February 2016 was productive for me poetry-wise. Two of the poems I wrote that month have already been published, but the other one I’d also started then languished for an entire year before I managed to finish it.
February 2017 felt very different from February the year before. The world had, if not changed, become unmasked at its ugliest places. I was tired and impotent and just low-key angry all the time. I told my friends I’d never been so full of rage, and all the words now were brittle and dry, fire and ruin.
Over a few days, I’d finished (a rough draft) of that unruly poem, surprising myself with how quickly it came together when I’d written and deleted so many stanzas before. It dawned on me I hadn’t been able to do it before because I hadn’t been angry enough. People think writing is about bleeding on the page, and it kind of is – but not all emotions translate the way you expect. Anger has always been draining to me; it’s not something that inspires my creativity. Or maybe I just never knew how to channel it until now.
Today, I’m so happy and proud to share THE FOOTRACE with you in its completed form.
It is one of the most difficult poems I’ve written, the one I’ve done the most revisions on, and it’s maybe my best so far. You can also hear me read the poem on the Strange Horizon’s poetry podcast.