Sunday, November 1, 2009

A clean sweep

Last month, somewhere past the exit to Bakersfield, I suddenly felt like throwing out all my poems—everything, except for the poems in the manuscript (and I'm even going to pitch one of those, to rewrite later or just plain throw away).

Recently, over on The Word Cage, Mary Biddinger asked about
throwing away old poems. In her post, she drew a distinction between "outgrowing the poems" and "no longer meaning them."

If I can make that distinction for myself, I think I'm trying to outgrow my poems. For the most part, I still mean them, but I'm trying to open the way I approach a poem, to grow. And I felt that these old (some of them embarrassingly old) poems didn't reflect that. They were keeping me in the past.

So I spent yesterday dragging almost all of them into an Old Stuff folder, even filing away my OneNote drafts. I felt cleaner, lighter.

Then I dashed out to the store, brought home a pumpkin, and carved it up quickly.

This morning is November 1, which is one of my favorite days. Now it's time for me to take the plunge and start some new work, explore where my poems might go.

Do you ever feel like starting over? Does that make you feel exhilarated or scared—or both?

No comments: