Friday, September 16, 2005

Wave

Is it nuts to obsess over obsession? Probably. Well, I'm not nuts, not certifiable, not just yet at any rate. But I have been thinking a lot about the forces that shape the poems one writes, the poems one cannot help but write. I'm not a huge fan of Mark Jarman's work but, oddly, the first poem of his I ever read has stuck with me over the years. It was called "Groundswell," a poem, ostensibly, about learning to surf, paddling out on the board, when an older boy, an accomplished surfer, swims by with ease on his way to meet the waves. Spelled out this way, it's kind of obviously an ars poetica but it never really announces itself as such until near its end. In its way, it's also about returning to what is brightest, strongest, hardest, most compelling in whatever way that resonates most deeply. And so I've been thinking about my groundswell/s, and my own touchstones, my own obsessions, if you will. It's easy to become distrustful, to fight against them, which I've done, but I tend to think there's nothing one can do. You're imprinted, stamped, by life. You might as well honor that fact in your writing.

4 comments:

Pamela said...

This is a very good reading of "Groundswell." I'm a huge fan (and former student) of Mark Jarman. I think what a poet returns to again and again is aftershock.

Ivy said...

Hi Paul, I've just listened to your poem on miPOradio and really, really enjoyed it.

Cheers!

Paul said...

Oh, I forgot I was on there! Thanks!

Laurel said...

That's a really good poem I think. I remember it in John Jones' voice... sitting on the porch at 858 Oak St.... those last lines...


"...and we knew it."