My poem “absolute zero” is the featured “Poem of the Issue” in this week’s edition of The Austin Chronicle. This one has its origins in a journal entry from early 1989 which was forgotten and then rediscovered in October 2010 when I was working on the Iron Man Family Outtakes project. I can’t remember now in what state of completion this piece was when I found it, but I don’t think I had to do a whole lot of work to finish it.
I have extremely vivid memories of writing many of my poems: what was going on for me in that moment, the time, place, circumstances, etc. For others (like this one), I can’t recall much more than a general context and a time frame. Then there are those pieces, some of which are quite significant, for which I have no recollection whatsoever of the process of creation after some time has passed. Why I would remember writing some so well and others not at all has always been a mystery to me.
As I’ve been reading this one right now, it seems to me that it started with me feeling like I was too blocked to write anything (first two lines), which is kind of ironic in retrospect. I toss off a few lines in a journal, forget about them, and 22 years later I have a published poem. What a crazy, mysterious, unpredictable process this is.
The Poem of the Issue – Austin Chronicle 02/03/12 by Rick Belden, unless otherwise expressly stated, is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 United States License.