I’ve been thinking lately about poetry. I’ve been thinking about it and reading it but what I haven’t been doing is writing it. In fact, it’s been well over a year since I wrote a new poem. And I’m acutely aware that this is not a good thing, in ways which can be difficult to define.
In my rambling thoughts about poetry, and my own lack thereof, I found myself thinking about something Mark Tredinnick said at a workshop I attended at the Apropos Poetry Symposium here in Perth last year. I can’t recall exactly the words he used but he spoke about the notion of a poem itself – the work that appears on the page – as being an indicator species for the whole landscape that is the poem. I found this idea immediately compelling, and true, and filed it away in my brain under ‘quirky ideas I may return to later in unexpected ways’.
Now, in thinking about not writing poetry, and the malaise that comes with that, or of which it is perhaps itself an outcome (not sure yet of the slippery relationship between these two things), it occurs to me that for me, poetry itself is an indicator species of the whole landscape which is my writing. In much the same way that the presence of frogs indicates a healthy environment, so the production of poems, the delight in poems, is suggestive of the general health of my own creative life in a broader sense.
To stretch the analogy further than any reasonable writer ever should, clearly I need to rid the soil of chemical fertilisers and/or pesticides. I’m just not sure what they are yet.
In the meantime, I keep slogging away at narrative, trying to carve out a home for myself, all the while wondering whether I might not be better off just spending some quiet time in the garden.