I have a few writing assignments for myself, before class resumes at the end of January. There's a book that needs reviewing. There's a Larkin essay that I've left unfinished; maybe, after letting it sit for more than a month, I'll now see how it's supposed to end. The Arranged Marriage needs a little attention. I have finished a draft of the manuscript and am now waiting to hear back from a few, trusted readers. I'm hoping they'll point me to the gaps in the collection and help me figure out what poems to pour into those empty spaces of the book.
And I'm writing new poems. About the opera.
I just hope that writing about opera won't let my poems fall into the poems-about-opera-bear-trap, which C. Dale Young once described in a blog post over at Harriet. He says:
When I first started editing, I kept reading poems in various journals that held Opera and its machinations as the subject. I made a vow never to publish poems about Opera, spurred by a conversation I had with a poet friend of mine. But, of course, someone would come along to break my resolve.
May my opera poems avoid this damning description!
After 18 months of writing nothing but prose poems, I am surprised and excited to remember the process of writing in meter again. Sonnets. Tercets. Chunks of blank verse. God, I love the locked-box sound of rhyming couplets. This week, I wrote a poem that arrived like a present, the shape and sound of it coming so easily, the final image simply presenting itself to me after a few hours of drafting. If I were a romantic, I would call the experience inspiration. Instead, I'll simply say that I love when one's daily battles with the blank page pay off. The easy poem appears, because there have been so many difficult, stubborn poems.
So, the reward for this long year will be rest, reading, and I hope some new poems. And, on the materialistic side of things, I'm going to buy--or ask for--a new bottle of perfume. I have a sweet tooth, when it comes to both foods and fragrances. So, my gift will probably be what perfumistas call a gourmand: perhaps something by Guerlain (that smells of fruits or vanilla or candied violets), or one of Lolita Lempicka's glass bottles in the shape of an apple, or more fruits and vanillas from Annick Goutal. Once I visit the glittering counters and sniff a few bottles, a few drops of scent on my wrist, I suppose my nose will decide what it loves.