Saturday, September 5, 2009

Update on first workshop, and a poem!

I posted an update on my first workshop over at the MFA Chronicles tonight if anyone wants to read it.

And, since Enru asked, here is the first poem I workshopped. We had to respond to the chapbooks, as I've mentioned, and then take one poem from one of those chapbooks and use it as inspiration for our poem. I appreciated the use of form in Jeffrey Harrison's book, and so I wrote a villanelle 'in response' to his villanelle.

Don’t Ask Don’t Tell

Although it feels empty, it’s never quiet here –
rustling leaves, cicadas, those critical crows.
I think maybe it is silence that I fear,

that I wouldn’t know what to do if all I could hear
was the beat of my heart, the way breath grows
to fill the emptiness. It’s never quiet here –

I fall asleep to the whine of insects beating near
my window screen, reaching toward the glow
of lamplight. I think it is silence that I fear,

even more than failure, no response, a deaf ear,
my mother’s refusal to hear her name even though she knows.
Although it feels empty it’s never quite here

that we meet. My mother will talk for a year
about our relatives, her garden, the climbing roses.
I think maybe it is silence that she fears,

or giving me a chance to tell her what she doesn’t want to hear.
Crows wake me early, my mother weeds beans in rows.
Although I feel the empty space between us it’s never quiet here
but I think maybe it is an inevitable silence that I fear.


JayTee said...

wow, i didn't even realize it was rhyming! quite an intriguing piece.

JayTee said...

oh and I'm jealous of your successful villanelle. I have yet to be able to write one that works for me. lol

Emily said...

Thanks, JayTee! I really enjoy writing formal poems sometimes; it's an interesting type of challenge, adding that layer of necessary structure.

Molly said...

It's always nerve-wracking, that first workshop, but once you get into a rhythm, it's so-good. I'm glad to hear your instructor prefers to figure the poem out as opposed to the nit-pick workshop method.

Emily said...

Thanks for the comment, Molly!

TMAR said...

Very nice. I love reading your work.