Monday, August 15, 2016

Rob Schackne () ()

My Dear Sister and Brother Poets,

I find that I must cut back on my commitment to the project so that I can spend more time on my other poetry work. Let me say for the record, for the chip and the byte, how much fun it has been to do this. It was / is / will be wonderful to read so many great poems every day, as it was to furl my brow and gnash my teeth to try and keep pace with both the days and the quality of your poetry. More a sprinter than a long-distance runner, my own writing practice is normally to wait until the precise moment and burst out of the blocks. Thank the gods, I am prolific with my poems and I write quite a bit of prose everyday, but writing the true daily poem wasn't quite possible for me. I write 'quite' because I found that on some days off, without classes to prepare and teach, I could actually sit down and write a poem I felt was cooked enough to send to table. In the month there were probably 5 or 6 of these. You know which ones they are. Mostly inspired by your poems in 365+1. For the rest, I decided to go back some 3 and 4 years, choose a bunch of old and mostly forgotten poems, and see whether each day I could read them with eyes fresh enough that I could improve them. A different kind of pressure perhaps and a different approach. Called cheating in some parts. Ah, the Zen-like focus the writers here can bring each day to a new piece of writing! I admire you. My approach sometimes made ​​a completely new poem, or a poem that was appreciably different. Although many of my attempts had me laughing at my own foolishness. Some cases are not meant to be rescued. But, what did I gain from being here with you? A great deal more I think than the reverse. But perhaps not. I have often faulted the competitive publishing racket, believing that its commercialism actually works against good writing. Why does it feel so good to have a book published? The poems written years ago, to be read by strangers we'll probably never meet? So for me, living and writing for so many years in China, the best thing about 365+1 is the connection with other like-minded souls, the intelligence of that, and the pure delight when you read something really good and you can tell the poet you thought it was really good, and when someone reads something you have written and almost forgotten, and they can tell you what they thought. Thanks. Simple, isn't it? Thank you. Finally, the wind is dropping, but I will post a poem from time to time, and I will continue reading. Earlier this year I wrote a poem for my Chinese brother and sister poets, and now for you:

"A good strong boat"

A good strong boat
and a good crew
is needed

for we are poets
and we will be
eaten by the fishes

the dock is faraway
and people fear
the other side

but never mind
there is a beautiful mist
upon the lake

and there are mountains
by the water
and birds play in the clouds

no boat
swim if we can

no swim
eat till we sink

when full
we will float ashore


  1. Love this poem, Rob! And enjoyed your description of your experience.

    1. You are kind, dear Rosemary. It was great. Thank you.