Friday, 7 September 2012

How much is too much?

Poet Marion McCready's blog post here raises a very interesting point - when does a recurring image or theme become a tic, or threaten to tip over into self-parody? It's certainly a good idea to be reminded to be on the guard against recycling and repeating your own work, and it's something that I'm uncomfortably aware of a lot of the time. I might spend Sunday going through my own work, with some trepidation.


Caroline Gill said...

On the other hand, though, it's always good to find poets who have strong Leitmotifs that become the/a hallmark of their work. I particularly recall the foxgloves that kept popping up in the work of WS Graham when I read his poetry for the first time. His writing is often about the grey granite coast of West Cornwall, and the foxgloves, for me, were like beacons. But, yes, Matt, I do know exactly what you mean, and guess most of us find ourselves - sometimes subconsciously - re-ploughing old furrows in our work instead of planting new seed.

Matt Merritt said...

Yes, you're right, Caroline, and having said what I did I should have added that a lot of my favourite poets are those who do keep returning to the same themes. RS Thomas, for example. I'd guess, though, that you have to be an exceptional poet to do so successfully.