friday roundup on sunday: five marks, the right questions, and ‘the doors you have walked through and thought / I’m home’

Not home

Reader, yesterday I walked through a door and thought, I am so not home! On Friday I met up with a dear friend from Minnesota who was staying on the coast. I stayed with her and we caught up and took in the astounding scenery. I slept in until 9:15 — a feat I haven’t accomplished since college. All in all, a lovely 23 hour tour, but I was scrambling to leave the Peninsula Town on Friday, so here’s the roundup better late than never. I’ll keep it brief since Husband has just walked through the door with warm bagels.

five marks  Somewhere, somehow, I came upon this post last week (two weeks ago?): “Five Marks of Oft-Rejected Poems.” I actually want to quibble with the title of this, which I think should be “Five Oft-Observed Marks of Rejected Poems,” but nonetheless, this strikes me as a helpful list to run through as you’re finishing up revisions. My favorite bit of the post is: “Endings are hard, man. Like drawing hands.”

the right questions This week I was reminded about the importance of asking the right questions — another maxim that works for poetry and life. A po-friend and I were talking about our poems, how “finished” or “sendoutable” they were, and discovered through our conversation that some of the more sendoutable poems did not feel as important or necessary to us. It reminded me that it’s often not helpful or productive to ask ourselves (or our po-friends) “Is this a good poem?” Instead, as a reader of this blog so helpfully pointed out to me, ask: “Do I believe in this work?” Another question I’ve learned to ask myself is “Is this work/poem necessary?” I have many poems that are or could be quite good that I’ve set aside because they don’t feel as important emotionally as other poems. Both of these questions move away from the fraught, and somewhat subjective, issue of what’s good/what’s not, to evaluate the work at a more fundamental level. I’ve also found these questions to be enormously helpful in life as I’m prioritizing how to spend my time — writing life or otherwise. Do you have other helpful questions you ask yourself about your work and/or your life? If yes, I’d love to hear about them in comments.

‘the doors you have walked through and thought / I’m home’  This week, poet Donna Vorreyer has some poems up at wicked alice, and I really fell for Many Houses, Many Windows. I love that this poem begins in the negative: “Not my house. Not my windows. Not my sorry / story… ,” the admissions the speaker makes as the poem moves down the page, and the not-lives imagined at the end. And speaking of homes, Donna recently found a home for her first full-length collection of poems forthcoming from Sundress Publications. Many congratulations, Donna!

And now, I am so home. There is laundry. There are dwindling supplies of T.P. and milk. There are four small people, soon to be five (ours and the nephews). There is a very thick stack of school paperwork for me to read through. Happy Sunday and may you always have many doors to walk through and think, I’m home.

2 thoughts on “friday roundup on sunday: five marks, the right questions, and ‘the doors you have walked through and thought / I’m home’

  1. Thank you so much for your kind words – the poem you mention above is one that I have believed in for a long time. It is an integral part of the manuscript, and I want to thank you for providing so much inspiration to me and many other readers. ❤

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