Responding

One thing I’ve noticed in the last year or so is that I’ve tried to move from always the autobiographical moment for my poems (though that’s never simply been the case) to some more orchestrated and pre-meditated kinds of poems. So, I wrote some poems in RESPONSE to other poems, notably some poems in an Irish anthology I had (Twentieth Century Irish Poems edited by Michael Longley) and later a New Zealand anthology.

In some cases the response has been a kind of ‘answer’ to a poem. At other times I’ve just used the title or an image, or even the subject to begin a new, mostly un-related poem of my own.

Today, I was thinking again of something Chris Wallace-Crabbe said in a talk he gave at Frankston a year or so ago. He was talking about how attractive it might be to be a sculptor rather than a poet; to work with something tangible, to undergo a physical effort at the making. I liked the idea; I know the feeling. Imagine coming in the morning to a thing half-made, real, tangible, physical, that you could walk around. Today, I worked on that poem for a little while. I dedicate it to Chris Wallace-Crabbe and it begins like this:

To be a sculptor

would be to arrive at a room

full of space and light

in the cold morning,

to a rough hewn object

tangible as touch.

Maybe I’ll post the poem when it’s finally done.

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