Poetry readings

I’ve been writing a lot lately, finishing up my certification for the Good Listening Project. What’s funny for me about working on specific poems, with a goal, is that OTHER poems ALWAYS tend to show up at the same time and ask to be written. Sometimes they are just fragments, and sometimes, they are full-on two-pagers with a LOT going on.

I find that this process of letting these words out clears out my brain so I can focus more intently on the required project. Plus, it’s FUN to write for myself after writing so much for other people.

Today, I wrote these two first drafts in my own style, for myself(which IS going occasionally to include some NSFW language, just so you know). I even videoed them for posterity and so I could listen to how I read. I don’t love how I look on camera, but I think reading one’s own writing out loud is essential, because little changes always come out of the reading.

Another thing I do almost every time I have the time is draft on a typewriter. There’s a lot to unpack regarding why I prefer this method. Even when I start a poem on a device, or the computer, I almost always print it out and then type it out on my favorite Pica typeface typewriter so I can see what the lines look like WITHOUT the variable spacing of a computer page. Sorry trees… this is why I have a shredder. I grew up writing on a typewriter, not a computer, so the process is very different for me.

I definitely have a TYPE of work that I am doing right now — free verse odes, most of them with stanzas that run 4-6 lines long. For the Project, I tried to shorten my lines so that the specific way that we format our poems wouldn’t mean that I had to put everything into 4-point type. Sometimes there are limitations to the medium that we are trying to work in. I use a lot of broken lines and slant/internal rhyme, too. Sometimes I force myself to write more traditional forms just to practice. These are NOT those.

You can tell that I did one video at the beginning of my work day today and the second at the end. My living room is a friendly chaos of mostly books and papers, too many typewriters, animals, many comfy places to sit and read or watch soccer, dog supplies, random crap… yep, this is life as it is right now. I am getting ready to remodel two rooms of the house so I can get a roommate moved in, so things are going to be in chaos for a number of weeks. Oh, also, yes. St. Louis City SC is my team!

Thanks for watching.

Reading a spontaneous poem from the beginning of my workday today (Ramones playing in the background in the kitchen).
Reading a second poem written at the end of my workday today.
Talking about the difference in line spacing when drafting poems on the typewriter vs the computer.

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