Friday, 19 August 2011

And poetry - part 2

I listened to the Radio 4 'Great Lives' about Emily Dickinson today (it's here if listening to the BBC is something your location allows you to do). Programmes about Emily D are always heartening for those of us not succeeding too hugely as writers in our own lifetimes (even more so for those of us who are female and odd and who use... individual punctuation). The programme threw up a theory or two about her and featured this poem of hers at its very start:

I'm nobody! Who are you?
Are you nobody, too?
Then there's a pair of us—don't tell!
They'd banish us, you know.
How dreary to be somebody!
How public, like a frog
To tell your name the livelong day
To an admiring bog!

Emily Dickinson

Interesting.... and I'm guessing she wouldn't have been in the queue for Celebrity Big Brother (had it existed in 19th century Massachusetts). By the way, I've laid the poem out as I found it in my "Selected Poems" (Borders Classics 2006). I say this because I am aware there are different schools of Emily lay-out, as it were, but I am not nearly academic enough to remember the differences or to be, in all honesty, that bothered about them (though mess with my weird layout and punctuation at your peril... shameless double standards, I know). Here is the same poem read aloud:

And now I will get back to doing anything else but writing any poems. Ribbit.



Ken Armstrong said...

The phrase which springs into my head as I read these posts is this, "The lady doth protest too much, methinks." :)

Don't *prevent* yourself from writing a poem, on principle, if you feel one stirring, will you? I know you won't.

Rachel Fox said...

Interesting thought... it's possible I'm just being lazy too (with me that's always a possibility).

Today I just finished a book about reading to children ('The Reading Promise'). Think you might like it Ken - I'll be writing about it next week or so.

hope said...

I have not been computer went nuts! I've just discovered that my Blog List wasn't working right...I didn't think you'd started a new blog and stopped all in a week! :)

As for writing poems, do what YOU feel is best. Personally, I think "I dunno" often follows the death of someone close. Life doesn't feel the same because it's not. Your Mom played a huge part of your life and that space must be noticeable every day to some extent.

Grief is personal. There's no timetable or "right way" to handle it. When, and if, you feel like poetry again, it'll flow. I hope you don't feel that writing it is mandatory before that point arrives.

Take care of you...and life will unfold at your pace. Whenever I feel myself with an "I dunno" moment, it's because I'm somehow out of sync with what's really important in life vs. what everyone thinks I ought to be doing. We rush through too much of it as it is. Take your time. We'll still be here. xx

Rachel Fox said...

You're such a sweetheart! And you're not wrong - there is no rush.


Rachel Fenton said...

Heyup, I'm less a fan of ED, though my daughter is surely a distant rellie - such gloomy poetry.. I write what you feel like writing - too much trying to fathom owt just gets in the way, I find.

Rachel Fox said...

I don't find her too gloomy - and I like the sharpness of her sometimes.

The presenter of the programme added after the poem's reading something like "or should that be blog these days?" So witty...

As for what I feel like writing... as I said in the last post... I just feel a bit directionless in this area... and before we went away I was quite happy working away on poetry regularly... so I feel a bit... unemployed. And look what's happened to my punctuation now!! Worse than ever!


Titus said...

I like Dickinson and find her sparky and sparkling! I do tend to the black though.

How come hope is so homespun wise?
'Whenever I feel myself with an "I dunno" moment, it's because I'm somehow out of sync with what's really important in life vs. what everyone thinks I ought to be doing.'
It's that 'ought', isn't it? Because most times we create for ourselves the 'ought' that we think others are thinking. Oops, losing it now, I'll just insert some dashes and retreat - - -
Marion was talkng about plateaus. I like wandering the veldt and every so often finding a waterhole. I've gone about three months without finding one now.

Rachel Fox said...

I think it might be partly that my Mum gave me a lot of 'ought's (in a very quiet way... "oughtn't you be doing something marvellous today, dear"... she once suggested I be Prime Minister, no really). And now that pressure has gone and I can do sweet nothing... and it's not that I've not done it before (just now I don't even need a cover story!).


Anonymous said...

I really need to read more Dickinson, I think.

My niece has that "I'm nobody" as her hotmail address, but I did not know the full poem.

I had to laugh though - you could insert an "l" into the final word and it would bring it right into the 21st Century.

Thanks for reading my poem. I needed that.


Rachel Fox said...

You're welcome.