Emile DeWeaver’s Comments
A year ago, I wasnt a poet. As 2014 closed, I felt creatively blocked, so I joined a poetry workshop for a change of pace. For our first exercise, we drew a box and wrote a poem in it. Then we divided each box in half and rewrote the second half of each line. This experiment produced Two Kinds of Black. Wed been talking about Ferguson, so I was pissed and discouraged. Writers block vanished, and I exploded on the page. Thats how Ive experienced poetry so far, an explosion of me on the page.
Wheres Waldo and From the Valley of December to the U.S. came out in frenetic rushes, too. Wheres Waldo began as an autobiographical poem that turned into a obscurification game that mocked my masculinity.
When I wrote From the Valley of December, I was thinking about the degradation of humane values and the future of the modern dichotomy where the wealthy minority grow more powerful while American institutions dehumanize the powerless and grind their proverbial bones to dust.
Lights, Action was the first poem I didnt draft in a 15-minute burst. I never thought a poem made from quotes in random documents from my living quarters would reveal my deepest conflict: my feeling of erasure through isolation versus arts power to connect me to you. When I thought about it, though, it made sense because something intimately prompted me to save the documents from which I compiled this cento. As I compiled quotes, a conversation emerged between artists that resonated with me so powerfully that I wanted to enter the conversation with quotes from my various notes and works.
My challenge for this piece was finding an organizational structure. Employing the playwrights model excited me (something to do with giving personality to the poems voices). Lights, Action is my favorite piece in this collection, and for it, I owe thanks to Steve, Anne, and Jeffrey for expanding my conception of poetic form and inspiring excellence.
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