Monday, 1 March 2021

Erik Fuhrer : part two

How do you know when a poem is finished?

My partner is a painter, and her methodology is to continuously overpaint a piece that she does not feel is working. I am always astonished at her boldness, since I can get so precious about what I write, and have the luxury of being able to paste words that are “not working” into another document for quick recovery later if necessary. Due to the nature of her medium, her revisions literally efface the original attempt, and sometimes she decides the finished piece was the one she has already replaced with new strokes of paint. It makes me feel grateful that my art form is more malleable, because I often go back and forth, swapping and cutting, but this also means I lack the resolution she has to stop messing around with something. She stops because there are no refunds in her practice, and she likes it enough to live with it, for now. Since I can always go back, I sometimes continue to do so, in a loop. That said, there is always a point where the sound of the poem, the spacing of the poem, the way it feels on the tongue, just clicks. I’m not sure I can quite describe it, but it is a bit like the poem itself is an active object asserting its own finality. I used to be skeptical of writers that described their work as speaking to them, as if the work was a separate entity, but now that I have been writing for a while, I realize it kind of is like that—writing is kind of witchy in that way, as I’m sure much art is. 

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