I’ve been thinking a lot about sequences lately, those who do them well, my penchant for writing a series or in groupings, as if to truly explore an idea I must sustain that energy over multiple attempts, approaching a topic or idea or obsession from multiple angles, exploring as many facets as possible.
This is one of my all-time favorite books (I even got it signed at a random dinner I was invited to with her–ask me about her comments on Hart Crane sometime). “Twenty One Love Poems” was a pivotal sequence for me, especially as I grew to understand why I tend to write in sequences. I spent the month of December that year (2000, 2001?) transcribing one poem each day, rewriting and retyping each word to really inhabit what she had done on the page. I was trying to write my own “Twenty One Love Poems” (I was going to do Twenty Two) and I took Rich and Neruda’sTwenty Love Poems & A Song of Despair as models. Many of those poems became early versions for poems in The Erotic Postulate. There’s a single copy of the collection out there called Scumbled I believe in the hands of a very special person (I hope he still has it!)
Anyway, if you ever have the chance to transcribe the words of a write you love, it’s an amazing exercise.