Back from the Voyage.


Deepest Space Image

Deepest Space Image

Back from the Voyage.

August 4, 2011

I finished the second full draft of The Parliament of Poets a few days ago. It’s now a readable manuscript, entirely cast in verse.

For decades I really didn’t know how to begin, though I made notes and thought about the book endlessly. I had written The Bower of Nil as a book-length narrative poem thinking it would be a bridge to writing an epic. In my mind, the three sections were based on the Greek choric dance, which I didn’t actually make clear until the ebook edition in 2010. Nevertheless, the enormous amount of reading of philosophy that I had done for The Bower of Nil helped me to understand how to handle and structure a theme around a cultural story in dramatic, literary terms. That in itself was a considerable leap forward from the lyric poetry of Into the Ruins, at times a story told or suggested in lyric sequence. The universal epic scale proved far more difficult, even arduous. It was extremely difficult and challenging to absorb and synthesize the decades of reading, my whole life, truth be told, and beyond my own personal life, into a literary, epic form that might hope to speak to our global age.

It was Virgil who finally made me realize how to begin. He had written out the Aeneid first in prose and then worked it into verse. I thought of that for years. That opened the door for me. And then the time was right.

I know I can’t possibly be objective about the book. I’ve been completely wrapped up in it. It will be for others to judge if it flies as a universal epic. For me, after decades, since the early 1980s, I feel I’ve at last crossed a threshold and can look back, as it were, from earth to the moon, back at the earth from the moon, the physical manuscript on my desk proving I have made the voyage.

I have three more drafts planned which I hope to finish by the end of this year, each one working on smaller levels of detail, tying up the loose ends. And then perhaps a few more drafts for further polishing, like a cabochon stone.

Frederick Glaysher

4 Comments

Filed under Epic

4 Responses to Back from the Voyage.

  1. Joy

    It’s amazing that for years you didn’t know where to begin and now you have a finished manuscript.I’ve had people tell me they don’t believe in editing, but like you polishing the cabochon is the way for me too. People have told me they think I write off the top of my head and although my inspiration may begin there, that is not where it ends.
    Mazel Tov and may your cabochon shine like a diamond.

  2. FG

    I wish the manuscript were finished… having picked it up again this morning, I assure you, it’s only a second draft, with piles and folders full of notes not yet woven into the fabric.

    Ah, despair, the greatest challenge, shaking it off, pushing on…

    I can’t imagine how any writer would not believe in editing. One owes one’s reader’s, hoping there are some someday, more than a rough draft. What but a polished jewel is worthy of one’s fellow human beings?

    I’ll take your note and good wishes as inspiration to work all the harder on every facet. Thank you. I appreciate it.

    P.S. We haven’t met as far as I know. Perhaps online. My wife and I joke that nearly my entire soul is online!

  3. Joy

    Happy New Year to you and your family.

  4. FG

    A happy Rosh HaShanah to you too.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *