CHRIS RICE COOPER is a newspaper writer, feature stories writer, poet, fiction writer, photographer, and painter. She maintains a blog at https://chrisricecooper.blogspot.com. She has a Bachelor's in Criminal Justice and completed all of her poetry and fiction workshops required for her Master’s in Creative Writing with a focus on poetry. She, her husband Wayne, sons Nicholas and Caleb, cats Nation and Alaska reside in the St. Louis area.
"I worship Jesus - not a celebrity, political person, political party, philosophy, or spiritual leader -Only Jesus Christ." Christal Ann Rice Cooper Speaks!
Tuesday, December 11, 2018
#47 Backstory of the Poem "Memorial Day" by Jeffrey Pearson
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***This is the forty-seventh
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.
Below: Title photo of Jeffrey Pearson in November of 2018. Copyright permission granted by Jeffrey Pearson for this CRC Blog Post Only.
#47 Backstory of the Poem
by Jeffrey Pearson
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?Poetry prompts tend to
be hit and miss with me. Mostly miss. The prompt for this poem was to write
from a photograph. Much of what I wrote is true and much is not, notably the
fact this photograph does not exist except in my mind’s camera.(Above Right. Attributed to and copyright permission granted by Jeffrey Pearson for this CRC Blog Post Only)
Dad wore a t-shirt out in the heat of a holiday weekend at
relatives, listening to the Indianapolis 500 on the car radio. It was in
DeKalb, noted for seed corn, not Chicago remembered for its big shoulders and
its politics. Somehow relatives morphed from one family to another with some
sharp details. I’ve written many dad poems, so this began long ago.(Left: Gerald Ira Pearson on September 11, 2012. Copyright permission granted by Jeffrey Pearson for this CRC Blog Post Only)
The legacy father passes to son has fascinated me since
viewing Bertolucci’s film “The Spider’s Stratagem.” Any dad poem written by a
son has me asking what ripples cast out by the father wash up at the feet of
Where were you when you started to write
the poem? And please describe the place in detail.What month and year did you start writing
this poem?I might have started the poem in a
workshop, but the first time on a computer was an afternoon in July 2013. I
work on a heavy library table, nearly always typing in Pages or Word. A
snowdrift of paper covers much of the surface, and I can find things until I
need to. (Right: Father and Son in June of 2013. Copyright permission granted by Jeffrey Pearson 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?) 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? I can resurrect three significant changes. Firebird
gets replaced by a more generic and accessible Pontiac
Schlitz beer changes to Stag in a later draft. I often
begin poems without punctuation. For the most part, this poem stayed that way, but
some lines were brought up.
I listen to a campus radio station late at night which
plays a lot of Sinatra. He wormed his way into the end months later and nicely
shadows the moon and dad.
No poem is ever finished. The title has changed since it
was published, along with a little tightening up.
do you want readers of this poem
to take from this poem? What can I say? If
you’ve seen “Midnight in Paris,” you’ll understand: Dalí! The persistence of memory, but the fact it is liquid.
Which part of the poem was the most emotional of you to
write and why?I suppose
the most resonant part of the poem is dad leaving. He suffered with Alzheimer’s,
so he spent a long time leaving before he died. This was written during that
time. (Left: Gerald Ira Pearson in June of 2014. Copyright permission granted by Jeffrey Pearson for this CRC Blog Post Only)
Has this poem been published before? And if so where? The poem was published
on Flying Island and later, the Indiana Humanities website.
Below: Jeffrey Pearson in November 2017. Copyright permission granted by Jeffrey Pearson for this CRC Blog Post Only
Owen Pearson’s poems have appeared in The Best of Flying Island, So
It Goes, Reckless Writing 2014 Anthology, Tipton Poetry
Journal, Flying Island, and Maize. “I have fallen asleep again
reading Homer” placed third in the 2014 Writers Digest Poetry Awards.
Pudding House Publications published his chapbook Hawaii Slides. A board
member of the Midwest Writers Workshop, he lives in Muncie, IN. email@example.com https://jeffreyopearson.wordpress.com