Thursday, February 28, 2008

trying to get out of my comfort zone. started a poem with a specific goal in mind rather than let the writing go where it wants to take me, which is usually how i write. got half a poem written in quatrains in the form of a letter to penthouse forum. god knows how it'll turn out, but the goal i have in mind is to write a comic piece. and i mean funny ha ha, rather than funny weird.

back in the '90s when i was just a lad i used to go the local comedy clubs and watch stand-up comics on tv. i tried to learn from comics their techniques in timing and language. i'm convinced still that comedy and poetry are intimately related. listening to a comic who is a master of his/her craft is not unlike listening to a poem. both depend on language and timing and rhythm to succeed. comedy is the familiar made strange. so is poetry. both the poet and the comic rely on the tangential to achieve dislocation. it is that twist in language where the listener/reader, and by extension the comic/poet, think they are on firm ground only to find the ground opens up.

i don't mean poets must be funny like comedians. what i admire about comedians is that they are also in language and use language very similar to how writers use language. but for my poem i am attempting to use comedy. and what i mean by getting out of my comfort zone is to approach writing in a fashion that my not be new but is new enough for me so that maybe i might get that zap and the ground opens up.


At 11:01 PM, Blogger Clifford Duffy said...

O RiCarDo _Comedy is the Bard's second name. Think of WS and Joyce et Monsieur Beckett. No shame, never none in laughter's great comic deed. Love. is Laughter.

At 11:37 AM, Blogger Ryan said...


It's great to see you writing with constraints. I've just been thinking the same thing, that formalistic/thematic constraints are just the thing I need right now.

As for funny haha versus funny weird, It'd be interesting to mix it all up.

At 11:18 PM, Blogger richard lopez said...

well, i think the poem works better as a piece of prose now. but yes, i'm trying for flat-out funny and strange at the same time. god knows how it'll all go down. this is the first poem i've written in a long, long time where i've not finished with the first draft in one sitting.

and yet the formal restrictions we place on ourselves i think allows us to get outside our normal practices and allows us to work up new problems with different, perhaps even inventive techniques.

of course i'll this talking about the poem probably builds it up to disappointment in the finished piece. still, even a failure is necessary endevour in writing.


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