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In a word, “slowly.”

That was my response last week when someone asked me how The Magdalene Poems were progressing.  Yesterday, I completed a trilogy of poems for the new collection, but even at that I am still far below the halfway point, and come August, I’ll have been working on it for a year.

I was unprepared for this.  holy cards gushed out of me in a torrent.  Two or three poems a week – a prodigious output for any poet, but for me bordering on the miraculous!  The process is so different this time.  The research is much more in depth for one thing, but where the holy cards poems dropped on to the page complete and needing very little editing, I’ll write a Magdalene poem, move on to something else, and then find myself coming back to it again and again to rewrite it.  Huh.

And the poems need to percolate and consolidate in my brain for a much longer period of time before I can even begin to write them down.

I feel like I’m on a journey here, traveling through scriptures (canonical and gnostic), legends, and art to get to know the Magdalene and watch her live out her life so I can write it down.  But I need to write more than just another biography of her.  I need to write her emotional story too.  And that, as I’m finding, takes time and thinking and revising.

Very well.  I’m content (even honoured) to sit at her feet, and be her disciple.

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