I’m finding my intensive poetry reading at the moment (a mix of Sylvia Plath, R.S. Thomas, Ted Hughes and my old favourite, Philip Larkin) is really helping me to write my own. It’s challenging me in the way I observe of my surroundings, changing me so my senses are constantly trying to tune in with everything around me. It’s working the other way around too, writing my own poetry is helping inform my responses to what I read. I am more aware of the artistic processes, and my mind feels more open to generating interpretations.
Yesterday I read a very interesting chapter of a book exploring Plath’s methodology: ‘Sylvia Plath; An Introduction to the Poetry’ by Susan Bassnett. It explored Plath’s journals that she used to keep and observed the way she would make notes about the tiniest details, for example the grain on a pine cone or the way droplets of water cling to leaves. Her level of detailed research is certainly evident in her poetry and it adds a real beauty to the dominant negativity in her poetry.
It’s something maybe I’d like to start, a journal to make a note of any ideas I get for poems or short stories or whatever takes my fancy. It’s an age old concept, so I’m not suggesting Plath certainly was the first to adopt it in her creative process, but the insight I had into her particular journals has really inspired me.