Wednesday, April 22, 2009

The Art of Work (and some news)

Still keeping up with the PAD challenge, though I haven't written anything super exciting the past few days. This whole experience has been very good for me though. Not only have I really gotten into the habit of writing every day, but it's been good for me to write on some different subjects and to write without feeling like the end result has to be perfect or even good. Going into the Poem a Day challenge, I gave myself permission to write some really bad poems. As long as I wrote something every day, that was okay; I've been trying not to overthink the prompts and just go with whatever comes to mind. Some of the poems have come easily, others I've struggled with. Some I've known were complete crap, but others have surprised me in good ways.

I read two more of these newbies on Monday at the Poetry Forum: "Easter Morning" (the prose poem I referenced but didn't post in its entirety last week) and "White, Through Four Seasons" which I linked to. Got good responses, but they could both use some edits I think.

But here's the big news: I found out on Monday that I won 3rd place in the William Redding Memorial Poetry Competition! It's an annual contest sponsored by the Poetry Forum and Pudding House Publishing. My friend Nathan actually won first place - go Nathan!!! He gets a featured reading at the Poetry Forum in 2 weeks. The 2nd and 3rd place winners also get to read that night in shorter spots, so that'll be exciting!

Anyway, here's today's PAD poem. The prompt was to write a work-related poem.

The Art of Work

When I was young, to be called lazy
was the greatest insult. Like robots
my parents valued efficiency and hard work
at the expense of anything else.
Creativity was unnecessary unless it meant
a new way of cooking dinner or a faster method
of clearing brush or harvesting corn. The arts
were luxuries we could hardly afford.

A working writer is an oxymoron
in my father's eyes. There is no sweat
involved, no dirt, he sees no danger.
I can not explain that art is a blade
turned inward, two-edged and shining,
an artificial intelligence that cuts to the truth
leaving the artist in tatters, sweating
and exhausted after a hard day's work.


P. said...

Congrats, Emily. And if you keep up with lines like "art is a blade/turned inward" then you'll be going beyond 3rd place in no time.

Emily said...

Thanks, I appreciate the comment!