CONNIE POST on “COOLING TREND”
Poems come to me at inconvenient times. They arrive as a thought or just an image that occurs to me as I’m driving or merely sitting in the backyard. Something ordinary in my day, may become extraordinary to me. There are moments that congeal into something real and palatable. I used to write a few lines down, keep the paper on my desk, and believe that I could come back to the work at any time, and create the poem that presented itself in my conscious mind. I have made a new commitment in the past five plus years about my creative process and it seems to be working well. Unless there is a family emergency, I drop what I am doing and write the poem. The space that is open inside me, feels like a temporary portal that is open for a finite amount of time for that poem alone. I must walk with it, befriend it, let it tell me its secrets.
In my writing life in my twenties and thirties, I often had preconceived notions about the poems I wanted to write. I don’t do that any longer. I start with a thought, a phrase, a few words even. I enjoy the journey of seeing where the work takes me. In a workshop with Ellen Bass, I remember her words: “You should know something at the end of the poem that you didn’t know in the beginning.” I try to integrate this concept into all my writing. My most successful poems are those that were “easy birth” poems as I call them. If the poem doesn’t start to come together pretty quickly (within and hour or two) I set it aside for weeks, months, even years. I return to it when the portal is re-opened for that creative work.
On the poem “Cooling Trend,” the concept of the poem about rearranging all the seasons was due to my fears about climate change. It was because I noticed nothing about the weather seemed predictable anymore. It was winter and it felt like spring. It was fall and still felt like summer. It made me sad and scared me. I wanted to experiment with the idea that everything we know (or think) to be true can be changed and can metamorphosize. The earth changes in ways that represents our own internal story. The earth, like us, responds when violated. I hoped to convey the idea that we can find our way back to ourselves, and maybe we can find ways to heal the earth.