in which a silent room of slim shady’s wait for the real one to stand up first

“Okay, thank you. Goodbye,” I said nervously upon hanging up the phone after speaking with a professor I know. Satisfied with my pseudo-professionalism, I looked over at my friend and realized she was silently giggling at me.

“What?” I asked, setting my phone down on the dining room table.

“It’s just funny. I mean, your voice gets so much higher and sweeter when you’re talking to real adults. It’s like you’re switching personalities,” she responded, proceeding to return to her homework.

She was so right. Lately, I’ve been considering “voice” and what that actually means in the world of poetics. After spending nearly a year pinpointing precisely what a “Grace poem” is, I’ve been a bit afraid that I will never be able to successfully deviate from it. To combat this, I made a list of the different voices I have around different people in real life: the voice only my friends and family know (and hate), the quiet and serious voice, the voice I use when Johnny bites Kenny in my second grade classroom, the voice I use when speaking with my dear Great Aunt Bonnie, the voice I use in every dreaded class presentation, the voice I use when someone knocks on the public bathroom door and I, for a moment, forget how to speak humanly.

After writing said list, I started to generate poems from different voices, and ended up narrowing in on the sarcastic and witty asshole that lounges in the La-Z-Boy between my brain hemispheres, always making delicious puns in the wrong context or getting nine-year-old Grace out of trouble by making Mom laugh. Writing with wit was an exercise in restraint, especially in the excitement of Taylor Swift-ing the shit out of someone whom I can only hope will someday stumble across a published version of my most recent poem and feel, like, real human emotions or something. Anyway, it was refreshing to get something out there that didn’t follow my own footsteps.

I think biting humor is a great place to start, but I’m excited to keep attempting to access different voices and come at poems from varied angles. For all of you lovely poets out there, what are ways in which you defy your own normal and “try new things?” I could always use more inspiration.

Oh, and if my ex-boyfriend ever Google searches me…since this is a public blog and all…I’m doing pretty damn well and you should think twice before wronging a poet next time.

See y’all in class! 🙂

3 Replies to “in which a silent room of slim shady’s wait for the real one to stand up first”

  1. Grace,
    Wow, I totally understand what you mean by “Grace Poems” because I too struggle with breaking away from my classic “Bri Poems”. All of my poems tend to look the same or have the same themes. Every time I try and sit down to write, I say to my self “write something different” and I end up clicking away at my keyboard thinking I produced something so different and unlike all my other pieces but I end up reading it over and realizing I’m back to where I started, another “Bri poem”. I’m interested by this theme of voice. I think something we can benefit from to help us stray away from our typical poems is writing a piece from a perspective that’s completely unlike what we usually write about. So for me I would pick the perspective of a stranger or an outsider. Maybe changing perspectives can help us but hey it’s totally up to you what you feel is best for you! But great blog post, I really connected with this one.

    Bri Forgione

  2. Ya know what you’re doing, Grace? You’re doing what Pentatonix does: writing things that all sound different from each other but still maintaining part of your poetic voice. I admire that you feel adventurous enough and secure enough in your poetic voice and skill to do that.
    Interestingly, based on the one nonfic piece of yours I’ve read, your nonfic voice differs from your poetic voice. That may just be because “Fall” told the story of a much younger Grace, idk. Your blogging voice differs quite a bit, too.
    Keep doing your thing.

  3. Grace,
    While I truly, truly admire the typical “Grace” poem, I truly truly admire your latest workshop piece, as well. While both poems are dramatically different, they are both incredibly well-crafted.
    I used to consider voice only have a role in prose and non-fiction, as they tend to have concrete elements of voice manifested as dialogue. I sometimes find it difficult to pinpoint the exact role of voice in poems if the narrator is not making it a point to create a distinct tone. However, I think that it is important to try to find our poetic voice and try to break away from our poetic voice, as you are currently doing. Why not write what works for you, but then feel free to challenge yourself, as well. I think you are on the right (write) path! Good luck! Thank you for sharing!

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