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ADRIENNE JANSEN

A note about writing this poem

 

This is about the usefulness of a writing group, and usefulness of catching the bus.
I joined a small writing group. We had to take a piece of work every time. I’ve got piles of unfinished work, but I decided to write a new piece for each time we met.
So that was the first thing. I had to write something.
I was on the Titahi Bay bus – I catch the bus a lot – and a couple got off. The girl was carrying a tray of eggs on her fingertips, like a tray of glasses. That weird little detail was the start of a poem.
Next meeting. I needed another poem. From the bus I saw a man with a Zimmer frame, and a kid walking with him, texting. That was the start of the next poem.
Then I realised that I was writing a series of poems. I started looking out for people. Sometimes I mixed people up in the poem – I combined a man at a gate waving, with another man’s socks and shoes. I actually saw all the people in the series except some women in hats – they came from Christchurch. My niece told me about a gang of very well-dressed woman shoplifters who were making a killing, so I brought two of them to Titahi Bay.
Then I decided that I wanted all these people to have some small connection. And then I realised that I wanted them all to have an attitude to each other. So the shaping of the poem – apart from the usual hunting for just the right word, staring at line breaks and so on – was about finding that connection and that attitude.

 

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