While writing some new poetry yesterday, a large division appeared that organized my works into two categories depending on the implementation of imagery. Though I unknowingly (or subconsciously) modified my techniques throughout the writing process, once I finished and reflected on the day, I realized that I had used to different methods of composing “vivid imagery” in the drafts.
I am obsessed with imagery. O-B-S-E-S-S-E-D. While I write, I slow down at every line hunting for abstract language that can be replaced with a concrete image. Generally, my imagery functions as symbolism, setting, reader transference, mood and even just straight up “trippiness.” For example, I would replace “He was useless” with “he was a soaked paper towel,” something like that.
During the building of the first poem, I focused on the image as a symbol (in terms of comprehension), while attempting to double up on an image’s “vibes” or “trippiness.” The images weren’t supposed to paint a picture, but take the reader on a journey toward a certain understanding which can only be described as insight or a feeling– which the reader experiences at the end (volta). To bring it all together, I wrestle with a metaphorical theme, and I want to say some semblance of story. However, in these poems there really isn’t any story; there is no chronology at all. I don’t have a term for it other than “nonlinear” work. A classic example of this type of writing is Jim Morrison’s poetry.
The next few poems that came out were significantly shorter, linear, not surreal and uncomplicated. One was a haiku; the other two were brief (like four-six lines, one or two stanzas) and free verse. Instead of symbol, each image was, well, what it was. There was a golden pickup truck, water spilling, two dogs I’ve never seen before…etc. Each image functioned to bring together not a picture, but a tiny movie scene or even a gif.
Notably, a significant overlap occurred at the ends of each poem. They all had an image (surreal or realist) that resulted in a volta. So–maybe, I’m actually more obsessed with voltas, if all the use of my concrete imagery must produce a volta? Am I bashing these images into a funnel? I’d prefer to think that I’m pouring one ingredient at a time which then results in the volta product–like the action of stacking, or the opposite of stacking (depending on how you look at it).
Then, I ask myself (and you, of course), are the surreal poems linear because they must be organized in a particular way in order to produce a poignant or insightful volta? Another question– Can a piece of writing be linear without chronology? Or does linearity automatically imply some sort of chronology?