I’m writing a book. It’s going to be mostly autobiographical and slightly fictional, and it’s going to rhyme.
The story is titled Giant World and it will be presented as a 3,000-line poem in heroic couplets. It is a series of anecdotes serving as a meditation on childhood and memory and wonder and curiosity and such.
It draws inspiration from Vladimir Nabokov’s novel Pale Fire (which features a lengthy autobiographical poem) and also the poetry of Newfoundlander R.A. Parsons, who used the same form to write about this island, the people on it, and the sea. I dug up a few volumes of his work in a pile of used books a few years ago and kept them with me, even though he seems to be relatively unknown these days. The idea to write my own poem came to me a few years ago (2008?), when I wrote a short verse about a moment on a beach when I was younger and started thinking about how much else I could put into verse. That fall I wrote about a hundred lines, then forgot about the idea until last spring (2011) when I wrote about a hundred more, then stopped.
The idea has stayed with me and I’ve decided it’s time to start getting it all down on paper. I’m starting from scratch but will probably use a few of the old lines here and there. The poem is to be split into four parts, each named after a season of the year and with a distinct theme.
Spring is the first season. It is about family, learning, and nature, and I’m writing it now.
Immeasurable beauty! Giant world!
A breeze, and dandelion seeds are hurled
Across a sprawling field. And as they pass,
A thousand insects whisper in the grass.