaahh!) is beginning to develop. It is so very difficult to get my style to move along outside of any sort of writing community. I'm out of school (but going back in the Fall) and Bozeman is dead to poetry. A is a wonderful and eager reader, but she doesn't write herself. So, I don't see anyone else's creative process develop. I read and read, and then tends to be a good silent community for me. I suppose that's pretty similar to most of you non-students.
This past week I've taken a new approach. In order to drop those prosey narrative-driven odd and strangely sad poems from my subconcious that just creep onto the page everytime I sit down to write, I've forced myself to write in an opposite style (whatever opposite might mean). I've been writing very lyrical, rhythmic poems--poems that don't depend on narrative to get the reader through, but on rhythm and whatnot, which is something I don't think I've done since the 7th grade when I was writing about melting snow in the spring, gag. Narrative still creeps its odd little offputting and sad head in but I don't think I'll ever get rid of that, and honestly I don't want to. That's who I am as a poet and I'm not trying to change that identity necessarily. These new poems I've written are the blues, among other things. I've read a few at Spaceship Tumblers if you want to hear--just keep in mind these are my little evolutionary experiments. And I'm working with line breaks and the locations of individual words which is something I haven't done for a while. It's pretty refreshing. Hopefully, after a while of this, my poetry may land somewhere in the middle. Let me know if you have any words of wisdom.
Also, much to Tony's disappointment, I'm selling Octopus t-shirts. Not because I'm trying to make a buck or because I'm trying to promote the site or make it bigger than it is through some sort of unrelated marketing--I could care less about that and I know damn well Octopus is about poetry--but because I wanted one for myself. Thats all. And because it's fun to make a design. I got a sweet tooth for graphic design. Is that so wrong? So if you want something, even though I don't expect you to, buy it here. If you don't, don't. Aren't I a good salesman? How bout this: if I see you wearing one at AWP in a bar like setting, I'll buy you a beer.
Oh and I'll give the $2.50 or so I earn in profits to the children. They are our future.