Thursday, April 03, 2008

The Curse of the Long Poem

Snowdrop is a long poem. I reckon I'm about halfway through the poem, maybe edging towards 2/3s done. So in a classic displacement activity (to avoid writing more of the poem) I've been looking at the poem itself. Here are its vital stats:

Started: Dec 2003 - the original Idea was to produce a Crimbo poem of between 150-200 lines about a girl who goes into the woods to find a Crimbo tree and ends up dancing with the spirits of the wood - Puck, the Jenny, cold Jack, Jack the Flame, etc.

Expected completion date: not a clue.

Total number of lines written to date: 1,870, which includes ...
- a rondeau
- 3 triolets
- 3 30 line ballads
- 28 lines of Latin shamelessly lifted from De Rerum Natura
- 23 sonnets, including 14 sonnets woven into a crown
- 705 lines of Alliterative Verse (the Beowulf verse, though I write more in the style of the Gawain Poet - in other words I cheat a bit)

Um, that's quite a bit of poetry, when you think about it.

What with my decision to concentrate purely on the Snowdrop poem during this NaPo adventure, I thought it would be a good idea to read what I've already written - hence the two rewrites of vile portions of the poem posted for 1 and 2 April. The most striking thing about the poem (to me, anyway, at the moment) is just how bloody religious the work is turning out to be.

I mean, how the fuck did that happen?

I've not got a religious bone in my body - thrown out of Sunday School when I was 5 years old - and yet the work that has consumed more of my poetry-writing time over the past 4 years turns out to be a bloody debate about the existence of God.

What the poem needs is a bit more action. I'll see what I can do ...

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