Near the End
Today is the last scheduled day of classes. I looked at the faces of the students in my classes on Tuesday and made the executive decision to hold extended office hours in lieu of a class on Thursday. They didn't seem grateful, just relieved. I suppose at this point in the academic year I shouldn't look for gratitude, especially after what I put those students through. ;-)
So here I am. Office hours. Nothing to do but blog.
I returned my first page proofs to the press today. It was very interesting to see Requiem in this form for me. A kind of distancing took place as I was reading for a misplaced punctuation here, a typographical error there. The process was mathematical and objective--a matter of making sure page numbers in the TOC matched with page numbers in the document.
What I must say, though, is that I think I did a pretty good job of structuring this book--more so than the previous books. Furious Lullaby was a relatively interior book. The poems were meditative and therefore it was difficult to build the inertia to move the book forward. The aubades that fill the pages of Furious collectively constructed a narrator who was displaced. Unsure.
The big distinction between Furious and Requiem is that while a lot of the poems in Requiem do exist in the interior, they are clearly grounded in a real place with the real and active process of revisiting the past.
Furious is a metaphysical manuscript in the most spiritual sense, attempting to locate the self in the world, and Requiem's metaphysics exist in its attempt to locate the self in the past.
But more importantly, the way I write has changed quite a bit. My lines have gotten longer. The way I think about lines has gotten longer. The way I think has gotten a bit more tangled. Perhaps all of these things have led my work to these odd syntactic/linguistic places.
I'm still interested in clarity, but I'm more interested in clarity as it appears in the new complexities of a sentence.
I have a very tall thermos filled with black coffee next to me and I've been taking hits out of the coffee lid for the past two hours. I don't know what I'm saying, but it sounds big and proper.
Shonen Knife. I wish I saw them here in Bellingham.