Monday, December 11, 2006

Scribbling it Down

Scavella has had the idea "to post a poem in progress — yes, one of mine — for people to see it in its various states of undress and to watch and contribute to the process," which sounds worth following.

This made me think of how poems progress, from that elusive initial spark to getting something down on paper. I tend to draft a lot of my poems on my computer these days, but now and again, I resort to paper and pen. The sonnet I wrote for this week's Sonnet Sunday, Bethlehem, began with two-and-a half lines in my head that I transferred to the computer screen, and then I switched to pen and paper. The resulting chaos is below.



















As you can see, my mind was not in good shape on Sunday (I think you can tell that, even if you can't read any of it - but if you click on the picture, you can read it, I think)! I then switched back to the computer again. When I feel I have a reasonable degree of coherence in a poem, I call it a first draft. And if it's Sunday, I post it to this blog. The poem isn't at all finished, but I am often surprised at how persevering with a page full of scribbles can at least eventually end up with 14 lines of rhymed iambic pentameter.

6 comments:

Colin Will said...

I was going to do something similar recently on my website, and I got as far as uploading the page, with the scribbled MS, some research notes, and some images of the subjects. Then a day later an editor accepted the finished poem for publication, and I had to take it down pronto. I'll maybe try again with a poem not quite so good!

Anonymous said...

Sorry guys - less is more in these cases. Let's see you in your gladrags, not your punders. It's internet self-indulgence, eh?

Rob Mackenzie said...

Good stuff, Colin. No danger of this happening to me with this poem - not yet anyway.

Anonymous - I tend to post only early drafts to this blog. It's a blog of process, not completion. I hope it's of interest to others. It's never going to be of interest to everyone.

neepheid said...

Heh, looks like a ransom note :)

It's been a while since I had a good scribble, computer editing is too easy, and too hard to (be bothered to) keep revisions :(

Rob Mackenzie said...

neepheid - I keep a notebook for scribbling, but I usually draft on the computer.
Thanks for commenting. I had a look at your poems on your site. I'll have a closer look soon. There are a lot of poems there.

neepheid said...

There are a lot of poems there.

To save you unnecessary reading - anything pre-2004 is there for comedy value :)