on revision: With me, I can pretty quickly hear whether there is a thing that is alive inside the poem. But for me, if that thing that’s alive in some poems isn’t there, there’s nothing I can do to make it come forward, you know? Some poems have life, and some just don’t. Sometimes it’s an ostrich, and sometimes it’s a cinder block, and no matter what I do I can’t make a cinder block be an ostrich (Heather Christle)
the process of writing poetry: an enormous part of what I’m doing is listening, that I’m listening to the strangeness that is within us, and within our world, and within our ways of speaking to one another. And I’m listening to the energies and desires of the words themselves, which isn’t to say that I think that I’m actually listening to Martians, to borrow Jack Spicer’s metaphor, you know? I don’t think that I’m catching the voices of ghosts or something. I don’t know what is on the other side of what I’m listening to, but I do know that it, for me, has to be heard right away, that I can’t slowly revise my way towards it. If I missed it the first time, it’s not going to become present.
To day there’s no time for the
mistakes of a long and slow
development: dazzle or die.
Are there dangers? Of course.
There are dangers every time I
open my mouth, hence at
times when I keep it shut, I try
to teach by grunts, sighs,
Poems exist to create a space for the possibilities of language as material. That is what distinguishes them from all other forms of writing. Poems allow language its inherent provisionality, uncertainty, and slippages. They also give space for its physicality–the way it sounds, looks, feels in the mouth–to itself make meaning (12).
Nobody who loves poetry reads to be impressed, but to experience and feel and understand in ways only poetry can conjure.
Pushing away the anxious need to be right, or smart, or consistent, or accurate, in flavor of more intuitive and partial and therefore potentially more beautiful type of knowledge.
I read an interview with Arthur Sze and I like how he describes how poetry enables us to slow down, not by force but by helping/encouraging us to listen to the sounds of words, the rhythm of language. It’s a invitation, not a demand.
Poetry has a crucial role to play in our lives, society, and the world. It helps us slow down, hear clearly, see deeply, and envision what matters most in our lives. When one reads a poem, one has to pay attention to the sounds of words, to the rhythm of language, experience the dance and tension between sound and silence. A good poem communicates viscerally in the body before it’s fully understood in the mind, and, in that experience, complexities of feeling and thought can sometimes only be conveyed through poetry. I forget which Zen monk wrote,
what comes from brightness, I strike with brightness;
what comes from darkness, I strike with darkness
but here’s an example of emotional and imaginative insight, and how to proceed in the world, compressed into a few words, where each word matters. [The quote comes from 9th century Chinese master Linji Yixuan (Jp. Rinzai).] Prose can explain and lengthily articulate the meaning in those two lines, but only poetry, I think, can capture and embody the experience.
Our world today is built on various assumptions—“time is money,” for example—and we live in an age that although globally connected is not necessarily humanly connected. People work endless hours buying and selling stocks and bonds—“buy silk, sell steel”—for instance. Poetry stands in resistance to this commercial culture. It is not about acquiring material wealth; instead, it’s about human insight, genuine human connectivity, and promotes mindfulness and awakening. In that way, poetry is priceless. And, in that way, I have devoted my life to poetry for over 50 years. Poetry, for me, is about discovery, renewal, awakening, and affirming a way of living that is profound, humbling, and meaningful.
Poetry is a fireplace in the summer or a fan in winter.
capable of being in uncertainties, Mysteries, doubts, without any irritable reaching after fact & reasons
Essays about the Second person, you
I’m not here to tell anyone else how to live their lives, and I am cognizant of how ego-driven it is even just to want to live a life that others strive to emulate—but I know that folks are watching regardless, because we’re a social species, so I am loud with my love.twitter thread
Resources on double abecedarians
Resources on Color
- We a Wild Life, a podcast with Lasky
- Color, Linguistic Relativity, and Other Trippy Stuff
- The crayola-fication of the world: How we gave colors names, and it messed with our brains (part II)
- On Color/ a syllabus from Maggie Nelson
How to do Nothing/ Jenny Odell
Make oneself into a shape that cannot so easily be appropriated by a capitalist value system.
resistance in place
Beth Ann Fennelly
And when the reader has taken the poem so deeply into the body that it’s memorized, the words don’t need to be understood and processed before they can be reacted to; the gap between the words and emotions they elicit disappears.My 100
The best argument for verse memorization may be that it provides us with knowledge of a qualitatively and physiologically different variety: you take the poem inside you, into your brain chemistry if not your blood, and you know it at a deeper, bodily level than if you simply read it off a screen. Robson puts the point succinctly: “If we do not learn by heart, the heart does not feel the rhythms of poetry as echoes or variations of its own insistent beat.”Why We Should Memorize
- Tweet from @frannychoir with some birdsong mnemonics
- Here I Am! Where are You? Minding Birdsong in the North American Forest
- Aaaaw to Zzzzzd: The Words of Birds: North America, Britan, and Norther Europe
Carina del Valle schorske
transcriptions rly show how much of our talk is dirt & gravel, how clear thoughts have to be panned for like gold
yet all the human pleasure is in the gravel, in the second-guessing & laughter & short sighs, the repetitions & amens, the silences where thoughts turn & settle
“Lyric poems, even when based on narratives, do not resemble stories. All stories are about battles, of one kind or another, which end in victory or defeat. Poems, regardless of any outcome, cross the battlefields, tending the wounded” –John Berger1:51 PM · Sep 6, 2020via Ilya Kaminsky (@ilya_poet)