Jotting A Draft
February 14, 2020
As an emerging writer, I am very grateful to have this opportunity to receive editorial feedback and professional advice. I am particularly excited to be working with Sonnet L’Abbé. Sonnet’s approach to ethics and poetics has been a foundational influence for me, so her insights and guidance will be invaluable.
Fault Lines explores the complexities of displacement, migration, and (de)colonization in our current era of global climate crisis. It is a parallel project to my dissertation, which examines decolonizing communication within the Idle No More movement. I have been grappling with the core ideas for a very long time (the earliest poem dates back to 2006), but the overall shape of the manuscript came into focus after I wrote the title poem in 2017.
My writing process for poetry tends to follow a pattern. Individual poems grow out of a central image, line, or inquiry. Sometimes I can make my way to a full draft within a day. More often, I jot down various fragments and set them aside until I have a better sense of connections and trajectories. If it seems like a specific poem belongs to a larger project, I add it to the relevant bulletin board(s). As a project starts to expand and cohere, I alternate between revising individual poems and the overall manuscript. In both instances, I end up collecting a lot of external research material, and I store every draft in a massive accordion folder.
If I could choose one author to write a book about my life, I’ll say Michael Ondaatje, because the final product would likely be a memorable blend of fiction, nonfiction, and poetry.
Radical prospect: in a perfect world, writers would receive a stable salary during all stages of working on a project.
In the years to come, I hope to see the fruition of several projects I have been working on, and to have them exist as published texts. As a graduate student struggling to find the time, resources, and confidence needed to achieve my creative writing goals, I am no stranger to self-doubt. At the same time, I try to keep moving forward by looking ahead to the eventual reactions from readers, and other future career highlights.