In thinking about my portfolio due (thankfully!) the 14th of December, I was considering how poems ‘fit together’. Dr. Smith asked us to consider how one poem leads to another, the order we place the poems in.
This makes me nervous. No matter what poems I choose to pick (be it a specific set of science poems that “go” together, like a put-together outfit), I can’t imagine deciding how I’ll arrange them. Does each poem leave a lingering aftertaste, that affects the poem after it? How does it affect it? How do you decide, then, how to move from one poem to the next? Is it based on sound, emotion, content, narrative, narrator? What elements, what combination, do you use to connect your poems together?
Or is it more about the poet (not just in this case, but all cases) – showing how we’ve grown, through the process of these works? Do we save what we are most proud of for the end, to pack a punch, or put it at the beginning, to draw people into reading the rest? Do funny, sarcastic, cheeky etc poems work better for beginnings, so that people don’t leave our works behind as too sad?
In some respects, I see cases where – very clearly – I will want to put certain poems first. If I ever due a chapbook, where the vocabulary builds, the less vocab-dense poems will be at the beginning and the more dense at the end. Is this the same with content, however? Are all arrangements supposed to be building toward a final point, a message, a moral?
It is especially intriguing because, this semester, I’ve begun to branch out a little – write more specific scientific poetry and less word-nostalgia poetry, but poetry with narrative to it beyond the sounds of the words. In a showcase of several works, do I want there to be a cohesive thread so that one doesn’t jump from poem to poem with a spinning head (I did not mean for that to rhyme)?
How are you all thinking of arranging poems, and choosing poems to include?