Saturday, January 26, 2013

Dissertation Saturday

I have been exhausting myself in preparation for the publishing company's marketing meeting on Monday -- felt sick and feverish last night, but i think I got it out of my system today. I spent 5 hours yesterday basically on data entry -- just entering in marketing information and sales copy for our reps at our distributor to read. It was important for me to do, since I needed to understand the different copy and its different purposes (catalog vs back jacket vs whatever), but certainly for next time, I will simply put it all in a Word doc and have an intern do the actual entry. Painful stuff, and frustrating. Also, found a major typo on the title page of one of the books about to go to print. *headache*

Today began slowly, which was nice. Got some still-warm pastries from a wee French bakery and had tea this afternoon with an old friend and her daschund. Lay on the couch and read a piece by John McPhee about structuring non-fic while my adorable cats curled up nearby. He resists chronological order for thematic or other forms of organization  I feel that writing about poetry should always really be thematic -- otherwise you are just doing a slow-ass line-by-line reading that shows none of your own impetus, and let's the poem dictate the reading entirely. I have been struggling with organization, but one of my committee members complimented me on the structure I used in the chapter I sent him! He said he felt the braiding and weaving was responsive the poems I was reading, which also involved the interweaving of texts. Hard to write a straightforward, A-B-C chapter about two poems, neither of which move in a direct fashion.

Reading a great book on lyric today edited by Mark Jeffreys. I'm trying to think through these two poems by Heaney and Boland, and how they might go with the rest of my dissertation. I am also incredibly behind -- I was supposed to have this chapter done by the end of this month, and instead I realized I have to totally rewrite it and that means starting from scratch on the research/theory/framework side of things. So, thinking about subjectivity and community, separation of the poet, etc. I also had a tiny epiphany that the poems I am looking at are actually both from sequences, which gives me much more to talk about with regards to form! Because clearly both are attempting to expand the lyric, which, as Jeffreys writes in his intro, is seen as removed from history (and possibly in opposition to it). Heaney's "Tollund Man in Springtime" is clearly a narrative composed of sonnets, while Boland's "Domestic Violence" (first poem in the sequence here)  is more like a multi-faceted approach to a single topic (basically her own backlist, pardon my cynicism).

So, I am going to try to finish this chapter by the end of the first week of February. How? Magic, of course. I like a quote I read recently, “Writing is like driving at night in the fog. You can only see as far as your headlights, but you can make the whole trip that way.” ― E.L. Doctorow. I just have to keep moving. And writing. Tonight my plan is, after dinner (and wine, so we'll see), to chop up my existing chapter, finish the book on lyric, and maybe get started on a book about politics in Ireland. I am concerned about this chapter, but I also don't want it to drag down my last chapter AND INTRO that I have to write in February. Holy crappola.

I am skipping out on a major convention for the publishing job, but I told my boss before I started that I couldn't do this event. I'll be giving a talk at the ecopoetics conference! So ridiculously excited about this, even if it does cut into my writing and work time. I have been anticipating this for a year -- and it's in my own backyard, and I think I already know a quarter of the people going. Lucky me. This is what I'll miss.

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