“I started dream journaling under lockdown, recording dreams because they seemed to be getting more vivid. Even though very little of this writing made it into a poem or anything I’d put into a book, it was a good way to keep my writing muscles ready. I was finding that showing up at my desk with too much head energy wasn’t getting me into the poems I was trying to write. I’d read somewhere that ‘dream poems are often the striving of the soul,’ and I found myself leaning into the mode of automatic writing, done shortly after waking. It was a good way to practice dealing with uncertainty and letting go of unhelpful expectations.
I’ve mostly struggled to write during lockdown, but having nonnegotiable deadlines and going on long walks between writing has turned out to be fruitful. That ‘nothing is finished, only abandoned’ cliché is true for me. I’m only as good as I can be in the moment. I’ve learned over the years that a single poem doesn’t have to tell a whole truth about who the poet is, a poem can just be a moment. Something can be true in one moment and untrue in another moment. I’m kinder to myself if I remember this.”
—Raymond Antrobus, author of The Perseverance (Tin House, 2021)