For the past year or so I’ve been a fan of Luisa Igloria’s poetry. Her command of phrase and imagery is an inspiration for me. This morning I came across an interview with her at this site:
That site, by the way, is an interesting resource for writers and readers and seems to have spawned a vibrant on-line community.
How do you keep creating when things get difficult?
I used to moan and whine a lot about not having, or finding, enough time in the day/week/month/year to “get to my writing”. That’s most likely a function of wearing a number of hats at the same time: I’m a full time parent and spouse at the same time that I’m a full time academic. Finally I got tired of hearing myself complain, and have had to learn to squirrel away moments in the day to feed that part of me where the writing comes from.
Perhaps some day we’ll find that ideal world where we can have time for everything, but right now the medley of all that claims one’s attention is the reality for most of us. I used to look forward to summers, and applying for some kind of writing retreat or residency (have gone to some really nice ones too, over the years). But that’s not always something one can count on with any regularity.
So I appreciate what the last 287+ days writing a poem a day on Dave Bonta’s Via Negativa site (beginning with a prompt I find at his Morning Porch site) have helped me to achieve– the space, and ability, to keep sharply focused on nothing but writing for even just thirty to forty minutes a day. I could swear by it now – by how daily writing practice does make you limber, trains the mind and the senses to pay attention, so you can quickly get to that place where spontaneous generation can take place and you can use language, image, sound to cut even momentarily through the noise and crap, all the baggage we lug around everyday.
Luisa teaches on the faculty of Old Dominion University, where she directs the MFA Creative Writing Program.
In closing I’ll present an example of her fine poetry:
Todos los Santos
The gravestones are damp, shiny with recent rain.
Everyone we’ve ever loved sleeps beneath this ground,
smelling the grass, letting weather trickle into bones
that lie in their beds, broken rosaries wound through
what once were fingers clasped across the chest.
At their feet, pairs of good leather shoes, tightly
rolled blankets not yet riddled with holes.
In trouser pockets, soft bills, loose change.
A gold tooth that’s fallen into a circle of ash.
How long has it been like this? Soon, hundreds of
little flames flower atop white-washed tombs.
Moths in the branches sift smoke from their wings.
—Luisa A. Igloria
10 26 2011
This poem was inspired by one of Dave Bonta’s Morning Porch series of deliberately short poems:
The walk is shiny with recent rain, and the west wind is damp and full of sounds from the valley: tires humming, the heavy thrum of a train.
Dave and Luisa have a very fruitful call-and-response collaboration, with new poems every day. I observe from afar and offer comments occasionally.