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  • Writer's pictureBulb Culture Collective

BCC Shines A Light on: D. R. James

BCC Shines a Light On:

D. R. James

Name of the piece published by BCC:

“Almost Early Spring” (AES), 5/2/23 and “Mobius Trip” (MT), 5/5/23

When/where was it originally published:

AES: Pif

MT: Enclave (of Entropy Magazine)

What is the background of the piece? What led you to write it? What’s your process?

There were similarities and differences in the ways in which I wrote these two poems. They are similar in that both use words from a stash of words I compiled before writing—a different stash for each and a few years apart. Forcing myself to use such words sounds like a constraint, but it actually frees me to break out of my usuals and surprise myself with what emerges. I don’t have a plan or purpose or message when I write, but surprisingly what I end up writing is usually something I can say yes to, i.e., yeah, that’s it. These came about differently, though, in a couple of ways. First, AES was definitely prompted by what I saw out my window (though I still didn’t know what I was going to make of it), whereas MT had no real-world prompt. Combining some words from the stash with other words that came to me as I wrote did all the prompting for that one. And second, MT, which is the title poem of my third full-length collection, is like all the other poems in that collection with its ten lines of ten syllables each, seemingly another constraint, but again a way in which I came up with surprises, which was true for all the poems in the book. AES, however, which appears in my second full-length book, doesn’t have that 10 x 10 feature, and I don’t think I even divided it into its stanzas until I had nearly finished it: hmmmm, it looks like I have fifteen lines, so what if I went with three-line stanzas? That doesn’t always work, but I think it did in this instance. So you can see that what I was working with as I wrote drove these poems as much as or more than what I might have wanted to say, which I didn’t know, if I knew at all, until some point toward the end of first composing.

How did you feel when it was first published and how have your thoughts or feelings on the piece changed from then to now?

I’m always thrilled when a poem gets accepted and then appears in a book, even as a reprint like in both of these two cases. Unlike a lot of poets, I continue to like the poems I make, and that includes when I revisit them, so to see them again in Bulb Culture Collective is yet another thrill.

Is there a specific message you'd like readers to take away from reading this piece?

I’m not a give-them-a-message kind of poet—although I somewhat started out as one—but more of a give-them-an-experience kind of poet: images that surprise, word play that sings, non-rhythm rhythms that convey it all. If a reader relates to the content in some way, including getting a message, that’s a bonus but not a given.

Where can readers find more of your work? (Website/social media, etc)


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