"In the news article the relation of the words to the subject (triggering subject since there is no other unless you can provide it) is a strong one. The relation of the words to the writer is so weak that for our purposes it isn’t worth consideration. Since the majority of your reading has been newspapers, you are used to seeing language function this way. When you write a poem these relations must reverse themselves. That is, the relation of the words to the subject must weaken and the relation of the words to the writer (you) must take on strength.
This is probably the hardest thing about writing poems. It may be a problem with every poem, at least for a long time. Somehow you must switch your allegiance from the triggering subject to the words. For our purposes I’ll use towns as examples. The poem is always in your hometown, but you have a better chance of finding it in another. The reason for that, I believe, is that the stable set of knowns that the poem needs to anchor on is less stable at home than in the town you’ve just seen for the first time. At home, not only do you know that the movie house wasn’t always there, or that the grocer is a newcomer who took over after the former grocer committed suicide, you have complicated emotional responses that defy sorting out. With the strange town you can assume all knowns are stable, and you owe the details nothing emotionally. However, not just any town will do. Though you’ve never seen it before, it must be a town you’ve lived in all your life. You must take emotional possession of the town and so the town must be one that, for personal reasons I can’t understand, you feel is your town.”
— Richard Hugo “The Triggering Town” in The Triggering Town
@1 year ago with 8 notes
#Poetry #Richard Hugo