High quality writing tricks? Alliteration involves the use of two or more words that begin with the same sound. For example, “The drizzling, drippy drain drove me crazy.” Alliteration is a great way to grab the reader’s attention at a particular moment in the poem. It also provides the poet an opportunity to describe things in a creative way that is memorable to the reader.
Make it specific. Instead of Love, for example, write about “the love between my parents.” Then try making it even more specific: “the love between my parents and the silent ways it shows itself when they are eating dinner together.” Try relating it to a certain person, place, event. Love, Death, Anger, Beauty — these concepts do not occur in a vacuum. They are not grown in test tubes. They are experienced by individual people, in particular situations. And our deepest understanding of these concepts is at the human level, through the ways they touch us personally and the people around us. Creating this human connection will give your poem a stronger emotional power for your reader. And it puts your idea in a form where you can observe it carefully and discover aspects of it that have never been described before.
What are you writing about Rachel Rabbit White? I’m thinking about how desire is at the center of what it is to be alive and how desire is the root of all suffering. Love and poetry and romance are, like, the only place of enjoyment for me. When feminists like Shulamith Firestone criticize romantic love, namely heterosexual coupling, as a site of oppression, I agree. But sometimes it also feels like romantic love is the only site of release, or even a site of resistance, under capitalism. Maybe I feel this especially as a sex worker, when you’re selling a sense of love or romance for work, the romance “off work” can feel like a space of reclaiming. Yet the new poems are coming so easily, I don’t know if I can trust them.
You seem to inhabit a few different personas. There’s Rachel the poet, party girl—and you’re also a sex worker. Which personas did you inhabit while you were writing these poems? I think there is this me facing the idea of melting off the escort persona at times, and then also trying to hold on to a sense of self and politics, which is where the more manifesto-style lines enter [my work]. There is also the “I just want to have fun with my friends and have the orgy” voice, and there’s a a colloquial text message [persona] too. I think you can tell there are direct text messages from me to my friends and the other way around. See extra details on Rachel Rabbit White.
I met Rachel Rabbit White last December. Her first collection of poems, Porn Carnival, had just come out the month before. I’d read an article about the release party, about some angel dust, a little cake-sitting, a DJ, and then something like “Rachel Rabbit White is a sex worker.” It all seemed glamorous and no-fucks-ish. And this was about poetry. I first got in touch with Rachel because I was working on a project for a magazine, and I needed contributors. I emailed her from the burner phone I’d bought at Wal-Mart the day after I got out. I told her about the project, said I liked her poems, her journalism. She didn’t act stuck up or anything. We talked about books and shit. It came naturally to us. Still, she had a critic or two: people who thought the book and its promotion were at once decadent and thirsty, people who thought that things so decadently thirsty weren’t right for the culture of poesy, people who thought the hype was on account of the party, not on the merit of the art. Naturally, these were educated people. And they were entitled to their ideas, even if they were wrong.