Thursday, September 16, 2010

September 14th: Shannon Elizabeth Hardwick

Shannon Elizabeth Hardwick is a friend, fellow writer and recent graduate. She writes long compelling poems. She also has a lovely blog called Ways We Are Lost where she wrote a little bit more about the impact this experience had on her It is really a blog worth reading regularly. Her poems and thoughts are below.

In The Museum, A Schizophrenic Among Angel, Voice, Nail

Spiral, saints, painting of someone’s
Torturer—children ask, What does that
Mean? As though the way to heaven
Is through a flagged red heart of a burning goat.


Pull your hair out, said the widow of Seville.

All of it?

Yes. I need straw—
Gates from which to enter the world.

I want to eat your lamb,
I said, then your hands.


Pull it out.
Pull it out.
body, hair.


Noticed swans, their necks gripped
by women, thought of Seville, how one jumps
In fountains fully clothed, folds exposed—
This reminded me of the tortured man’s stomach,
so I stopped looking at the goat.


After leaving the museum, the widow of Seville followed me
Down the street, into shadow of leaves. Satellite woman—
She said, have a sandwich. I said, No, I must keep trim.


I came, come for the burning goat, his bones.
I came, come for the living-speak.
I come, came, pulling a strand from my head.
I came, come, hungry—side-split ache of dead for the living.


You can have my hair—
The world outside contains me.
The people walking by? My food.


It's interesting, a definite change of pace for me, to write from the museum. I felt bombarded by many different voices. The notebook I wrote it allowed me, or gave me permission, to write without thinking too much about line breaks or worry about erasing what I immediately thought was cliche, or bad writing--usually on a computer word document, I will quickly delete whole lines in seconds, but from my notebook in the museum, I just had to keep writing.

When I got home and transferred what I wrote in my notebook onto a word document, it was like I was coming at the writing on a whole new level, an extra step in the writing process that I don't usually have. I was recalling the place and sensations, paintings and images, again in my mind whole trying to take the first draft to a second and third on the computer. In my mind, I was back in the place where the inspiration happened. I was back in the museum. However, the words I wrote in the museum, once transferred onto the computer, seemed like new words and images. Something long divorced from my experience and yet remembered, but from a different perspective.

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