Ars Poetica V (personal lyric)

I found this book which I had left unfinished. And started re-reading: … for a poem to move us it must bring us near our own threshold. We must feel genuinely threatened or destabilized by the poem’s vision of disordering, even as we are simultaneously reassured and convinced by its orderings Gregory Orr: Poetry as Survival…

chores: an excuse for not doing more important stuff

I read this interesting presentation of Svetlana Lilova’s : Metaphysical Dictionary (2016) over at Caroline’s a few days ago.  Metaphysical Dictionary is a collection of “sort-of-poems” with illustrations by Graham Falk. I say “sort-of-poems” because, as the title tells us, this is also a dictionary – and as a dictionary; a rather untraditional & personal one. If everyone chose to write…

Recharge

I’m on holiday (=recharging) …; using An Absorbing Errand  by Janna Malamud Smith as a guide back into the world of creativity. True happiness, we are told, consists in getting out of one’s self; but the Point is not only to get out — you must stay out; and to stay out you must have some absorbing errand. Henry James from…

Live the questions …

Be patient toward all that is unsolved in your heart and try to love the questions themselves, like locked rooms and like books that are now written in a very foreign tongue. Do not now seek the answers, which cannot be given you because you would not be able to live them. And the point…

Funny is the New Deep

In Brooklyn gaining new insights on writing … “Writers in early stages … tend to look down upon the comic impulse”, says Almond, and I think he is right. Writers are afraid of not being taken serious. But the thing is: Comedy is not stupid, it is – maybe – the best way to connect…

Sea-change

How to write about nature in a way that makes the reader feel the landscape as if she was there; wandering through it … absorbed, possessed – ? Here is Jean Sprackland: Countless times I’ve seen the shore hewn and hammered, scattered with whole tree trunks, steel pipes, oil drums, concrete fence posts, dead sheep….

A talent for concealment and revelation

A breeze was blowing, and I could smell salt, seaweed, and sun-bleached shore. I knew, once again, that I’d found home. –Sue Hubbell, Waiting for Aphrodite I never tire of the coast because it’s never the same twice. The tides and the weather change its physical shape, and they bring different things to look at….

It is hard to drop from the self into the soul

From “The Edge of the Frame”, by Tony Hoagland             (an excerpt)   Joseph Cornell collected souvenirs of places he was miserable in, which pretty much was everywhere he went. Churchill felt afraid on stairs. Terrible migraines of Virginia Woolf entered her skull and would not be evicted. I read biographies because I want to…

On Grace

Even in our sleep, pain which cannot forget falls drop by drop upon the heart until, in our own despair, against our will, comes wisdom through the awful grace of God. — Aeschylus

The Art of Fiction

I’m reading “The Art of Fiction” by James Salter, an essay full of treasures, like for example this, on the language of Isaac Babel: It’s like a handful of radium—a brilliance you would never imagine. and then – on writing: Of course, not every word can be the perfect word. Not every room overlooks the river….

Floating

Louise Glück on creativity Claire Luchette: What are the seeds of your work? Do your poems grow from a feeling you want to convey, or a question you want to ask? Louise Glück: No. I never have the slightest thing in mind. In fact, I am suspicious of my existing ideas, my conscious thoughts and…

Poets ought not to be far from their words

I enjoy reading books on writing. It’s a great way to situate oneself in the tribe, as a writer amongst writers. The best books on writing offers a sense of belonging and purpose. This year I have read six such books, and am currently immersed in book no. 7; Diane Lockward’s The Crafty Poet. A Portable Workshop….