Chasing Poetry

I wrote a quick post for the VERSeOttawa blog, and I thought it would also fit here, thus I’m cross-posting:
I have a question for anybody reading this: Where do you find your poems?
I don’t mean “where do you find inspiration”. Inspiration is all over the place. The antique refreshments trolly sitting in my living room with the fancy wooden inlay: inspiration. The falling snow and the minus-27 temperatures and the walk I took early this morning: Inspiration. Idle No More: Inspiration.
Inspiration is everywhere.
What I’m asking is what does it for you. Does it take heartache and emotional turmoil for a poem to come out of you? Does it take a deadline[1]? Do you need to sit yourself down in Raw Sugar and refuse to leave until you’ve got something, anything, written into what might qualify as the first draft of a poem? Does it take months, even years, of having a myth or an event or a piece of family history percolating at the back of your mind before – blamo – a poem falls out of your head whole-cloth onto the page? Does it take hanging out with other poets, listening to their work, to get the words flowing? Does it take ritual? Does it take hand-writing? Does it take cutting yourself off from the internet for a week and then opening your notebook *before* you open your laptop? Does it take bouncing through fourteen blog posts about Topic X, or playing Wikidrift for three hours, before you wind up writing a poem about Topic X as seen through the lens of some solar phenomenon you got to after entry-hopping from Adam Lambert or Polar Bears?
A jazz musician (I want to say Louis Armstrong, but it might have been someone else) once said that finding tunes was easy, you just reached up and plucked them out of the air. I feel like, as a poet, I’m working a bit like a trapper or a hunter. How do I set the mood, the day, the environment, so that I’m prepared and ready and in the right place at the right time to catch a poem as it comes flying through my head.
Maybe you have a different aproach, a different way of relating to your writing/composition process.
Do you chase poetry? Do you seduce it? Do you build it out of bricks?
Let me know.

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Filed under poetry, writing

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