Christal Ann Rice Cooper

Wednesday, August 1, 2018

#25 Backstory of the Poem " It is only Yourself that Bends—so Wake up!" by Seth Berg . . .



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***This is the twenty-fifth in a never-ending series called BACKSTORY OF THE POEM where the Chris Rice Cooper Blog (CRC) focuses on one specific poem and how the poet wrote that specific poem.  All BACKSTORY OF THE POEM links are at the end of this piece. 

*Title photo of Seth Berg with microphone taken in June of 2018.  Copyright permission granted by Seth Berg for this CRC Blog Post Only.

#25 Backstory of the Poem
It is only Yourself that Bends—so Wake up!
by Seth Berg
seth_berg@yahoo.com

Can you go through the step-by-step process of writing this poem from the moment the idea was first conceived in your brain until final form?  Three years ago, I was involved in a car crash which resulted in me flat-lining on scene. I was given 6 liters of blood on the way to the hospital preceding emergency surgery. I was in a coma and experience wild hallucination, lucidity, and experiences. I wanted to write a book about those strange experiences. This poem is the final poem in that book. I began drafting this poem in November of 2017 and finished it in February of 2018. It went through many line-level revisions, but no major overhauls.  (Left:  Seth Berg Self-portrait of his injuries.  Copyright permission granted by Seth Berg for this CRC Blog Post Only)

Where were you when you started to actually write the poem? And please describe the place in great detail.  I was in the sunroom at the front of my house in the Corcoran Neighborhood of South Minneapolis. I was flanked by two red bookshelves, three of my paintings, two ukeleles, and bookshelf knick-knacks. It was shortly after sunrise and I was facing east writing in a red moleskine notebook with a cheap black ink pen. (Right: Copyright permission granted by Seth Berg for this CRC Blog Post Only)
How many drafts of this poem did you write before going to the final? (And can you share a photograph of your rough drafts with pen markings on it?)  4c drafts...unfortunately, I do not have the first draft. I ceremoniously burnt the moleskine when my book was finished. (Left:  Seth's fingers.  Copyright permission granted by Seth Berg for this CRC Blog Post Only)

Were there any lines in any of your rough drafts of this poem that were not in the final version? And can you share them with us?  No full lines were removed, but several words were changed. For example, the thread was initially cerulean and the agates were pebbles.  (Right:  Rocks at the Pacific Coast Highway.  Copyright permission granted by Seth Berg for this CRC Blog Post Only) 

What do you want readers of this poem to take from this poem?  States of uncertainty can be eerie and also enlightening...and on occasion, you are the most powerful creature to have ever existed...only you can convince yourself of that fact.  (Left:  Self-Portrait of Seth.  Copyright permission granted by Seth Berg for this CRC Blog Post Only)

 Which part of the poem was the most emotional of you to write and why?  The final line. Had it not been for the memory of my children, I would not have returned from coma-world, or as I call it: Bonkerville. I forced myself awake after having had several false awakenings by speaking that final line aloud.  (Right:  Seth's tattoos of his children's names.  Copyright permission granted by Seth Berg for this CRC Blog Post Only)

Has this poem been published before? And if so where?
It has not. I submitted the chapbook to three contests and am awaiting the results. No rejections yet. However, I have not sent this poem out by itself. You are the first to read it. (Left:  Painting attributed to Seth Berg.  Copyright permission granted by Seth Berg for this CRC Blog Post Only)
Anything you would like to add?  You wanted a poem which hits close to my emotional home and you have it here. However, it may feel cold as it is out of context. Either way, I hope you dig it. (Right:  Image When The Paint Curls attributed to Seth Berg.  Copyright permission granted by Seth Berg for this CRC Blog Post Only) 


It is only Yourself that Bends—so Wake up!


Your boots scrape the ballast
on the railroad line next to the swamp.

Your torso follows along,
but resists what your boots
have known since January:

twenty-two days ago
they found you prostrate

and nearer the swamp
than you had ever intended.
When the investigation

turned toward contents,
they said:

three small agates,
a spool of cerulean thread,
a physics textbook,

and a hand-written note which read:
abre tus ojos.

Seth Berg is a hatchet-wielding forest-dweller who digs tasty hallucinatory literature. A hot-sauce-addicted pyromaniac with an MFA from Bowling Green State University, Berg fantasizes about flight without mechanisms, alien glyph systems, and snowshoeing through your nocturnal dreamscapes. He is a professor, poet, artifact-maker, and amateur astrophysicist whose mathematically coded collections of poetry will haunt, invigorate, provoke, and inspire you. (Left:  Seth Berg in June of 2018.  Copyright permission granted by Seth Berg for this CRC Blog Post Only) 
Berg's first book, Muted Lines From Someone Else’s Memory (Bottom Left) won the Dark Sky Books 2009 book contest. His second book, Aviary (Bottom Middle), co-authored with Bradford K. Wolfenden II (Bottom RightRight: Facebook Logo Photo. Fair Use), won the 2015 Artistically Declined Twin Antlers Contest, and was released by Civil Coping Mechanisms in January of 2017.  Other poems and short fiction can be found in Connecticut Review, 13th Warrior  Review, Spittoon Literary Review, BlazeVOX, Heavy Feather Literary Review, The Montucky Review, Masque & Spectacle, and Lake Effect, among others. Recently, poems were anthologized in GTCPR Volume III and Daddy Cool. 

He lives in Minnesota with his two supernatural children, Oak and Sage, and his magical better half, Kori. (Right:  Kori and Seth Berg.  Copyright permission granted by Seth Berg for this CRC Blog Post Only)


BACKSTORY OF THE POEM LINKS

001  December 29, 2017
Margo Berdeshevksy’s “12-24”

002  January 08, 2018
Alexis Rhone Fancher’s “82 Miles From the Beach, We Order The Lobster At Clear Lake Café”

003 January 12, 2018
Barbara Crooker’s “Orange”

004 January 22, 2018
Sonia Saikaley’s “Modern Matsushima”

005 January 29, 2018
Ellen Foos’s “Side Yard”

006 February 03, 2018
Susan Sundwall’s “The Ringmaster”

007 February 09, 2018
Leslea Newman’s “That Night”

008 February 17, 2018
Alexis Rhone Fancher “June Fairchild Isn’t Dead”

009 February 24, 2018
Charles Clifford Brooks III “The Gift of the Year With Granny”

010 March 03, 2018
Scott Thomas Outlar’s “The Natural Reflection of Your Palms”

011 March 10, 2018
Anya Francesca Jenkins’s “After Diane Beatty’s Photograph “History Abandoned”

012  March 17, 2018
Angela Narciso Torres’s “What I Learned This Week”

013 March 24, 2018
Jan Steckel’s “Holiday On ICE”

014 March 31, 2018
Ibrahim Honjo’s “Colors”

015 April 14, 2018
Marilyn Kallett’s “Ode to Disappointment”

016  April 27, 2018
Beth Copeland’s “Reliquary”

017  May 12, 2018
Marlon L Fick’s “The Swallows of Barcelona”

018  May 25, 2018
Juliet Cook’s “ARTERIAL DISCOMBOBULATION”

019  June 09, 2018
Alexis Rhone Fancher’s “Stiletto Killer. . . A Surmise”

020 June 16, 2018
Charles Rammelkamp’s “At Last I Can Start Suffering”

021  July 05, 2018
Marla Shaw O’Neill’s “Wind Chimes”

022 July 13, 2018
Julia Gordon-Bramer’s “Studying Ariel”

023 July 20, 2018
Bill Yarrow’s “Jesus Zombie”

024  July 27, 2018
Telaina Eriksen’s “Brag 2016”
https://chrisricecooper.blogspot.com/2018/07/24-backstory-of-poem-brag-2016-by.html


025  August 01, 2018
Seth Berg’s (It is only Yourself that Bends – so Wake up!”
https://chrisricecooper.blogspot.com/2018/08/25-backstory-of-poem-it-is-only.html

026  August 07, 2018
David Herrle’s “Devil In the Details”




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