Welcome to where I am, where my kitchen's always messy, a pot's (or a poet) always about to boil over, a dog is always begging to be fed. Drafts of poems on the counter. Windows filled with leaves. Wind. Clouds moving over the mountains. If you like poetry, books, and music--especially dog howls when a siren unwinds down the hill-- you'll like it here.


MY NEW AUTHOR'S SITE, KATHRYNSTRIPLINGBYER.COM, THAT I MYSELF SET UP THROUGH WEEBLY.COM, IS NOW UP. I HAD FUN CREATING THIS SITE AND WOULD RECOMMEND WEEBLY.COM TO ANYONE INTERESTED IN SETTING UP A WEBSITE. I INVITE YOU TO VISIT MY NEW SITE TO KEEP UP WITH EVENTS RELATED TO MY NEW BOOK.


MY NC POET LAUREATE BLOG, MY LAUREATE'S LASSO, WILL REMAIN UP AS AN ARCHIVE OF NC POETS, GRADES K-INFINITY! I INVITE YOU TO VISIT WHEN YOU FEEL THE NEED TO READ SOME GOOD POEMS.

VISIT MY NEW BLOG, MOUNTAIN WOMAN, WHERE YOU WILL FIND UPDATES ON WHAT'S HAPPENING IN MY KITCHEN, IN THE ENVIRONMENT, IN MY IMAGINATION, IN MY GARDEN, AND AMONG MY MOUNTAIN WOMEN FRIENDS.




Monday, February 2, 2009

A PATCHWORK OF POEMS

For the past few days I've been assembling a new book of poetry, titled DESCENT, tenatively titled, I should add. Who knows how a manuscript might change over time and revision? Most of the poems are done, though I hesitate to call them "finished." Was it W.B. Yeats who said, "A poem is never finished, only abandoned"? Or was it Thomas Hardy? Whoever it was, let's say this is a manuscript of abandoned poems.

Right now it looks more like a quilt in the making--- pages of poems in various arrangements, spread over the bed.



With room for a dog or two, of course. Muddy paw prints illustrate some of the pages.




I'm still fiddling with a handful of poems and no doubt I'll ditch a few of them before the piecework is completed. Then the final print-out, one more read-through, something I always dread. Have I been fooling myself all along that this book is ready?

Is each individual poem as well-made as this quilted hotpad displayed on my kitchen wall?




Even more important, is the whole quilt of poems as eye-catching, as rich with imagery as this quilt on our dining room wall? I found it years ago at the Hambidge Center Gallery in Rabun Gap, Georgia.



When I can answer yes to these questions, I will consign the manuscript to the U.S. Postal Service.

Then the long wait will begin.

5 comments:

Vicki Lane said...

How in the world DO you know when a poem is finished? My few attempts get changed every time I re-read them. One could make a whole book, I think, on the evolution of a single poem.

Kathryn Stripling Byer said...

Well, Vicki, some poems might lend themselves to a whole book more than others. I'm wondering how far you might get with WCW's Red Wheelbarrow, for example. As for knowing when a poem's finished, I guess it's a decison made on a wing and a prayer. That's why I don't like re-reading my poems right after they are in print.

Glenda said...

I can never decide if a poem is finished. Just when I decide to send a poem, I read it over and begin rewriting again. My chapbook manuscript is still on my desk and waiting for me to pronounce it done.
Now that I know you have the same problem, Kay, I feel better about myself.

Susan M. Bell said...

Oh, I definitely agree with that sentiment, no matter who said it. Every poem I have written seems to need more work. I think sending them off is just a way of making ourselves stop messing with them. Of course, then we have the option of changing them around so it's like another poem that can be sent elsewhere. (The work is never done.)

Kathryn Stripling Byer said...

Glenda, you should always feel good about yourself!
And Susan, you are right--the work is never done. Deadlines and submissions do help us say, at least for the momen--basta! That's why I like deadlines. They are something concrete. Right now I am worrying over lineation. Susan, you asked me about that a few days back. It's probably the most worrisome thing in poetry-writing. And I have gone back and changed lineation months after thinking a poem was finished. We are all in the same labor--to make our words matter! And it takes a liftetime.