You go your way, I'll go mine

My friend and her family and I were talking about Keats last night. Dead at 24 how could one man have so much work and be so young? I could tell you I have hundreds of poems around, in the electronic bed in which they lay, but would be mortified if all except for about 20-30 were published.
I also read an introduction to Dylan Thomas’ poems a while ago and he said there was so much about his past work that he wants to change, but he’s publishing them all together and he won’t change them because it won’t give him any time to work on new poems. He’d be revising his entire life.
It makes me curious to know if Keats had seen all that work published – if he did see most of that work published, what did he would think of it in print? People all over the world say they love it, but did he?

As artists I think we are always looking to the next, the unwritten poem, the new place our art is going to take us – I think if we aren’t there’s no possible way to expand ourselves and to grow our art and to make it better.
But what of the things already created? Do we collect them like old eggs and let them chill in the back of the fridge? Do we not publish out of fear we will always be chasing something better? Do we not care about publishing and carry on as is?
Rebecca Loudon has said we must love our work with everything we have. And I think she’s right. I would hate to enter into the world something backed with hatred or disgust or distaste. So I think perhaps the answer for me may be to write to love and write until I am so completely in love with each poem that even as I grow into the world (which I should) I can always look back on them in a place of love. I can part with my poems amiably without the fighting and the cheating and the ‘look how broken we are’.  You go your way and I’ll go mine. I’ll be able to say: I’ve gotten all I can from you, but someone somewhere will love you new and just the same.

Perhaps writing from this new place will enable me to put things into the world I can be proud of. No matter where I end up, they will always show me where I’ve been. No regrets.

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2 Responses to You go your way, I'll go mine

  1. I also took Rebecca’s words to heart, realizing that it may be possible to love our work for its earnestness, its lopsided look of a fallen cake. Perhaps, for me, it is about loving the call that brings me to the words, being able to take the process in my arms and yes, not putting anything out there that gives me less than a sense of completion – for the moment. Then on to the next.

    • rachvb says:

      I think for me it’s after the call. After I have written. How I will feel after the poem has been written. The call is almost like breathing for me. I have to do it or I might explode. But the crafting of the writing is what makes it writing, I think. It’s what makes a poem. I use to hate rewriting things. I thought it took away the urge that I felt in writing it in the first place – the god-like creating. But I’m learning as I go that the re-writing, the many many drafts are how we get to poem that we love or piece that we love. That’s where the real craft comes in. That’s what I’m trying to learn to make mine. And then of course once I do it will shift all over again…

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