Folks, I’ve got it. So here it goes.
I was thinking about the whole thing about whether our poems will bring things together or pull things apart, give us questions or answers, and I realized what this collection is about.
Last Spring, I worked on a collection for my Advanced Poetry class that focused on two personas that I had “created” that I felt were representative of myself: the shy, insecure girl grappling with expectations and the outer world, and the dark, dangerous animal of the inner world. I set out to continue that in my SIP, because I think Sylvia Plath finds something similar to these two voices in Ariel (think “Lady Lazarus” and “Daddy”). I went along with the project feeling like I was coming to know myself a little bit better with each poem. Then, halfway through the quarter, we partnered up to read each other’s projects and give feedback. The girl who read mine concluded that each poem seemed to be reaching for answers to questions they might not consciously understand in the first place. At first, I was shocked, because the actual act of writing them was not having that effect on me at all. What I’m beginning to realize now, is that maybe pulling things apart is what works for me…maybe, for once, I don’t want answers.
My whole life, I’ve had that strange feeling of standing outside myself more often than I haven’t, probably. It’s not necessarily that I like to take myself out of the situation and become the observer, I just, inevitably, do it. I’m always thinking about my body as an object in the world apart from myself, how other people are perceiving me, what persona I’m presenting to the world, and how I feel about that persona at that specific time. That isn’t to say that I want poetry to swoop in and give me one singular, clean narrative by which I can live my life. First of all, I think I would get bored as hell living that way, and second, I think that’s more artificial than recognizing how multi-faceted we can be, and the roots and complications of and contradictions of identity. I think the poem I wrote last week off of “The Other” also kind of led me in this direction.
So that’s my spiel. That might not seem any more specific to you than it was before, but it is to me. In simple terms, I’m looking to pull things apart, not put them together.