Poem in process

Kei Miller - 2 March 2010

I've been toying with this idea for the past week - to present to you a poem in process. I always chicken out. Sharing a poem in its early stages is not something we should generally do - they often start out quite badly, and with me I often take several wrong turns to begin with before I figure out what it is I really want to do, and what is it the poem can do. But maybe this process might be useful to some of the students who pass through - to see some of the ideas I try out and then discard...

It's a perfect time to do this experiment because I've just been asked to write a poem on 'Bob Marley' for a journal. I would have usually passed on such a commission; I don't think poems about such iconic people usually work and it's a tough challenge to avoid the usual cliches and sentimentality that can creep into a 'tribute' poems.

So, to be honest, I'm not sure if this will work - but each day for the next week, I will try to shape a draft of this poem.

I will begin by listening to some of his music tonight. I know I want the poem (like every poem) to be musical, to be flavoured with the language and faith of RastafarI. That's all I have for now. Tomorrow I'll put down some words.

Feel free to comment and ask questions as I go along.


These are the lines that I find really affecting and beautiful: 'And when the miles between here and home/Get too plenty.Your poem's coming together! I'd love to hear you reading it on the archive.


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Term of the day


The forming and use of words and phrases to imitate or suggest the sounds they describe.

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