Sunday, October 7, 2018

J.I. Kleinberg : my writing day

Each writing day, I start here, or sometimes there, follow my own rules, or break them, sometimes end up with something to show for myself and sometimes not. Beside my “regular” work, which is also writing (for businesses), I make poems. In two places.

Most days, before the disruption of email, social media, or paying work, with coffee at hand, I sit at my computer in the corner, read poems out of several books, then draft at least a short poem. This is my desk:

Then (or sometimes first) I go into “my room” and work on found poems, first perusing magazines cadged from the library’s free bin for phrases that fit my requirements (no single words; physically attached to one another with no trickery; completely disengaged from the original sense and syntax; no attributable phrases). I find a lot (a LOT) of words before I find a poem. Here’s my work table:

All those little pieces of paper are found words. All those little drawers contain words on a variety of recurring topics. I typically have about twenty in process, but it can be months before I find the phrase that ties the words together.

In the center foreground is a small green sheet on top of a pink sheet with this poem in progress (words from one of the little drawers labeled meta):

Once composed into something poemy, the chunks of text are glued onto the green paper, then scanned and posted on Almost every day. Like all writing, some of these work, some don’t, and a few are good. This is admittedly obsessive, but the words and the process continue to interest me, even after 1,745 of them.

A Pushcart and Best of the Net nominee, J.I. Kleinberg is co-editor of 56 Days of August (Five Oaks Press 2017) and Noisy Water: Poetry from Whatcom County, Washington (Other Mind Press 2015). Her poetry has appeared recently in One, Diagram, WA129, Otoliths, Raven Chronicles, Calamus Journal, and elsewhere. She lives in Bellingham, Washington, USA, and posts most days at and

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