Excellent article — timely questions.
Poetry is a Verb! working theory:
1. All human beings possess creative abilities whether or not explored and utilized in their daily existence.
2. We define the Artist or Creative as anyone who practices or performs any of the creative arts; as one using the skill of creative expression in an artistic method.
3. The judgement of others in regard to the output and quality of creative work is arbitrary; based on individual and cultural bias, the historical time-period in which one lives, and an individuals background and belief systems.
4. Thus, no one (including the creative individual themselves) can accurately judge the artist or the work and its overall contribution to humanity.
Re-Post from February 2011:
“One should never write just to avoid being silent…. I feel a writer MUST write what is in his heart, and if there is nothing there of strong content or passion, then he must LIVE and EXPERIENCE before he can truly write….writing is, after all like art, simply sharing our passion with the world.” ~from a letter to my mother, April 2001
I believe that the best writing comes from deep belief, sincere passion, and a strong connective tissue between the writer and the written. These qualities allow great writing to transcend the particular time of its creation.
A writer suffering deep loss, of a child or spouse, will put that loss into the words of a poem or story. It is an intimate loss to him, but it is also a common experience, a shared sadness among other human beings. He will articulate the loss, others will read and identify with his words, the poem or story will always be his but will also become an independent identity in many ways. It will outlive him, or keep him alive, in coming centuries depending on your view. It has its own permanence.
This permanence, or legacy, is part of arts truth, so to speak. Most people can name a few classic writers and artists without great trouble (Shakespeare,Hemingway, Van Gogh, Rembrandt), but how many could name current artists? Very few could name the current Poet Laureate or a current popular painter. Artists understand, to some degree, that their work may well have more meaning and be worth more value in the future. A writer writes now with an eye focused a decade away. An artist creates now with the understanding that his canvass is more permanent than himself.
The artist is a creator. He excavates his emotional soul and pours deep truths onto the waiting page or canvass; he dissects and maneuvers the universal realities he sees as he lives, recasting and reworking them into a timelessness that becomes art. This art becomes a flexible representation of the universal passion of humanity and endures because of that kinship. He creates a legacy, an oeuvre, for himself that will eventually be all that remains.
Art is steeped in the history of it’s time of creation to some degree, but that is more reference point than anything else. The language, dress, and backgrounds’ may change, but the faces and voices are timeless. Eyes look out hauntingly with fear or joy, action takes place with a certain tone or with laughter. The experience is universally human regardless of the time period.
There is still a pond there thirty-six years later.
The trees still exist – those I walked by, sat under
In the cold-gray days of childhood solitude.
The country-farmer land and red-ore dirt
still dominate that world like old sentries
standing guard between past and present.
Only the warm bodies, soft voices are gone.
Going back to the town – to the memories – I
visited with the ghosts of my beginnings.
Thought: So this is it.
This is my experience of coming home.
There were no parties, no Sunday picnics
to welcome me. There was only the land
and it’s trees and water, blue sky over mountains.
There was no blackberry cobbler, no strawberry cake.
Only the same roads I learned to drive on.
A new grandchild born in the same hospital
where my daughter was born,
where I first breathed in life. Origin.
The mountains haven’t changed.
They stand quietly watching the valley
filled with third-generation human drama.
Years ago, when I drove away to bigger cities,
some of the old folks were still living.
Time slipped by — years. They slipped away
into some dark unknown-other existence.
I searched for them in the water,
but could see only me clearly –
a shimmering reflection in the pond.
In the clear-white water of childhood
a little blonde-haired girl, green eyes shining,
fueled by curiosity, driven by a desperate need
to seek out Other.
To see and know the wider world –
to see and know myself. Leaving
the ghosts of other days
gently whispering in unison
goodbye again as I drove away.
~Photo Credit: Emerge by Mia Tavonatti
ego-separation from the letting-go
is the last phase of loss.
solemn-silence is declared.
it will not lift, it can not lift
until vision clarifies.
imagine the world as a new
place created and transformed by
the without, adjusted perception
looks for meaning
submerged in the pain,
seeks solace from a fragmented spirit
that clings to us in absence.
each lost thing claims
a part of our souls
unravels the lies we hide
bare and jaggedly grieved.
the creation of losses
evolves into shards of recovery.
stimulated by grieving
the mirrors reflection –
our souls love for others.
Photo Credit: On The Bridge by Joana Kruse
You are Water.
You come to me like the deep-running crystalline water
of cold mountain streams I once roamed beside in childhood hours.
Water flowing fast over polished rocks, the glint of Autumn sunlight
dancing across the gurgle and swish of currents, rolling
down, over, lower toward some eventual unknown ocean.
My soul captured by that bright sparkle was forever reaching
for the golden glimmer dancing beneath my hands, child-fingers
grasping in the icy water unable to capture the light illusive and fleeting.
You are Earth.
You open before me like the moss covered ridges and valleys
I strolled through as a girl in the tall pine forests of Carolina.
Your scent like the deep wet earth after a gentle Spring rain.
Your arms and hands and fingers the sinew of roots, your skin
the color of evening descending through the valleys at twilight.
My spirit captured by the deep-graying light of evening, sitting
still on the dark green moss – watching – until the last streaks
of light left the sky and dark descended like a curtain on the world.
You are Air.
You flow into me like a breeze moving through the giant oak trees
of my adolescence, twisting and turning each leaf to movement. A sudden
symphony of hushed tones, soft rustled sounds of possession as
the tree becomes one with the wind that invades it. Like God breathing
into Adam — a gentle whisper carrying the all-consuming power to Be.
My mind captured in the soft-voiced honeyed silk words sliding from your lips,
you become a foreign zephyr traveling through me, carry me skyward and
leave me adrift in the wordless place of amber-eyed heights that is you.
You are Fire.
You burn through my veins like liquid mercury. The white-hot presence of you
rages in the room stealing the air from my lungs, leaves me weak and yearning.
A bright silver fire flowing through all those secret places of memory and need
before the fire becomes all, the flames filling my body to bursting-glowing
like the face of Moses after standing before the burning bush of God.
My body captured by the curiosity of wanting to know, to experience
the most uncommon of things. How could I have known the Mercury —
so glittery-silver and liquid-beautiful in my hand — would be so deadly?
I work to weave
this bit of space
The folded clothes
stacked on the chair,
the last pair of
shoes I wore
near the bed.
A coat hanging
on the doorknob –
the entry door open
because the dogs
don’t understand –
my desk, my time,
these stories crafted
from nothingness – so
they still stop by to visit
every once in awhile,
in hope of a bone.
I start the day
thinking of nothing
in particular. Survival,
another day at the office
to get through — the
from reckless people – avoid
a mysterious x-love,
avoid daredevils and
those with death wishes.”
I think of you
for the first time
in weeks: lips,
against my neck,
hands meeting your
warm hard presence
pulling me into memory.
My phone vibrates,
displays your name in bright
I end my day
thinking of mysterious
influences, daredevils, horoscopes,
and the cliff I once jumped from
with spectacular, reckless courage.
Last weekend the Spartanburg Herald-Journal carried an excellent piece by Susanne M. Schafer writing for the Associated Press. The article reminded all residents of South Carolina of “the devastation wrought by their worst storm in the past century – and to be ready in case another such tempest comes.”
Hurricane Hugo took aim at Charleston Harbor like a bull’s-eye twenty-five years ago on September 21, 1989. Landfall occurred just before midnight as a category four storm. The hurricane was thirty-five miles wide with winds in excess of one hundred and thirty-eight miles per hour. The coast north of Charleston was pounded by storm surges up to twenty feet above normal. Hugo wreaked havoc across the state, packing hurricane force winds into the Upstate.
Hugo left 60,000 people in the state homeless, 270,000 temporarily unemployed, and 54,000 state residents seeking disaster assistance. Many were without power for more than a month.
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Happy National Poetry month!
It’s National Poetry Month, and you’re probably thinking: “I should really read more poetry. But where oh where do I start?” Well, sound the trumpets, because here is Flavorwire to the rescue! After the jump, you’ll find a list of 50 essential books of poetry that pretty much everyone should read. There’s something for everybody here, from the deeply established canonical works to riveting, important books by newer poets, from the Romantics to the post-modernists, from the goofy to the staid. NB: as with other lists like these, only one work per author has been included, and there is a bias against the “Collected Poems of” unless necessary. Obviously, inevitably, painfully, there are many, many poets and works of poetry, both of great renown and less so, that are missing here and should still be read by everyone. This list can only reflect personal taste, chance meetings, and wild subjectivity…
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