Perfect Blue
Kona Macphee
 
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Commentary: View from a window

This is what I call a "patterned poem" - patterned with assonance and half-rhyme, but also patterned and stylized in its use of language, tending towards the ritual or incantatory. E.E. Cummings is one of my favourite poets, and although this "patterned poem" style is not obviously like his mode(s) of writing, for me there is a connection, a sense of similar motivating impulse; for example, his poem "in time of daffodils (who know" is a piece of writing in which I recognise that familiar joy in patterning, repetition, modulation.

The "patterned poem" is perhaps my favourite writing mode. The simple, slightly ritualised language, its musicality, the constraints imposed by the poem's formalised variations/repetitions, combine in a way that feels particularly effective for conveying an essence, capturing the centrality of "what I meant to say".

The psychiatrist D.M. Winnicott distinguished between the "true self" and a socially-compliant, worn-to-please "false self", a mask that even the wearer can't always recognise as an assumed and misleading disguise. I associate the true self with that rare but wonderful sensation, when creativity is really flowing, of "taking dictation from the muse"; the words (or the music, or the images) are coming from somewhere very deep and very real-feeling, somewhere that's at once "other" and yet also profoundly part of yourself. It's in the simple patterned poems that I most often experience this; the "false", compliant self is more likely to spew out clever-clever ideas-y stuff that's intended to impress some hypothetical audience of academics, critics or other poets. One of the great challenges of writing lies in getting that bit to shut up and get out of the bleedin' way.

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