We’ve all been there. We inhabit the voice of the poem, we create such a unique, wonderful speaker that we wish we could clone it immediately and allow it to penetrate various other poems. We aim for a series. I’m in the muck of that right now.
Usually in this instance, I recreate the space, the circumstances that surrounded and do some sort of ritual in an attempt to conjure up a voice that even moderately resembles the original. This time, I can’t even remember where I was, what I was wearing, if I was drinking (which would explain a lot), or the mind frame that got me to the voice I want to revisit again.
I long for that speaker. Much like I’ve longed for the feel of good shoes on my feet, a chilled glass of rose (who am I kidding, a bottle), or even that one person who sets the rest of the world at ease around me. I long for that speaker.
This particular voice in this particular poem is one that I secretly want to inhabit. The speaker is everything I want to be. She’s crass and brave and her mind is slightly warped with a lusty tongue. This particular voice is haunting me.
Today, I am trying to conjure her up. So I begin by listening to “Tide of Voices: Why Poetry Matters Now” by Mark Doty where he emphasizes, “Poetry’s work is to make people real to us through the agency of the voice.” One section that sticks with me, as I begin my search is as follows:
“The project of poetry, in a way, is to raise language to such a level that it can convey the precise nature of subjective experience. That the listener would envision not just a mouse but this particular one, in all its exact specificity, its perfect details. Such enchanted language could magically dissolve the barrier of skin and bone and separateness between us and render perception so evocatively that we don’t just know what it means, we feel what it means.”
Off I go, wish me luck.