african myth

Day 6/30: The Smallest Woman in the World by Diana Khoi Nguyen

Was troubled by my own anxieties/self-doubt yesterday. I know to write 30 excellent poems in 30 days is a nearly impossible goal, but I have set my aim that high--which means failure is inevitable. At the same time, I feel more comfortable to take risks/be ambitious in my composition--things I'm usually too timid/hesitant/unable to do previously. It's almost as if my body has half given-up on this 30/30 thing and the other half is working furiously to write the best poem I've ever written, every day. I think this is a good combination (for diversity of poems--and interesting body of work produced in this month alone), but a bad combination for my feelings. And my eyeballs.

Notes on yesterday's poem (which I did finish before the PSA Awards Ceremony, yess!):

  • - Right margin inspired by African myths + my brain

Not sure if it's a poem that should be allowed to exist, but I wrote it, I drank champagne, and now I have to write another poem. There's no weekend and there's no rearview mirror.

Day 3/30: Fieldnotes by Diana Khoi Nguyen

I am only starting to make notes for today's poem and already I feel the richness of last month's reading brim beneath my eyelids. I feel like I've flexed a lot of muscles already and I've only written two poems. I can't even begin to imagine what I'll feel like come day 22, or gosh--day 31, which is not a day in the month of April.

JB had a great thought last night as we sat across from one another after Indian takeout--furiously "in the zone" working on our poems--we self-imposed a midnight deadline, which seems fair to us--but it looks like the other 30/30 marathoners are submitting that day's poems much earlier in the day. So in my brain and my legs, I feel like I'm behind, but I am really not--we're just at the cusp.

Oh! JB's idea was to document each day's poem's notes via blog. A marvelous idea that I'll start here, today.

For 2/30 poem, here's what I've got:

  • - The lore loosely taken from an African myth called: "WHY ONE NEVER TELLS A WOMAN THE TRUTH" (I'm not even joking). In it, a hunter spies an antelope taking off its skin and transforming into a girl who sells gumbo at the market. Before she heads to the market, she hides her hide in the dirt and the hunter takes it, waiting until night for her to return. At which time he demands a reward in exchange for (1) his keeping her secret and (2) his returning her skin. It's lame--she promises to be his wife (he already has another wife), and he takes her home. The two wives quarrel (rather, the first wife is mean to the shapeshifter wife, and boring domestic things ensue and eventually the story earns its inappropriate title.

  • - We all know (or now you do) about my obsession with selkies.

  • - Books I sat with on this one: all Revell, all the time: The Bitter Withy, A Thief of Strings, and Tantivity.

  • - I don't feel that the poem's current title, "You Must Not Quarrel with an Animal" is the right one, nor do I feel the ending is right--but I did complete a draft, and I don't have time to fret over this poem because I'm deep into today's day 3 poem already! Alas!

Onward--