What is a good representation of air?
I have been blissfully indulging myself in the tasks of formatting two books simultaneously – the first fruit that I hope to publish from my Bachelard Interpreted series. It sounds grand, but it is really just me responding and reacting to what I have read.
You’ll recall that Gaston Bachelard was a French philosopher and scientist who, in the latter part of his life, wrote extensively on poetry and poetics, contemplation and reverie. Dreams and the elements, in particular.
Currently I am working on poems arising from his book Air and Dreams, and it has been quite a task to cull poems out of the manuscript, generally because there were several, perhaps, dealing with aspects of the same idea, and reading with too much similarity to one another. Hopefully, what remains is the strongest and best work from that collection.
I’ve titled this first book ‘A Flight Of Ideas‘, and yesterday put together a cover for the book and popped it off to be turned into a proof copy. Initially that will be a PDF version of the final book, then an actual paperback proof in hand, after I approve it. This is always very exciting, for me.
At the same time, I have gone into a long series of Seventeen Syllable Poetry that arose while I was in my Bachelardian enthralment, and have managed to extract a small book-size collection from my Air and Dreams reading, and have been assembling these as a publishable collection, as well. I’m calling this one Seeing The Air, and am up to the stage of cover design.
This latter collection is a wee bit tricky, as I haven’t published any Seventeens in book form before and I wonder whether I should use my standard size (6″ x 9″), which would be the most economical, or go for an alternative size, of which there are really only three available, I think (6.5″ x 6.5″, 4″ x 6″ or 4″ x 7″). Of these, I’ve only ever used the 6.5 x 6.5 option, and all of them come at a premium cost because they aren’t standard sizes.
The issue is that there are very few words and lines in a Seventeen poem, and I worry that they might get a little lost in a 6 x 9. But, oh well! 6 x 9 it is, I think. For the first iteration, at least.
Something I’ve noted while prepping these books side by side is that there are differences – other than brevity – in the two forms of free-verse writing. It seems to me that the longer (open-ended) form is excellent for story telling – settle in and write/read till it is finished.
The short form of the Seventeens doesn’t allow that luxury and I’m finding that it is much more a philosophical form – posing questions, making observations and generally requiring the reader to do a little thinking work. An interesting and unexpected consequence of changing the parameters.
I don’t think I posted any of the Seventeens anywhere when I was doing these, so I’ll pop one (two) below.
I cast my line
into the air
the most elusive fish
I cast nets
to the sky
I see fish