Unlocking the Unconscious Through Poetry
Here is the first stanza of the poem that changed my mind about Ashbery, and therefore about contemporary American poetry, and I guess therefore my life:
The One Thing That Can Save America
Is anything central?
Orchards flung out on the land,
Urban forests, rustic plantations, knee-high hills?
Are place names central?
Elm Grove, Adcock Corner, Story Book Farm?
As they concur with a rush at eye level
Beating themselves into eyes which have had enough
Thank you, no more thank you.
And they come on like scenery mingled with darkness
The damp plains, overgrown suburbs,
Places of known civic pride, of civil obscurity.Read Full Post
Afterlife by Natalie Eilbert
There is no life after death. Why
should there be. What on
earth would have us believe this.Read Full Post
In Defense of Candelabra With Heads
First the poet reads the original poem.
Then later she reads a defense of the poem.
Fascinating...Read Full Post
Blake, Beethoven, and the Tragic Genius of Outsiderdom
Here's another interesting article from Brainpickings...
“It is the mark of a genius like Blake … that what is purest and most consistent in his thought burns away his own suffering and fanaticism, while his art speaks to what is most deeply human in us.”Read Full Post
Your Inner Virus, Invisible Forces and Ming the Clam
Do you know there are about 4 trillion viruses in your body? Make you want an antibiotic IV? Well don't make a fist just yet. Most of the little buggers are benign, for now, and some are downright essential to our survival. 8 - 9% of our genome is viral. I think it explains a lot. We do have some overtly viral characteristics: insatiable drive to reproduce, irresistibly invasive, highly adaptive and often deadly. Viruses have been around wreaking their brand of havoc since the dawn of life. The list of viral diseases is long and terrifyingly ugly. But the list only tells what we know about viruses so far...what about the effects we aren't aware of, don't see? What are the viruses doing in our genomes? Lurking in our DNA...waiting for the right niche to come along? Then springing some unsightly rash, pustules or feverish insanity on it's host? Now I want the IV.
Makes me wonder about other invisible forces and influences working their magic on us. Gravity seems the most obvious example...what can I say about gravity except it keeps us grounded. Time...we measure time, waste it, lose it, pass, make, run out of and make the most of time, all in a vain attempt to control it...and what do we get from time? Not enough of it that's for sure. Randomness, is it a force? It certainly is an influence and sure as hell feels like a force when it kicks your door in and sends you spinning off to OZ. Evolution is a force...it's made us what we are...ask if we are products of nature or nurture and the answer is evolution. One beef with evolution though, wish we hadn't given up on the prehensile tail. Oh and one other, short lifespan.
Speaking of lifespan how does 400 years sound to you? Well, Ming the Clam got 405 years.Read Full Post
Advice to Lovers, 1919 “Love is not kindly nor yet grim / But does to you as you to him.” BY MARIA POPOVA
In case you are unfamiliar with Brainpickings by Maria Popova you are in for a treat...
Between 1919 and 1923, when he was still in his twenties, English poet Robert Graves (July 24, 1895–December 7, 1985) published a short-lived and radical literary magazine titled The Owl. The foreword to its first issue declared, “The Owl has no politics, leads no new movement and is not even the organ of any particular generation.” The magazine went on to publish works by established writers like Thomas Hardy, W. H. Davies, and John Galsworthy, alongside vibrant illustrations by some of the era’s celebrated artists.Read Full Post
This is a post I wrote a couple of years ago on my blog at Poetryontherun.com. I just reread the book and decided to share this...
Just finished reading The Killing of Crazy Horse by Thomas Powers. www.thekillikgofcrazyhorse.com Powers gives more space and credence to Native American oral history than is usually found in the history books. He offers a version of the truth that is plausible, fully fleshed and chocked full of human interest. The story is told from multiple points of view based on diaries, original interviews from newspapers of the day, first, second, third hand accounts recorded by anthropologists and a still lively oral tradition handed down through the generations. It is a compelling story told simply and directly by the people who lived it.Read Full Post
This is a poem from my blog Poetry on the run
The chosen few will pass this night of gales
floating in the intimacy of friends and fine ideas.
While we who are confined to fixed positions
shake as if the wind might impale us
on the sharp spears of our lives.
We whisper as though our voices
will bring the walls down on our naked heads.
We sit behind closed windows, bolted doors,
feeling unprotected as rain shatters against the roof.
The weight of night, the weight of all nights
pales in comparison to this leaden darkness
pressing against our eyes.
The brilliant dawn is beyond our ken.
Read Full Post
This is a most powerful poem
I am posting this poem because it moved me deeply and I want to share it with everyone.Read Full Post
Writing, Pain and Frankenstein's Monster
Writing, Pain and Frankenstein's Monster
"I do find writing a very painful process. I never understand writers who say it's enjoyable."
'A very painful process' - not quite sure what that means. Is writing really painful? Does it have to be in order to be good, be authentic? It's difficult, sometimes ideas and the right words are hard to come by, but I don't find pain in that kind of difficulty. So far I have scribbled 9 pages in a notebook, restarted this post 6 times and still don't have a handle on what I want to say, but this is not a painful process. In fact it is rather enjoyable. Thinking about what to say, how to say it, searching for inspiration, it's a nice conversation I am having with myself and all the authors I look to for help. When (if) I finally do hit on the right combination it is exhilarating, like the spark in Frankenstein's monster "It is alive!".
I am curious why so many writers feel pain, seem to require it. I can understand what John Gardner means when he says,"Art begins in a wound ...".The wound opens the door for pathos, empathy, compassion, emotional maturity, curiosity about the human condition. But the wound is not the Art, if anything Art is a healing balm for wounds. In that sense pain does seem a requirement to be fully human, much less a writer.
Where does the pain come from? It is real, not imagined by strange folk who claim the title 'writer'. It is not always and only caused by writing about pain. I have written poems about some very personal loses and they did not cause me to feel 'pain' but something more akin to longing and even a sense of release/relief. Graham Greene challenges us to write about happiness, "Pain is an easy write. In pain we're all happily individual. But what can one write about happiness?" Is there angst in a story about happiness? Well it might at least cause some doubt about one's ability to write, and I don't have to tell you how painful that can be.
What is it about writing that can bring someone like to Styron to say, "... writing is hell.", or Orwell to compare it to "... a long bout of some painful illness.", or Katherine Anne Porter to beat herself in the head each morning just to get started. One can find any number of quotes about writing and pain but a good explanation escapes me, there is still something fuzzy about the concept for me. I do not feel pain when I write, which might make me less than Deep. I can be okay with that, as long as I can tell the difference between shallow and Deep, I may keep from making a great flapping jackass of myself. Also, I don't feel particularly deprived by the lack of pain, considering where I am at in my little quest to pen the perfect poem pain is the least of my problems.
It seems to me that writing may be a lot like fire was to Frankenstein's monster, a nice little light in the dark, but painful to touch. I don’t know, if it is I suppose I’m ready to burn for my art.
That's all I have for now.
John Gardner's full quote because it is so beautiful...
“Art begins in a wound, an imperfection—a wound inherent in the nature of life itself—and is an attempt either to learn to live with the wound or to heal it. It is the pain of the wound which impels the artist to do his work, and it is the universality of woundedness in the human condition which makes the work of art significant as medicine or distraction.”
Read Full Post
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