Sunday, March 28, 2010

The lifespan of a poem

I had poems in the February edition of Pank Online. In "Facts About Marsupials," I take a stab at answering where poems begin. A couple of weeks ago J. Bradley, author of Dodging Traffic, interviewed me for PANK. He asked me where poems go when they die.

It's curious: there was a stage in my life where I was worried about where I'd go when I died. That stage has mostly passed. I don't know where, but it's less interesting to me than where I'll go while I live.

However, the life cycle of poetry is now very important to me. First there's the unpredictable gestation period. The poet can carry the first cells of a poem in them for years before they even know it's there. Then the actually birth may take a few minutes to several months.

Just a few back and forth talks and eventually the poems are sent out into the world to find a home. For the most part they become tempered by repeated rejection. When sent by mail they almost always return to the poet, who then must look them over for defects before sending them right back into the fray.

Hopefully, finally, the poem is accepted into the dormitory like pages of a literary journal. So many different poems, so many different types of writing. The poet can only hope that the poem is accepted by the other poems and by the other poets. Then, for a long time the poem remains in that one place. Very, very rarely it gets invited to hang out with other poems, in another place. Usually this happens within it's first year of life out of the poet's home. Other times the poem eventually finds a place to live with its relatives.

It's a strange life, and of course there's more to it than that.

If you're interested in where poems go when they die, or what the world would be like without typos, check out my interview over at the PANK blog. If you like it, if you makes you think of anything, leave a comment.

If you're not interested, sign up here. We have a gang of dinosaurs to kill.

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