After Dorianne Laux’s Craft Talk

The Creative Writing program at ODU brings in a visiting writer each semester. This semester it’s Dorianne Laux (who you should definitely read, if you haven’t), and on Thusday she gave her craft lecture titled “The Marriage of Music and Meaning”.

This of course made me go back to my thesis and wonder whether I’m spending too much time in my head dealing with conceptualisms instead of the very real task of making music. Of course, the last poem that got published was written more in attention to sound than anything else: “god, you choke old stones down” has a great music (to me, at least).

And now, I just want to rewrite all the poems that don’t focus on that level of attention to music. I opened my thesis to the first page and realized the poem does have some level of music going on, but I lineated it to shut the melody down. And so, being a perfectionist, I spent about an hour rewriting it to bring out the music. This is a poem of just eight lines…

Here’s the original version:

after the storm

the sky is clear

and the night deep

the stars all are out

to wish good sleep

but who can sleep

with receding stars so bright

and the light finally settled

in eyes so far away

who could deny each photon

or its journey into coherence

And where it stands now:

after the storm

the sky is clear, the night is deep

with stars all out to wish good sleep,

but who can sleep with light so bright

settled in eyes so far away?

could i deny the journey,

each photon’s trials, every

gravity well bent on hunger?

its quest to find coherence,

not all-where, but in one place,

with me in bed, the night above,

and photons streaming through the window.

So, the last half still needs work, but I think the music is stronger than what it was. This short little poem opens the manuscript, so it has to be strong. At any rate, if this rewrite took an hour, I have lots more work to do, so back at it!

One Reply to “After Dorianne Laux’s Craft Talk”

  1. I agree, I think the music is definitely stronger. And a poem that i loved the way it was, i now like even more, so well done!

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