Sunday, January 19, 2014

Turning poems into books

I'm not posting a poem today. I'd like to but it gets harder and harder to find one that stands alone. I realise this is a reflection of my process. With this book I began with a few poems that were explorations of the themes: wolves and lambs; Roman history; expanding out to Etruscan and other Mediterranean places.

And then the narrative began to appear, two characters: Diana and Agnese. Diana representing the wild, the wolfish, the forest, the pre-patriarchal pagan; Agnese representing the lamb, the domesticated, the farmed, the martyred Christians (because that's where you find the women).

Diana and Agnese meet in Rome and they have an invitation to go to a huge party being put on by Livia. But as they are early, they decide to go on a tour of Rome and other places. A kind of time tour (without the need of a Tardis)

Curatorix entered stage left at this point. She's the one who finds the lost texts; finds our histories and becomes a guide for Diana and Agnese. She knows everything that has happened and will happen.

Then Sulpicia, a real life Roman poet, joins the crowd. She reads her poems and finds one she'd forgotten about (poets often lose poems only to find them many years later; 2000 years must be a record).

Empress Livia, of course, refuses to be left out and before you know it a host of goddesses, remembered and unremembered women, wolves and sheep and other animals, are battling for their own spot in the narrative and I can't work out what to post!

It's a bit like a jigsaw, now that I can see the picture, the individual images that make it up are hard to separate out.

Maybe in a few days time I'll think of one.

Lupa in Piazza del Poppolo.
Sheep from a church in Trastevere (sorry I've packed the book).
Detail from the fresco of Livia's garden room in the Museo Massimo.


  1. Looks like it is near time to pack all the pieces and return. The pieces will literally jump out at you once you are settled again. Looking forward to your book!

  2. The book will be some time yet. But it's coming together.