MFA Thesis Diary #7: A Constellation of Meaning

When interviewed about the experience of writing Sula, Toni Morrison explained that the book sprung out of several images, memories, and moments that came together to form a constellation of meaning. Well, today I’ve entered into the next phase of writing this manuscript: I’ve begun to order the poems into a rough sequence. Doing so is thrilling, challenging, and perplexing. (My friend Tara Betts has informed me that someone has actually published a book on how to sequence poems. I will be buying that one as soon as she emails me the title.)

The joy in this part of the process is seeing my own constellation of images, voices, and themes come into focus. A few months ago, I thought my manuscript was going to be all about fire & heat. Now, it’s actually dominated by water, twilight, and earth-toned colors. The transformation has been organic and unpredictable. At 40 pages and counting, there are still many poems to be written and A LOT of revisions that need to be made, but I’ve turned the first of many startling corners.


3 responses to “MFA Thesis Diary #7: A Constellation of Meaning

  1. It sounds like you’re making good progress. Would you list the book title here on your page (or on Twitter) once Tara shares it with you?

  2. I love it. I am so excited for you and what these poems are doing and still going to do! I’ve only ever done a small scale ordering of like 8 poems for a class project and even with that there were some surprising connections in the poems. I hope you are surprised in lots of good ways with this. Please post that book title over here when you get it. You’re a great compass for me as I go through my program!

  3. that is so good that you already realize you have to write new poems. i didn’t realize that when i was putting together my thesis. i just took what i felt were all my best poems and tried to see what “constellation of images” were there. I really had two haphazard books, one that about 75% remained for my first book (had to write new stuff a year later!) and then the rest have been moved into a future manuscript 🙂

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