A Landing Place for Poems

Last night at the second of Emily XYZ’s workshops, we looked at our place on the cultural continuum, spoke about the artists/art/objects/places etc.. that have influenced us and then read a poem that demonstrated how we have taken those influences and shaped them into our own, original voice.

I read chapter 4 of Desolation Angels, a piece of writing that sings after countless reads; that still has the power to mesmerise, to light up my senses. Desolation Angels found me at a strange time of life, struggling with my own persoanl loneliness, so I was there on the Lookout with Jack, trying to find the truth in this world, just as he was. I then read the poem, January 29, 2009 (for John Martyn) to show how Kerouac’s spiritual connection with the land and ability to illuminate the ‘everydayness’ of living has greatly influenced my own work.

Emily talked often throughout the night about the importance of finding your tribe; to know that you are not alone and that there is a precedent for what you are trying to do. She also spoke about how poems come to us and that sometimes we are vessels, a landing place for poems.

This reminded me of the quote by Muriel Rukeyser:

“You only need be a scarecrow for poems to land on.”

and lead to this great article ‘The Poet is a Scarecrow’ by Melissa Broder. What struck me most about this article was Broder’s exploration of Barbara Guest’s theory that the poem is an active force exercising human imagination; is an entity capable of feelings. In Guest’s world, ‘a poem seeks out a certain type of artist; an artist who possesses the qualities of subjectivity or openness.’

I totally recommend reading this article… it certainly spoke to me. These workshops are proving to be the highlight of my week.

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3 Comments

Filed under poetry & publishing

3 responses to “A Landing Place for Poems

  1. David

    Reminds me of a quote attributed to Dylan (or it may have been Dylan quoting Woody Guthrie) about the creative process and source of inspiration. The poem, he said, was already written floating round in the ether somewhere. All he had to do was be receptive enough to “find it”.

  2. confabulator

    2 great evenings at QSL with Emily.
    exposure to not only new poets, established poets, old poets, young poets, but too the sort of thinking and talking about poetry and poets which really facilitates development.
    Reflective learning.
    for me, the poem seems often to be inside, and requires ‘inspiration rain’.
    the tribe. many of the poets there seemed more sure of their tribe than me. surprisingly, considering my career, I’m not much of a ‘belonger’. maybe I’ll be my tribe when I am a little more poem-confident.
    um.
    isn’t the thing that scarecrows frighten birds away?
    do we want only poems that aren’t scared of poets?
    isn’t the bird in the bush worth two in the hand?
    let’s creep up on some and see if they like one of us!
    let’s BE a poem hiding from/laughing at a scarepoem.

    hey! look! there’s old confabulator standing in a field trying to catch a poem on the breeze mono-pedal sunrise worship pose again the fool send a baby parrot as a tease. send a crow to dark his thoughts magpies to thieve his tongue flitting wrens to confound all he’s said everyone land on one arm to topple him aground then build a nest and lay eggs in his head.

  3. confabulator

    2 great evenings at QSL with Emily.
    exposure to not only new poets, established poets, old poets, young poets, but too the sort of thinking and talking about poetry and poets which really facilitates development.
    Reflective learning.
    for me, the poem seems often to be inside, and requires ‘inspiration rain’.
    the tribe. many of the poets there seemed more sure of their tribe than me. surprisingly, considering my career, I’m not much of a ‘belonger’. maybe I’ll be my tribe when I am a little more poem-confident.
    um.
    isn’t the thing that scarecrows frighten birds away?
    do we want only poems that aren’t scared of poets?
    isn’t the bird in the bush worth two in the hand?
    let’s creep up on some and see if they like one of us!
    let’s BE a poem hiding from/laughing at a scarepoem.

    hey! look! there’s old confabulator standing in a field trying to catch a poem on the breeze mono-pedal sunrise worship pose again the fool send a baby parrot as a tease. send a crow to dark his thoughts magpies to thieve his tongue flitting wrens to confound all he’s said everyone land on one arm to topple him aground then build a nest and lay words in his head.

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