one one side of an 8 1/2 x 11 piece of paper, provide a brief artist statement (what your work is about & how you make it), describe your artisitic development, and discuss the nature of some recent work in detail
80 points are awarded for "excellence" so this is what somehow shows that
so this will not include anything that falls under the confiteor project; it should be a discussion of the dystopia poems (of course, calling Los angeles dystopia -- ah well) and the vauxhall poems, as well as the place poems
My work is about "calling it as I see it." In other words, it is my way of delivering my thoughts or philosophy....
a background search on "how to write an artist statement" reveals:
1. What are your favorite things about your work? Jot down short phrases that capture your thoughts. Don't worry about making sense or connections. The more you stir up at this point, the richer the stew.
I started writing poetry when I was in college, and it was bad and my friends told me to take a class. I wanted to be a writer, not a poet. Novelist. At some point I decided to put everything into poetry. I think was because I wanted to go to grad school (I was working as a writer and living at home, and didn't see many other money/career options that didn't involve grad school; because I'd lost my religion major -- my thesis advisor went on sabbatical, her replacement didn't support my idea, and by the time Ron Keiner offered his support, it was Spring Break, I wanted to go home with my friends, and I didn't want to stay on campus for the rest of senior year grokking a thesis I hadn't gotten beyond outline and research due to lack of faculty support -- this left me with an English / Literary Writing major with poetry as my only viable sample (i.e., not fiction or nonfiction, though I had campus paper columns and some stories -- these weren't particularly well published -- or written!)).
when it is going well, ideas come quickly, and the poem seems to write itself; recently, I start from notes -- these may be research notes, those peculiar things I call "poem notes" or a general concept that's not even written down -- a sort of "someday I want to try this" mental note. From these I tend to improvise, often with the help of information found online or in books, or just from my personal associations with words, ideas, people, places....
my favorite thing about my work is that I feel it sort of sparkles where it is really good, whether "musical, pleasurable, fun & funny," or dark and glistening, or pointed and on target.
2. I'm skipping making a list of descriptive words, because I will choose odd words like "sparkly" and I think this should be very seriously and professionally written.
3. I don't have a favorite tool but I love to use tools, apply them to poetry, and to make this use as new/specific to me as I can.
My favorite material is information, because I think it is better to start with an idea, a "take" on the world, a "finding" which seems to be "out there" but is actually perceived because it is "in here" than to start with blabbing around in general like I'm doing here -- this is my problem with writing bios, artistic statements, and resumes (my resume is always *awful*). And journals.
I like to think that my work at its best is unique, that something has turned out well when I think it would give pleasure to a reader to encounter several times, when I have a grasp on a lot of what it is doing as a piece of writing / an idea.
What patterns emerge in your work? Is there a pattern in the way you select materials? In the way you use color, texture or light?
For the past few years, I thought of my work as proceeding in five different modes; Rachel Loden pointed out to me that to her, they converged, and I am coming back to that convergence of modes. The common pattern is one of assembly, which may seem odd since a lot of the work seems deconstructed, taken apart, exploded, fragmentary, but I see it as the result of a diligently applied, smoothed, process -- grown from seeds?
I do everything differently from the way I was taught. I see myself as proceeding in order to teach myself, in order for me to learn more about poetry / philosophy, to gain knowledge and experience. Why. How differently. I was taught mostly in two fairly straightforward creative writing programs which emphasized confessional free verse narratives. I came out of those programs writing lyric poems -- which I would distinguish from confessional free verse narrative! so I was schooled by my reading / what I thought about what I read, rather than "instruction." So I guess, what I learned was that I read for pleasure and ideas and information, not for another point of view, an identity I will never inhabit, to be schooled in an experience I will not have, to share a little human moment?
I used to tell my students you have to find the way that works for you -- when you find it, you untap something very rich and productive.
I don't have a favorite color. I like warm and vibrant colors more than cool ones, but fairly clear and crisp rather than muddy. I like poems that "dance" and dazzle, that are clear and crisp and vibrant, too.
the next steps are etymological, dealing with the word list I didn't make -- oh no!!!
6. Write five sentences that tell the truth about your connection to your work. If you are stuck, start by filling in the blanks below.
When I work with__________ I am reminded that___________.
I begin a piece by______________.
I know a piece is done when__________________.
When my work is going well, I am filled with a sense of _____________.
When people see my work, I'd like them to ________________.
[brief break wherein I dig up a grape vine, clean up a tiny squirrel literally cut in half by some mysterious force, then put at the end of the driveway of the abadoned house next door, and edge a planting bed with bricks]