Stability Through Copywork

I am close to finishing copying out by hand Ursula Le Guin’s penultimate poetry collection called Late in the Day. I began this project in 2019 with her last book So Far, So Good. In many ways it was a better fit for this practice. The poems are even shorter, more concentrated, easier to approach. I find myself staying away from poems that will stretch onto a new page or a second day of work.

I think when I am finished with Le Guin, I will begin work on A Threadbare Coat by Thomas A Clark. Just listen to this poem!

More than anything I’ve learned about craft–line breaks and punctuation–the gift of this practice has been the stability of returning to the copywork over time. When I was out of sorts or the blank page was overwhelming, writing out someone else’s poems gave me a way in. Good words in my ear and out of my pen.

Have you tried copywork or a longer term project of another sort?

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