Friday, June 19, 2009

Place Maps

At that most recent meeting of The Manchester Chapter of The Connecticut Poetry Society I decided to speak about "place" and was surprised at how animated and interesting the discussion grew. It seems that the people there had not thought consciously about place in their poems and their lives and wanted to do so.

We identified many places: Physical place at the keyboard or writing pad, the room, the house, the neighborhood (I see my neighbor leave at seven every morning and even that affects how I write at that instant), the community, the city, the state, the country, the world, the cosmos; additionally, psychological place, mood, emotion, time all affect and define the "place" we work from and the places we put into our poems.

One poet wrote of climbing a tree to pick apples. We easily spotted the tree and the ground and the apples and then moved on to childhood which is when the picking occurred, and then she moved us into the factory where her mother had done piece work and where she had acquired rapid enough dexterity with her hands so that at an advanced age she could peel apples faster than her daughter (the poet). The poet was unaware of several of the places she was inhabiting or inserting into the poem as she wrote. This is part of the magic of writing-- that we don't know all that we are putting in to it.

As we write, an increased consciousness of place can deepen our work quickly and efficiently.

Study it; it's worth the effort.

So long for now.

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