Guest Blog Posts

Elision Fields: Poetry and Sculpture – guest blog post by Guinotte Wise


To elide is to drop a consonant in pronunciation. Elision also has a second meaning: the process of joining together or merging things, especially abstract ideas. That definition could as easily apply to sculpture as to poetry. To composing as to screenwriting.

It’s no surprise that the arts have affinity for one another, that one slops over on the other, to put it inelegantly. That many sculptors are poets (Alexander Calder, Michaelangelo) or songwriters or that composers paint (Medelssohn, Kandinsky)
and are accomplished at both, should amaze no one. Little kids are great abstract expressionists, and fiction maker-uppers. People of any age have “it.” Many have just let it get dulled along the way, or have been falsely led to believe they never had any creativity to begin with. “I can’t draw a straight line.” Good, what’s so great about straight lines anyway? Georgia O’Keefe didn’t like ’em. This painter of stunning scenes wrote great poetry.

What I’m saying here, is try your hand. You can write. Try drawing. Take a course. Make some jewelry, found object sculpture, look into architecture. Not to take time away from your first love, but to augment it, speed it along. When the words won’t come, take some photos. Or a course in photography.

I’m not sure if sculpture complements my writing or vice versa. I do know that if the words are sluggish on any given day, I lose myself in a welding fugue and the words pour more easily soon after.

Lately I’ve been doing what too many of us do, cruising around the internet thinking maybe I’ll find some secret, something that will extract all the work out of projects and leave just the fun. I’m 158 pages into a novel and it sort of weinied over on me. No pill for that. I’d go out and weld in the un-air-conditioned metal building but it’s over 100 today with high humidity. Welding would be stupid, not to mention torturous. So my brilliant thesis above has some leaks. Oh, man, is there no panacea?

What there is, is tenacity. Perseverance. I’m reminded of the words of a successful author: Ron Carlson said, I’m paraphrasing here, the best stuff he ever wrote happened about twenty minutes after wanting to leave the room. Good advice. And, in my desultory cruising today I stumbled upon a flying buttress to that very scheme by Shannon of 101 Words. Shannon quotes Amelia Earhart: “The most difficult thing is the decision to act, the rest is merely tenacity.”

Merely tenacity. Some days, that’s like saying Only A Ton. This is one of those days. But all whining aside, I’m gonna give it a shot. I’m saying a thousand words on the novel or I have no sand at all. I’ll let you know how that goes.

How it went. 1,216 words is how that went. We’ll see at edit time after the novel is finished if those words are any good. I think they are. Thanks, Amelia. Thanks, Ron. Thanks, Shannon at 101 Words. All of you are right.

The thing is, I didn’t want to write. I didn’t want to weld. I didn’t want to start some new poetry. Though now, I’m ready to write some poetry. I love poetry and now the enthusiasm is back. Those 1,216 words were like a workout. You always feel better after a workout.

No secrets. No magic. (Oh there’s magic all right, when you’re into the writing or the pursuit you’ve chosen. It’s deep in the doing.) Sorry if this thing is all over the place. That’s pretty much my method. And, as I’ve said before, who the heck am I to give advice? My last royalty check was $12.74 and I drive a twenty-year-old pickup. But I love what I do.

We did a lowball music video at my farm years ago, with Charley Pride for Honest Music. I was writing ads for them back then. The song was “Just for the love of it” and in the filming, my two dogs followed Charley around as he walked the pasture in one scene that made Good Morning America. They dug his singing. Loved it. Like the neighbors who came out of the woodwork, the little kids. Some of the words:

“Just for the love of it,
That’s all the reason you need,
What more could anyone ask,
Satisfaction guaranteed.”

(Well, a bestseller wouldn’t hurt. For now, tenacity. Onward)

Do you have something say about poetry? An essay on being a poet, tips for poets, or poetry you love? is now accepting pitches for guest blog posts. 

Contact me here if you are interested! 

Guinotte Wise writes and welds on a farm in Resume Speed, Kansas. His short story collection (Night Train, Cold Beer) won publication by a university press and not much acclaim. Three more books since, the latest a collection of poetry titled Scattered Cranes, published by Pski’s Porch, 2017. His wife has an honest job in the city and drives 100 miles a day to keep it.

3 replies »

  1. Thanks for the all over the place piece!!! Great fodder…. and living in “Resume Speed”, Kansas… That’s a poem in itself.

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