At AWP, I was thanking the editor of Sentence for sending me a particularly kind and thoughtful rejection letter. He encouraged me to send again, and I said I hadn't been writing much in prose lately.
It was one of those moments where I seized on words I spoke the moment they came out of my mouth. Why aren't I writing in prose? I asked myself immediately after. What do I have against prose these days?
I get to points in my writing where I feel like I "forget" how to do things. Like, for a while, I was very comfortable writing prose poems, and then one day I realized I'd forgotten what made a prose poem a prose poem. So I walked away from them. I've felt this way about poetry with line breaks, too, or poems written in an autobiographical voice, or whathaveyou. Whatever I seem to be doing the most of, I suffer from an arbitrary and exhaustive form of poetic amnesia. What's my age again?
Anyway, since I don't have a real project to work on right now—something grabbing me by the ears making me write—I've decided to go back to the prose poem for a little while and write some little experiment poems.
My assignment is to pick a word—typically a word sitting somewhere on my desk, but it doesn't have to be—and I write a fucked-up dictionary definition for it. The first word I did was "Prisoners," then "Fulfillment," and yesterday I wrote "Dietrichesque," although I don't know why.
I also know that I have to get my head out of my last manuscript, out of the modes I got cozy writing in. And getting out of those modes are going to help me continue to revise those pieces moving forward...but for now, I need some new candy.