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 is kind of atypical for me. I often start poems with an observed image and free associate, watching as I write for words that sort of chime together without sounding too obvious about it.
My husband Ken and I moved the kitchen back upstairs to where it was when the house was built in 1740 (I said it was old), and I took the basement room because it was quiet and separate from most of the house.
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?)
I don’t keep rough drafts because I write on a computer. But most of my poems go through at least six or seven revision sessions—sometimes many more.
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 don’t know. I had the opening and the close of this poem before the middle stanzas firmed up, I know that.
What do you want readers of this poem to take from this poem? It’s a poem about caring for an elderly mother and being burdened by it but also being bound by love and family. I wanted it to be strongly visual. And I was also playing with the fact that one branch of my family has lived in NYC and in the Hudson Valley since Dutch times. Hawthorne wrote about “the sensuous sympathy of dust for dust,” and I feel that often in places near where family members have or had lived.
Which part of the poem was the most emotional of you to write and why? The line about the hush of doctor’s offices, and rain coming. That’s why the repeat on the end. It’s about mortality.
Has this poem been published before? And if so where? It was in The Literary Bohemian: http://www.literarybohemian.com/index.php/poetry/poem/four-poems-by-christine-potter/P2/ And, of course, it’s the opening poem in my new book.
The hush of doctors’offices. And rain coming, coming rain.
She has three collections of poems in print,
the new Unforgetting, and also Zero Degrees at First Light, and Sheltering in Place. Christine is also the author of the young adult time traveling trilogy, The Bean Books, on Evernight Teen.