The Prompter Room

For Wednesday, November 25, 2015:


“The poet’s mind is in fact a receptacle for seizing and storing up numberless feelings, phrases, images, which remain there until all the particles which can unite to form a new compound are present together.”

T. S. Eliot

One of my poems that has gotten the most positive feedback and responses is one that took several years to come together.

It’s actually a combination of two, and then three, different poems, none of which worked on their own.  But I saw possibilities in each one, and, in part because I never discard any of my poetry — not intentionally, anyway — I hung onto them and would look at them on and off to see what I could do with them, if anything.

The missing particles turned out to be two separate quotations, also discovered at different times, that unified the by-then three poems into one compound.  I added a word or two in the originals, or moved a few words around to make them scan better, but the final poem was basically unchanged from the way the three were first composed.

All that was needed was the unifying concept.  When that appeared, it was magic.  I still remember my excitement, and to this day the poem that resulted remains one of my personal favorites.

So a word to the wise: please don’t throw out any of your work!  It might contain one or more particles of magic.


2 thoughts on “The Prompter Room

  1. Oh Bela, my heart breaks thinking of those incinerated writings … but I understand the impulse (I threw the wedding rings my then-fiancé and I bought together into a local park’s pond when we broke up, so now and then I think of the fish or duck who might have ingested one or both!). I hope some of your then-writings have come back in different form over the years … I love it when I find something ‘new’ I’d forgotten about or thought was lost!


  2. … and this is true. I’ve written poetry all my life, but in my 20’s, I had a husband who was jealous of my past. In a show of solidarity, I heaved all my writings into the furnace, along with my high school yearbooks. Would I do that now? Absolutely not. I just discovered a cache of writings from 2010-11 which blew me away. Didn’t know that file existed. That’s the issue, however, with being a prolific writer – stuff gets tucked here and there until a person doesn’t know what they’ve got! xoxo


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