The tentative title comes from a slight misunderstanding that occurred between myself and Chris earlier this week. I was listening to the Rolling Stones in order to help the packing process, and hence tweeted the above lyric. Chris in his ever-sensitivity and slight-paranoia worried that I was conveying an ulterior meaning.
Namely, he worried that I felt that he was encroaching on my territory. In this case it was more of a figurative trespass. Chris had begun drafting a poem upon a science theme, which recently has been something I’ve been exploring a lot through my own poetry as well as some wonderful criticism.
Much later that day, after a few glasses of wine we got to talking about it, and agreed to both blog our thoughts upon the subject, and you can find his post on the subject here.
I don’t believe in poetic territory, at least not for young poets! More established poets tend to find a ground to call their own, although this is often very vague– the way Seamus Heaney and Alice Oswald are sometimes referred to as ‘nature poets’ or Sharon Olds is ‘sensual/ visceral’. Even these vague territories don’t restrict the individual poet– Seamus Heaney’s forthcoming collection interacts with his family and his stroke, a meander away from the overarching themes usually associated with his work.
Still, I can’t talk for these poets who are actually poets! Back to the point in hand, and the hands I’m on about are distinctly amateur ones. So if young poets don’t have the same territories as more established ones, is it still possible to encroach on other people’s (especially friends) themes?
I think yes.
But I also think yes, in a positive way.
I’ll explain, because so far I’ve been rambling and you lovely people who are nice enough to read this blog do not deserve a ramble. I think when it comes to young poetry types like Chris and I, we all have our own comfort zones. For me, I like science-based themes and feel comfortable writing about them. Chris’ comfort zone is more people based.
So, yes, I suppose I felt Chris was encroaching a little on my ‘territory’ writing a science poem. But this was very much a positive step– pulling him away from his own comfort zone. Similarly, my recent attempts at a more human poetry are out of my comfort zone.
Maybe poetic territories are less like nation-states and more like the EU or counties. There are borders, but we can travel there without a Visa, and if eventually we want to emigrate, that’s also ok because we already have friends that live there.