For Poetry Shelf’s Winter Season, I invited 12 poets to pick one of their own poems that marks a shift in direction, that is outside the usual tracks of their poetry, that moves out of character, that nudges comfort zones of writing. It might be subject matter, style, form, approach, tone, effect, motivation, borrowings, revelation, invention, experimentation, exclusions, inclusions, melody …. anything!
Coincidentally, I heard Bill Manhire talk at AWF17, and I liked the way he put it. He discussed the way he encouraged students to ‘jump the tracks, to go sideways from themselves’ and, out of this, produce poetry that mattered to them and would somehow be their own. He also talked about the way he wrote short stories to turn sideways from the comfort track he had settled into with poetry.
I have borrowed the ski analogy because there is something wonderful about heading sideways from the well-skied track to snow that is altogether more risky but offering surprising rewards.
I will be posting poems over the next fortnight.