Janice D. Soderling

Early Morning in the Herb Garden



Janice D. Soderling's work appears in many print and online journals such as Magma Poetry, Anon, Orbis, Horizon Review, The Flea, Literary Mama, Alba, Four-and-Twenty, Right Hand Pointing, Tilt-a-Whirl, The Pedestal, Mezzo Cammin and Phat’itude. Her fiction is included in the Best of Our Stories II anthology released 2010. A dislocated Hoosier, she lives in a small Swedish village at the edge of a forest with walking trails.

ars poetica
Decades of copywriting taught me not to stand bashfully in the doorway waiting for a Muse (with or without a tie, with or without a mustache) to turn up and seduce my mind. A commercial writer is handed the text specifications—an objective, size and a deadline-and then goes home and writes it. Poetry writing is essentially the same, except it doesn't pay as well.

Sometimes I know where the text is heading, but not always. Sometimes I give my brain an assignment to write a poem on a specific subject, or in a specific form, and after a few days of background processing, I may get lucky and the entire piece will be delivered at breakfast one morning. Or I may start out by writing a lot of crap in the middle of the night and suddenly the gears will shift and the text will start to work. The trick is to recognize when the switchover occurs and not get too excited while you are still writing crap.

The rest is about being obsessively in love with language. And editing ruthlessly.

I like experimenting. I like to try my hand at received and new forms—the sonnet and its variations, the ovillejo, rondeau, villanelle, diminishing verse, blank verse, blues, cinquain, triolet. I like working with free verse, prose poems, nonce forms. The list of possibilities is long.

These three poems are set in different molds, but they are essentially three takes on the same topic.