The Struggle to Lose Control

Cover by Damon Locks.

To All a Good New Year!

Audrey Petty describes her first one-on-one conference with her poetry teacher Agha Shahid Ali at the University of Massachusetts. After she read her draft to him, he reviewed it and said, “What if you turned this poem around?” She proceeded to invert the lines.

Reading my writing backward felt like abracadabra as the poem revealed something stranger, truer, more distilled in reverse. Language alchemized as the words loosened themselves from my intention. The poem became more of a poem.

From her essay “Revolving in Your Hand,” Poetry, February 2021.

Petty helps me see how I may hobble myself — in words and in pictures — by oversteering toward wished-for outcomes or banal conceits. Maybe my creations would travel further if I could loosen the media (and self) from my intention.

As the calendar flips over, resolution is on the verge of being made: Dare to see more backwards and upside down.

(c) 2021 JMN — EthicalDative. All rights reserved

About JMN

I live in Texas and devote much of my time to easel painting on an amateur basis. I stream a lot of music, mostly jazz, throughout the day. I like to read and memorize poetry.
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