Dawn Colclasure's Blog

Author and poet Dawn Colclasure

Saturday, June 23, 2012

Missing poems

After a poetry manuscript was rejected by a publisher, I took the time to look over the manuscript once again. When I sent it, I thought it was just the way I wanted it to be. Just the way it should be. Well, I was wrong.

I’m not talking about the minor things, like how I had poems in the TOC that were not in the manuscript. (Whoops.) Mostly, I’m talking about the poems as a whole.

Some of the poems just seemed out of place there, so I removed them.

Some of the poems seemed to resonate as a unified theme for a future poetry collection, so I took those out and collated them into one file for another poetry manuscript that I'm working on (in addition to the collection of Christian poems I have been working on).

But one thing was clear: I had to make sure a majority of the poems stayed true to the original collection’s theme, that being autobiographical poems. I had to make sure they were poems that reflected my life so far. (ONE of these days I will write a memoir. I want to wait until I am old and gray to write that! For now, my essay collection on deaf parenting and some of my poems can reflect snippets of my life thus far.) So that is what I have been working on, as well, in fixing up the manuscript.

There are, however, two poems I need to find to put into this manuscript. I have searched everywhere for them but can’t find them. And that’s a pity, because they are important poems.

One poem speaks out against drunk driving. (I can only remember the first stanza of this one.) And the other poem is one I wrote in the hospital while undergoing reconstructive surgery. I was a part of a “creativity group” there (I was in my teens and this was in New York), so I was prompted to write a poem one day. The poem I wrote was called “I Know You, Pain.” The group really liked it. One boy, in particular, kept reading it to the group. And this is part of why this poem means something to me; this young man died shortly after I left the hospital and, in a way, including that poem in the book is my way of remembering him.

I could probably write a new “anti drunk driving” poem, but I can’t rewrite “I Know You, Pain.” It was one of those poems I wrote while I was “in a zone” and there’s no way I could recapture those words just as I had written them twenty years ago. (My word, twenty years?? Wow. No wonder I can’t remember it.)

But I DO hope I find that poem. I have gone through notebooks, file folders, boxes of papers. So far, no luck. I lost a lot of stuff in our move from California to Oregon, so it’s possible that the poem was in one of those boxes. I hope not, but I have to accept that maybe it is gone forever.

If so, maybe I can write a similar poem, an “in memorium,” poem, to take its place instead.

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