Trying to understand why I have such trouble with meter.
I read Shakespeare like a conversation, and so I act it well, but the practice of scansion leaves me mortified. Sitting in room full of people who couldn’t tell you why Gertrude is a role worth playing, I look like an idiot. The lines I’ve written that were anything other than free verse have mostly been an accident, when I was writing with my tongue instead of my eyes.
Perhaps it’s the way I learned to read, or the way I speak– as soon as I start thinking it seems as though every syllable is stressed and I can’t handle it.
At a Lynda Barry lecture the other night, she mentioned that she never liked Emily Dickinson until much later, when she began memorizing those poems to the tunes of pop songs. Every day on the radio the meter seemed to fit.
I don’t know. Sometimes I think my poetic sensibility is a mess, and mediocre post-modernity is all I’m good for. If I cannot tell if a sonnet is even a sonnet, if I cannot master old forms, how can I explore new ones with good conscience? Sometimes I think these previous sentences are stupid, an excuse, a way of letting myself off the hook of my own need to put words close to other words to keep myself together.