Wednesday, April 11, 2007

Funky Shoe All Digged Up for a Little Blue Bat Man

from the diary: “Saturday 5/2/87

“Inaugurated my new poetry notebook: Funky Shoe All Digged Up for a Little Blue Bat Man. Probably the last book in the bat cycle.”

I title all my poetry notebooks. The preceding notebooks were Bats at the Supermarket (8/8/85 - 11/7/85), Bats at the Laundromat (11/8/85 – 2/86), Bats in Hats and Cats in Coats (begun 2/86 with short stories, eventually converted to diary), Bats Wearing Pink Triangles (3/12/86 – 1/11/87), and Although: another bat book (1/12/87 – 4/30/87). Were there any poems about bats in any of these? Um. One? Two maybe?

Back then I titled the poetry notebook before I started writing poems in it. These days I choose a title after I’ve been writing in it for some time, usually when the book’s half or more than half full.

I was writing at a furious pace. In four of the cases above the notebook filled up in three months. I’ve bequeathed myself a lot of material. I’m going through it. Most of it is … dross. Surprise! Used to be I was never satisfied with revision. I figured if a poem failed there was nothing to do but write another one. These days I enjoy revision. It’s like discovering a new poem in an old one. And it’s not like I’ve destroyed the old one. It still exists.

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