This Composting Body

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Gabriel, Riley
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The author introduces an original collection of poems by reflecting on the process: "The most visible choice I have made in this collection comes in the form of the poems themselves where I have often written in free verse with little punctuation. This was an important decision for me when starting as the form informed my mental space when I sat down to write. For me, starting every poem in free verse with no line, syllable, or rhyme requirements meant that each poem could be as untamed and raw as possible. The personal nature of the poetry I have written for this collection demanded that I come to it naked, and for a poet how can you be more naked than without your poetic devices? Hence, I set forth to write each poem’s first draft without any form and to revise with form, punctuation, and other poetic components in mind. Another major choice I made regarded how I would section out the collection to represent the three main topics I wanted to connect: nature, trauma, and healing. The initial idea was that my personal process of healing seemed to take place in those three categories, and I believed I could isolate my experiences into this configuration. As I set out to writing, though, I found myself stuck writing the same three pictures of a story, but unable to find the current of the story itself. I also found myself writing too literally, leaning too heavily on reality and not enough on emotion. That is when I started writing as if each poem were a checkpoint of sorts along the journey through which the collection takes the reader. Some poems started functioning to show a scene of life while others were channeling the acts of processing that take place in both self- healing and memoir-esque writing. One of the most critical choices I made while doing this project was to alter my original ideas for formatting while I was still in the writing phase. This alteration clicked something open in my thinking about the project, and I felt a flow that had not been coming out under the original project trajectory. By stepping away from my stubbornness to avoid a big format change, I allowed myself more flexibility and rawness that started manifesting in my poems. I began writing about the act of processing memories and the emotions around expression. I saw each poem as an opportunity to explore a feeling, one piece of human essence. I found pleasure, pain, and tediousness in the procedure of digging into memory. There was a rush within me as I wrote every poem, a need to expel the words and images that had been swirling in my mind for a long time."
ix, 59 p.
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