I write a lot more than ever gets shown to anyone. I think that’s how it should be, not everything needs to make it to a final draft, the act of writing itself is good to practice. However, I’ve noticed what my “poetic obsessions” are because I’ve been writing a lot lately. I’m wondering what I should do about it. Do I avoid “yellow walls” after writing ten poems with yellow walls in them? Or should I embrace the fact that I love alliteration with the letter “s” so much even when it’s obnoxious? I’m not sure how to approach this realization. I never set out to have an unnamed “he” be the villain of my poem or go on tangents about beautiful women, but I always end up there.
I’ve also been noticing obsessions in other poet’s work too. I’m currently reading Ilya Kaminsky’s Dancing in Odessa which has so many reoccurring things: foods/eating, the backs of knees, religion. Furthermore, we just met Erin Kae who told us about her poetic obsession with eggs. Both of those poets use their obsessions beautifully, and each time they mention a motif, the meaning just builds and builds. I’m starting to think I just have to write a collection just for myself!
What do you do with your poetic obsessions? What are your poetic obsessions? I’m interested!
Anyway, here are some of the obsessions that I’ve noticed I have so far.
– Yellow walls
– Unnamed “he” who is the villain
– Women that the poem’s speaker is in love with
– Colors especially red and pink
– Words that start with “s”
– Giving the reader instructions
– Sleep and sleeping
– The odd feeling of having been born in 1998 and not belonging to the millennial generation, but being distinctly different from people born 2000 and after
One Reply to “Poetic Obsessions”
I think it’s a natural artistic tendency to avoid covering the same subject matter once you’ve already addressed it (as is the opposite, only focusing your efforts on one subject matter). It almost feels like we aren’t reaching out enough when we use the same words and subjects and themes; like we should be more infinite than that if we’re to be “good” authors. Returning to previous subjects – the yellow walls – makes us feel like we’re reusing one great idea over and over again because we’re incapable of thinking of anything different. I can’t really speak to whether or not that is a good or bad tendency. It’s probably a little bit of both. There’s something to be said about continuous themes throughout your work – maybe there’s always some mysterious villain lurking in your work. And there’s something to be said about time and place.