Poetry, Gardening, Birding, and other reflections on life.
Tuesday, November 27, 2012
Reading About Poetry
Lately I've been reading some books about writing poetry, in hopes of getting out of my rut/block.
I'm hoping the ideas of these writers will spark something in me.
These notes come from Miller Williams' book Making a Poem. The first is a poem:
Animalsby Lawrence Lieberman
Help us to dream.
They enter our sleeping heads
And hoot. They drop some feathers.
( Barn Owl by Clive Hicks-Jenkins)
Quotes from Miller Williams, with random thoughts from me:
"Every act of writing is an excursion into memory. This is
especially true of poetry."
My dream last night of visiting Mark R. in Norfolk, and
getting ready to visit Sister Stephanie in Portsmouth.Mark finding me bus routes. Me saying to him
, but why can’t you just drive me there? Then me remembering I had a car with
me. Needing to go back to the other apartment to get my things.Mark living in a spare white apartment with a group of
My waking realization that if I am 65, then Sister
Stephanie is 80 years old, and Mark must be in his middle seventies. My waking realization that I haven't seen either of these people in over 40 years. Who knows where the time goes?
"Let the poem know what you’ve learned in your life.
...Suggestion always triggers the imagination."
"...Try making your poem a narrative, perhaps a dramatic
monologue, rather than a momentary expression of an emotion."
David Baker: " Be
faithful to the language you heard when you were growing up; every family has
its own way of talking. " ( I remember
my father and mother using the term “poor mouth” with contempt.)
"A good poem is made only in small part by the one who
holds the pen and in great part by the ghosts that live in the writer’s house."
ghosts in the house
Question: Who are the ghosts in my house?
The ghosts I seek on Google:Sara Bardoe, Frank Reilly,
Angele Sadlier...… ghosts I will never contact, but who I
wish would contact me.
(98) "The imprint of geography and geology, weather, and
the pace of life makes writing not only distinctive but also better than
writing with little sign of where it came from.The wrinkles, folds, and scratches caused by a land and those who live
on it enrich a reader’s experience, sharpening the reader’s feeling of having
been somewhere and found something… one cannot escape being shaped by the woman
and man one came from and the houses one walked by on the way to school." (Williams 98)
Book Title:Walking home on Miner Street …Minor
Street?The street with mines?The street where I mine the caves of my
dreams?How did the real Miner Street
(101) " ...our senses
told usthat the sun went around the
earth, that a road grew narrow as it ran into the distance. Our senses tell u
that a table is solid.What is the real
world?" ( Williams1 01)
"Paradox:the truth is that math
and all other instruments and techniques are used by a scientist to pull away
from the human condition. Insofar as one is a creature of love and hate, of
fear and self-delusion and maniacal certainties, one cannot hope to serve
science.Only by escaping the endless
contradictions and confusions of the purely human world, the world of poetry
and pride, of sidewalk preaching and used-car dealers – all using the small
language of words – only by setting aside these things can the scientist hope
to deal with the phenomenological universe… The artist, on the other hand, the
person who creates for us an illusion of natural experience in which we can
participate, is less concerned with concept. The artist works with details,
with particular things, with the furniture of this world, in order to stir our
imaginations to a sense of experience, half vicarious, half empirical. The
artist is content to let others arrive at any “truth” by means of that
experience.The poem is a thing, built
of particularities, and insomuch as it loses its very particularity it loses
its value as a poem. We are told, anyway, that this points to a difference, a
significant difference, between the scientist and the humanist.But is it?" (103)
"…The scientist begins with particulars, and from the
nature of these particulars extrapolates principles; the engineer employs these
principles to build a bridge or a rocket and so comes back full circle to the
particular. But if we are to speak of the tow fields as one, then we can say
that sciencein the broadest sense
watches the thing, figures out what general rules are directing it, causing it
to behave in a certain way, and employs these same rules to be able to (1)
anticipate behavior, and (2) to control it.
… the humanist – the philosopher, the theologian, the
historian, also studies the thing, which is the human being, and tries to
figure out what makes us act as we do, whether there is a system working
through our comings and our goings.
…the humanist is concerned with the value of
communications of an experience, with what meaning or insight is to be drawn
from it." (104)
Getting too far from things here. The other Williams, William Carlos Williams, said "No ideas but in things." and I like that better.
Enough on this Full Moon night which is so overcast that I cannot see the moon.
( photo from blog Grace-full Thoughts... unidentified photographer)