14 Apr Slice of Life: “Slicing Poetry”
“What a perfect “slicing” poem!”
This response was such an Aha! I always share with students that writers need to make decisions once they have a topic in mind. Audience, purpose and genre are included in those decisions. As writers we not only have to think about what we want to write about, we need to decide which genre or structure will best express our topic to our intended audience.
In poetry, I think this is one of the reasons I was stuck. I was looking elsewhere for topics. I thought I had to have a deep thought about something or see something in nature in a new way. I struggled with the idea of having poet’s eyes. I never thought about a poem also being a slice of life. This has had me thinking all week. What if I thought about poetry in terms of a slice of life?
Maybe I need to stop looking for topics and realize poetry is hiding. It may just be hiding in some of my other pieces of writing. So I decided I would give it a go – it is poetry month after all:
Forgetting to remember
Clare…. Your daughter.
I don’t have a daughter.
Yes you do.
No I don’t.
Remembering to forget
Clare… just coming by to visit.
How are you?
Good. What’s new?
Remembering to forget
Forget she doesn’t remember
We are often concerned with students who get stuck writing about one topic. I once heard Katie Wood Rae share that this doesn’t worry her, after all, she has made a career writing about only one topic. I realize she’s right – many authors have a topic or genre they stick with over time. Going back to topics that matter to me and that I have written about in other genres may be helpful when I am writing in a structure that is not as comfortable or familiar to me.
This is a strategy I look forward to sharing with students. Rather than just accepting that some writers may “get stuck” I want to invite young writers to get stuck in a topic. If they use a familiar topic to scaffold writing in a new structure they may find this to be the entry point they need to find their voice in this new genre. It seems to be working for me … I am finding poems hiding in my other pieces of writing.