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Lifting Up the Log #7: What do you call this world? by Laura Titzer

Editor's note: If I had to pick just one thing I love about this poem, it would be the journey that it takes us on. We start with the specifics of the body, and end with the sweeping processes of the universe, going from question what it means to be alive and continuing to burrow into that question, until we're on the complete other side of it, and considering things like death and decomposition. I was so interested to hear about Laura's process of writing this piece, and you can read more about it below.

  1. How did you come up with the title? The title was actually where the idea for the poem derived. During a specific meditation practice the guide had us reflect on various parts of our body asking: what is this arm or what is my hair and do any of these physical qualities make us who we are. And then, being someone who has always wondered why I am viewing this world from this body, this specific experience, I enlarged this view to the world.

  2. What can you tell us about the inception of this piece? From that meditation experience, I kind of got obsessed and kept meditating on what makes me, me. At the same time I was really energized by creating a piece where each word tumbled into the next as one long and curvy line. It was that flow and shape that connected with these meditations to really spark the poem.

  3. If we could lift up the log of this piece, what would we see there? I think what's under the log is what I've described as the spark behind the poem. And that it's a genuine question of, really, what do we call this world? What do we call ourselves or myself? How am I connected or not connected to the environment that envelopes me?

  4. What did you have to do to get this piece ready to send out into the woods? Wow, well this poem began in April of 2021 and probably went through 5 or 6 versions. I actually love editing. I love deliberating over individual words almost painstakingly to find just the right word or the cadence. My normal process is to take a poem at a certain point and cut up all the lines and start randomly reordering just to see if something interesting emerges. Sometimes it's just bad, but other times beauty emerges.

  5. If this piece were a small forest creature, what kind of small forest creature would it be? Why? Snowshoe hare: they have amazingly large feet (strong foundation) and they blend perfectly into the snow surrounding them due to their matching fur.


Read "What do you call this world?" here.

Are you a previous or future contributor to Gastropoda and want to lift up the log on the piece you published with us? Complete the form below:

Lifting Up the Log is an ongoing series designed to indulge our love for the story behind the story, as well as to give our beloved contributors an additional way to showcase the writing they have shared here.

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