Saturday, January 19, 2019

#61 Backstory of the Poem "Neptune's Choir" by Linda Imbler

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***This is the sixty-first 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 Below:  Linda Imbler in January of 2019.  Copyright permission granted by Linda Imbler for this CRC Blog Post Only 

# 61 Backstory of the Poem
“Neptune’s Choir”
by Linda Imbler

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?   This poem evolved the way many of mine do.  I think over my day before falling asleep and ask myself if there’s anything that has stuck with me throughout the day.  In the case of this particular poem, I had been reading about all the flooding in Florida.  I conceived that the people singing at the shore are actually the people who live there.  The idea that they sing through their day rather than just go through the motions of everyday living or simply talking seemed more interesting and artistic to me and also would to a reader.  The concept of the gulls grieving for those victims of the unforgiving shore was knocked around for awhile.  I see the gulls as the rest of us who were not part of this disaster.  Does the fact that we were flying mean I think we are better than those who perished?  Not at all.  Simply, we were on higher ground. 

The main phrases of the poem were actually recorded on a small recorder (Right) I keep by my bed so I wouldn’t lose any thoughts. The next day, I grabbed a pencil (because it was handier) and started fleshing out the poem.  I made sure I got a lyrical rhythm going with the work.  When my poems are done, in other words, when I think I have said what I want to say the way I want to say it, I take the paper to my Mac and use dictation to read it aloud.  This is important because my poems are not just meant to be read.  They are also meant to be spoken and meant to be heard.

Where were you when you started to actually write the poem?  And please describe the place in great detail.   I was in my library, with the glass French doors,  where I have my books, lots of framed art, mementos, a 20 gallon fish tank with two clownfish, my computer, lots of paper, pens, pencils.  I sit on a comfortable brown back chair and I write away.  I write in snatches or until completion.  I cannot write to music like some of my poet friends because I tend to move to music and my handwriting is bad enough without having words smeared all over the page!

What month and year did you start writing this poem?   September, 2018 (Right:)

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?)   
My first draft was the recording.  I always try to do all my poems on the same sheet of paper.  If I have any added lines that, at the end, don’t fit that poem, I will save them for another poem.  Here are my notes for “Neptune’s Choir.”  Luckily, I had not shredded them yet.  I often do that once a poem if finished so I don’t have a lot of used paper lying about.
 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?   Since this is a shorter poem than some of what I write, I do not have any extraneous lines to share.  If perhaps I do another one of these interviews with you, I would be happy to share any extra lines.

What do you want readers of this poem to take from this poem?   Nature can be cruel.  We are not in charge of the weather.  However, that should never mean we should not mourn those to whom disastrous things occur because of bad weather.

Which part of the poem was the most emotional of you to write and why?   The part about these people singing through life.  It made them seem more alive which makes it all the more tragic that they are no longer so.

Has this poem been published before?  And if so where?   I have never submitted this poem for publication until a few days ago. 

Anything you would like to add?   I truly appreciate the opportunity to share my creative process through your blog.  I am honored.  Thank you.

Neptune’s Choir

There were hundreds of people singing there,
Voices at the shore.
Then the waves came crashing down
So many songsters drowned,
While seagulls lamented overhead,
Articulating above the water’s flow and ebb,
With shrill voices,
The fearful nature of grief.

Linda Imbler’s poetry collections include “Big Questions, Little Sleep,”  “Lost and Found,” and “The Sea’s Secret Song.”  Her newest e-book “Pairings” is due out soon.  She is a Kansas-based Pushcart Prize and Best of the Net Nominee.  Linda’s poetry and a listing of publications can be found at

I can be contacted through my blog or on Facebook at my page “Linda Imbler Poet”


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

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”

025  August 01, 2018
Seth Berg’s “It is only Yourself that Bends – so Wake up!”

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

027  August 13, 2018
Gloria Mindock’s “Carmen Polo, Lady Necklaces, 2017”

028  August 21, 2018
Connie Post’s “Two Deaths”

029  August 30, 2018
Mary Harwell Sayler’s “Faces in a Crowd”

030 September 16, 2018
Larry Jaffe’s “The Risking Point”

031  September 24, 2018
Mark Lee Webb’s “After We Drove”

032  October 04, 2018
Melissa Studdard’s “Astral”

033 October 13, 2018
Robert Craven’s “I Have A Bass Guitar Called Vanessa”

034  October 17, 2018
David Sullivan’s “Paper Mache Peaches of Heaven”

035 October 23, 2018
Timothy Gager’s “Sobriety”

036  October 30, 2018
Gary Glauber’s “The Second Breakfast”

037  November 04, 2018
Heather Forbes-McKeon’s “Melania’s Deaf Tone Jacket”

038 November 11, 2018
Andrena Zawinski’s “Women of the Fields”

039  November 00, 2018
Gordon Hilger’s “Poe”

040 November 16, 2018
Rita Quillen’s “My Children Question Me About Poetry” and “Deathbed Dreams”

041 November 20, 2018
Jonathan Kevin Rice’s “Dog Sitting”

042 November 22, 2018
Haroldo Barbosa Filho’s “Mountain”

043  November 27, 2018
Megan Merchant’s “Grief Flowers”

044 November 30, 2018
Jonathan P Taylor’s “This poem is too neat”

045  December 03, 2018
Ian Haight’s “Sungmyo for our Dead Father-in-Law”

046 December 06, 2018
Nancy Dafoe’s “Poem in the Throat”

047 December 11, 2018
Jeffrey Pearson’s “Memorial Day”

048  December 14, 2018
Frank Paino’s “Laika”

049  December 15, 2018
Jennifer Martelli’s “Anniversary”

O50  December 19, 2018
Joseph Ross’s For Gilberto Ramos, 15, Who Died in the Texas Desert, June 2014”

051 December 23, 2018
“The Persistence of Music”
by Anatoly Molotkov

052  December 27, 2018
“Under Surveillance”
by Michael Farry

053  December 28, 2018
“Grand Finale”
by Renuka Raghavan

054  December 29, 2018
by Gene Barry

055 January 2, 2019
by Larissa Shmailo

056  January 7, 2019
“The Seamstress:
by Len Kuntz

057  January 10, 2019
"Natural History"
by Camille T Dungy

058  January 11, 2019
by Brian Burmeister

059  January 12, 2019
by Clint Margrave

060 January 14, 2019
by Pat Durmon

061 January 19, 2019
“Neptune’s Choir”
by Linda Imbler

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