Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Ian Dugan "Poetic 4"-I Remember (by Joseph Brainard)

The initial structure of this particular poem was quite simple, albeit that it felt somewhat cagey. I say cagey because the beginning of the line was, for the most part, the phrase “I remember.” Because of this I found it a bit difficult to pick a title for this particular work other than “I Remember”, but I did try to work with it as a Brainard deformance and as an original work.

Next, I went through my list of available memories for material. This was not too difficult, for I have many memories, some of which are written down. For this poem I chose the memory of my friend Mandi, also called Mandavia, from summer camp because she has recently come back into my life. At first there were two letters and then I did not hear from her for years. The next time was about a month ago. She had written a note to me entitled, “Some Random Thoughts on Pretty Girls” in response to a poem I had posted on Facebook. What was written as a note seemed to me to take the form of a poem and marked the renewal of our friendship. Since she has now come to the forefront of my life, and I still remember a few things about her from the summer I met her, I decided to make that memory the main thread of the poem.

The next thing to do was to arrange the structure of the poem. I decided to stay with the “I remember” motif but tweak it some by continuing Brainard’s paragraph forms after some of his “I remembers” with some intertextual usage of other texts, such as the letters of my friend and poems like John Milton’s On Time and what I remember being said about one of William Shakespeare’s sonnets. Again, the poem centers on my friend, albeit that it purposely deviates from that particular thread to an incident that included the song “American Baby” by Dave Matthews, which I had listened to on one of our break days while in Mandi’s company. I have discovered that I can integrate my own particular style of composing into the poem (the use of other poets’ work, for instance) while keeping to the “I remember” structure. I have also discovered that, as memory is somewhat of a “ghost”, that it was necessary to use descriptions and details, to avoid “generalities and clich├ęs” in order to make the memories more solid. I think that if I work on fleshing out the “ghost” of memory, such “I remember” attempts as this one may get better over time.

-Ian Dugan

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