Sunday, July 1, 2007

Visual, visceral

This weekend, we took the ferry and spent some time on Vashon Island. While driving around the island, I drank in all the scenes: water and mountains and marinas and cyclists and thick woods and the occasional horse or some sheep.

I tried to remember all the images that I was seeing and I thought about how—although poetry evokes all the senses—it often relies heavily on the visual, what we've seen, and what we remember we've seen. I'm pretty sure that in my own poetry, I seek to bring forth what I've seen.

Yet recently someone describe one poem that I wrote as visceral. That intrigued me, because I tend to think of visceral as both raw and physiological. It made me wonder how that translates into a poem (regardless of subject matter). Is it a word choice? Is it the sounds of the words? A Saxon versus Latin approach? Or is it an underlying feeling that surfaces just under both subject and language?

How do you go for, or bring forth, the gut?

What senses do you look for, or try to open, in a poem?

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