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Writing Stats

I finished updating my writing stats from last year. Good to get that out of the way. It makes me revisit the question of: What does it mean when someone says they composed a poem?

When someone says they haven’t written a poem in months, is that literal? How high is the critical bar in defining poem?
– sent a piece thru draft 40 into something complete?
– put fragments into something cohesive?
– sat down with intent to write and tapped something into a computer?
– wrote and come away with something that pleased enough to show someone else?
– caved in the resistance against the head drumming and let words have their way to draft something that is or could be something?
– composed something magic that merits the word poem (or form word of haiku or sonnet or whatnot)? (unlike the dozens of failed attempts which they aren’t mentioning?)

When not currently writing a poem, what fills the gaps between actions or instrumental language? Collecting fodder, of course. If nothing is happened and nothing is better understood, hopefully nothing is written unless the process iself is to uncover something useful.

Why are poems the useful angle of forms? I have to see ideas visually to physically manipulate them to really understand what I’m thinking. It’s a by-product of how my brain words. I tend to write copiously online and off, paper and screen, because that’s how I process best, verbally, visually. The more I say the clearer my headspace seems to get.

There have been a couple dozen goose egg months over the past 15 years of anything I’d rubber stamp as complete and about as many months over the last 20 years with none scratched down.

That isn’t to say each poem counts as a good poem, but everything counts as a measure of being in the process.

Maybe other people can compose and perceive and process without formalizing into words, distill inside their heads, come to comparable oblique understandings enacting with their bodies, or in stories, written or oral, or use their creative energies to hold beauty or fight the existential questions or observe and know what they have seen. When I write prose it doesn’t usually impact how much poetry I write. Generally if I am communicating outwards, every form causes momentum on every form.

My bar may be low. Some poems I don’t transcribe or count. Fragments I don’t count. It’s an intuitive, or maybe arbitrary measure.

Where’s my line in saying it is done is more of problem to determine. Some things are just communication to self that may have line breaks like a poem but fail in poetic terms. That’s fine. It’s a wonky factory with worms* pulled back to the line to be recanned into new recipes.

No earthworms were harmed in the making of this poor metaphor.

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