Thursday, December 2, 2010

Pottery/Poetry

Each is a typo of the other. I'm been thinking about this one for awhile, but I can't really put structure to it, so I'm just going to wade in and flail about for a while.

Part 1. Pottery
My neighbor Harvey is a retired mental health professional, but he's alway been a hands-on guy - building things, making furniture, restoring sportscars - even shooting his own paint. The first thing he did upon retiring was get a tattoo on his neck. So it didn't surprise me when he cleared out a room in the basement and started to buy pottery making tools and equipment, first a wheel, then a kiln. After he'd been at it for a year or so, I asked if I could see some of his work. He said, no, that it wasn't good enough to show to anyone. He said he throws a few, fires them and puts them on a shelf. He studies them for a while, then smashes them all to shards. I accused him of just going down to his cave and drinking Scotch, but Jane said she has actually seen the pots through the open door so she knows he's actually working down there. It's been a couple of years now since we've talked about his pottery. I'll be seeing him at a Christmas party in a couple of weeks. I'll find out if he's progressed enough that his pots meet his standard for public display. I hope so.

Part 2. Poetry
I've always enjoyed reading poetry. A year ago I started writing my own to fill some of the winter hours when Lorna's at school. I bought some how-to-books that mw recommended, read a lot more poetry, actually studying the structure. Then I started hacking away at words. One morning at breakfast I mentioned this to LP. He's slow talker, that is, he thinks things through before he speaks. He mulled it over a while, then paused between bites of fried corn-beef hash and asked if I was writing poems because I had something I had to say, or if I just liked playing with words.  I like the question. Thinking about it, I realised, for me, it's just the words. It's arranging the right words, in the right order, laying one after the other, after another, until they read well and convey a thought or image. I suspect to be an even average poet one has to have something more to say. I'm not average. My poetry is simply dreadful - shallow and trite. I work them over, let them rest for a while, work them again until they read as well as I am able, then delete those suckers for good. Harv takes his clay, shapes it, glazes it, fires it, then smashes it. I take words, shape them, glaze them, fire them and smash'em. I am the very Harvey of poetry.

10 comments:

Silk Hope said...

You know you can drink Scotch and thow pots at the same time.

Gunnar Berg said...

Yeah, but you'd probably have to throw the pots away...... oh.

Anonymous said...

I find that reading a lot of poetry is good for inspiration. Anyway . . . that's how I do it, just sayin'

http://www.amazon.com/Re-entry-Poems-Vassar-Miller-Poetry/dp/1574412116

mw

Gunnar Berg said...

mw,
Welll helll, I've already read that one a bunch. ;-)

Anonymous said...

here's one I'm pretty sure you haven't read:

http://www.coppercanyonpress.org/catalog/index.cfm?action=displayPoem&Book_ID=1095&Poem_ID=654

Gunnar Berg said...

I just ordered it.

I received the package today. Thanks a bunch.

Oldfool said...

I've tried writing poetry,
I've tried making pottery
At both I am an amateur
just like when building furniture.
I'm going to do it anyway
'cause I don't care what people say.
Most people choose to do nothing.
I choose to do everything.
I may not be any good at it
but at least I took a stab at it.
Scotch I don't find potable
but that doesn't mean I won't be sociable.

Gunnar Berg said...

Oldfool(not),
And you're goddamn bold enough to put it out there for the whole world to appreciate.

By the way, mw (Michael White) makes his living at it. I would recommend any of his poetry collections available on Amazon.
http://tinyurl.com/27u2kac

Anonymous said...

"I am the very Harvey of poetry" indicates that you might be a better poet than you think. You have always under-rated yourself. Dex

Gunnar Berg said...

I am extremely realistic.