Style

I’m a memoirist, and whether I’m writing poetry, essays, or book-length pieces, I write memories. My style, as such, comes from loving words: words that define meaning more precisely. I spend a lot of time with the thesaurus, and my favorite right now WordNet, an electronic source out of Princeton University. So even when I write prose, I want my words/sentences to sound right. I’ve spent more years reading and writing poetry (most of it badly done) than I have publishing poetry.

The below poem from the collection At the Boundary may say more about my style than any words I can write about “style.” When I wrote this poem, I was working with the concept of writing lines as phrases and clauses that would only require commas and no full stop until the end of the poem. I don’t always write like that. Often my sentences are short and blunt, again for sound and rhythm. I don’t listen to music as I write but I like my sentences to have music in them. The below is one long sentence and related to the time after my mother died.

The Virtue of Beauty

If I’d remembered each fall flinging itself
hard at my chest with this same aching beauty,
the red not just red, rather revolution
and blood, flames unfurled against a sky blue
no painter could paint without its looking false,
impossibly real, perhaps, to an artist,
without one imperfect cloud suspended
there, beyond towering oaks bronzed green-gold
by Hephaestus, forging eternity,
as if to remind me of beauty lost
between Duluth and Des Moines in last year’s
dirty snow stacked against some highway
entering or leaving winter, my eyes
scrived with grief, blinded to any virtue
in dying to live again, the loss fresh
in the blood’s flow severed from your heart
to mine (I am a child abandoned, in the end,
as each child must be) I might have recalled
beauty and glory, not dried as leaves will dry
flung from the tree, but lifted and yearning,
in a fresh flood of color filling my wings.

.

8 thoughts on “Style

    1. Thank you Cielo, what a kind thing to do! I loved the Seven things you don’t know about me. Made me laugh…. and I like the name Cielo. I always think blue when I see it. I lived in Mexico for some years and always liked that word.. cielo azul or sea, cielo oscuro (in the rainy season!)

  1. I enjoyed the vividness of color and the emotions it evokes. My favorite image (as I read it) was the strength of blood, the color red and the life it gives and how it is severed from the heart of the dying.

    1. Good eyes, April. Thank you. That line was a tough one to write and rewrite until it came out right. Tough both in the writing and in the emotions it caused. Thanks so much for reading so carefully. Have you ever tried poetry?

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