Friday, January 15, 2010

Trying to stay in good form


I have three (possibly bad) versions of one villanelle, and I've been thinking a lot about accessing the truth in a form.

It's one thing to write a poem in a form, and to make choices to fit that form. But I think that for me, it's too easy to then say, "It fits the form; it's done" when maybe it isn't really getting at that truth. It's pretty and it sounds pretty and it looks good on the page, but it isn't really complete. It isn't leading me deeper.

Maybe I'm just feeling extra nervous because I'm working on a villanelle—a form that has eluded me for decades. Each stanza, each repetition, needs to lead the reader deeper, whereas I feel like my own efforts just keep circling back to the beginning. (And then all those rhymes!)

I'll keep working on it.

How do you balance a form with depth or truth or what you think that poem is screaming to say? Okay, I feel kind of stupid even asking that, but I'll ask it anyway.

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