Tag Archives: Lynda La Rocca

Now or Then?

This past Saturday I attended a poetry workshop, here in town, conducted by Lynda La Rocca (Spiral, Liquid Light Press, 2012). During her introductory comments, she mentioned that writing poetry takes time; that it befuddles her every time someone shows offers up, “this poem I wrote on the way to this workshop/gathering/whatever.”  Lynda also mentioned a fairly renown and respected Colorado poet who posts a poem each day on their website. She admitted to this poet’s caliber and ability both being high, yet she still seemed a bit put off by the whole poem-a-day notion.

It wasn’t all that long ago that Write A Novel In A Year was in vogue. (And there is that smart-ass brat TC Boyle, who pretty much has been doing exactly this for quite some time—all the while having his short stories appearing regularly in The New Yorker, and teaching at University of Southern California.) And there’s that beloved writing bon mot: First thought, best thought. Too, how many of us have spent too much time on a piece, polishing and perfecting all the coursing vibrant life out of it?

Which way does it generally tend to be: hot off the press, or taking the time to allow the writing to come fully into its own? It’s my belief that, like so much (too much?) of life, it’s a case of, “all the above.”

I do belong to the group of writers who espouse the writing is best served when it’s done every day. And I think one of the benefits of this daily coming to your craft is the ability to quickly, sometimes immediately, hit paydirt, to sink below the superficial surface and be writing rich, mucky, fecund stuff. James Michener said he was a far better reviser than writer; but when the first draft that’s laid down is within sight of the final product, it make the revising and editing that much easier, simpler, and more effective.

You see, don’t you, how I’m saying it’s both? That the daily stuff, once you’ve been at it for awhile, can often arrive nearly fully-formed, but there’s still the finalizing of it that needs to be done.

I kinda-sorta know the poet Lynda mentioned, fairly well. I suspect that she doesn’t see her daily poems as truly finished. Producing 300+ poems a year, I’m also sure a good number of them, surely the majority of them, are indeed left alone as they are; however, I’m at least as certain she takes no small number of them and continues working on them. Letting them sit awhile, returning from time to time to continue working and playing with them. It’s not at all uncommon for her to make changes, based on comments she receives.

So, yes, she “publishes” a poem each day. But she’s still hasn’t “finished” all of them yet.

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Being Woven

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On the first morning of this month, I was in Telluride for a workshop led by Rosemerry Wahtola Trommer. I’ve known of Rosemerry for a good nine or ten years, but it’s only been within the past year I’ve begun getting to know her. One of the results of my having finally reached out to her was my being included in a Facebook poetry group.

I’m not much of an out-reachy sorta person—blame it on my being a powerful introvert. (Which may explain some of why I waited so long before contacting RWT, via a FB Friend request.) Too, I see myself as a teensy fish in the wide expansive pond that is Colorado writers.  (And an even teensier fish, still, when it comes to poetry.) So it was with something of surprise and delight when some members of the FB poetry group sent Friend requests to me. Fortunately, I was wise enough not to turn down such acts of wonderful grace. Two of these poets, Michelle Haynes and Amy Levek, live in Telluride, so while I was in town, I e-contacted each asking if they’d be available to meet. Amy was out of state, but Michelle agreed to meet me at her favorite hangout, and after having just gotten home from working all day(!)

Michelle had recently returned from having met another member of the poetry group, Debbi Kapp Brody, in her hometown of Santa Fe. As these things happen, Debbi had already contacted me, saying she’d be in Salida during the 4th of July weekend, and wanted to meet. Michelle’s words of high regard for Debbi confirmed my suspicions of the woman. And, sure enough, July 6th, I got to join Debbi and her husband, and also two local poets who knew Debbi already: Laurie James and Lynda La Rocca.

Within the same calendar week, I’d gone to a poetry workshop, met and gotten to know two other poets, and spent time with two other poets whom I already knew—three already-known poets, if you count the wisps of time I had with Rosemerry. Writing, as any creative art, can be isolating and insular. Add “powerful” introversion into the mix, and the need to connect with others, especially with those of your tribe, becomes essential. And for me, to be still more fully woven into the tapestry of other local poets made it seem more legitimate and true that I am a poet, never mind a writer also.

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