Passion for truth is an idea with more than one face. It includes the determination to look closely and long, to be unsatisfied with the secondhand and assumption. It includes the emotions and the body…the writer’s whole being is the instrument of perception, not only the mind…only the hunger for something beyond the personal will allow a writer to break free of one major obstacle to originality—the fear of self-revelation.
— Jane Hirshfield, “The Question of Originality,” Nine Gates: Entering the Mind of Poetry.
An act of imagination is an act of self-acceptance.
…one reason a poet [writes is] to become a better person…a lifetime of writing [is] a slow, accumulative way of accepting one’s life as valid.
— Richard Hugo, “Statements of Faith,” The Triggering Town.
The above statements lead me to this thought: the act of writing—in my case poems, but writing creatively in general—is an act of faith, and not necessarily in the religious sense. At some point during the last three years, I made the transition from thinking of myself as wanting to be a poet to having faith that I am into the beginning of this journey of being a poet. Continue reading →
My family, previous girlfriends, and my wife will tell you I am not very good at communicating. This is true. I spend more time thinking through what I will say than I do saying it. This has the added quality that once I have thought something through, I express myself as economically as possible. My vocalizations usually come in the form of “Yes,” “No,” or “I don’t know,” leaving little for a conversation partner to grasp upon. So I have found that writing is both a way to think through things, but also a better way for me to communicate. There is something about the physicality of writing—whether by keyboard or by pen and paper—which allows a better expression for me than what seems to be an ephemeral act of speaking. Emotions, thoughts, reasoning become more readily accessible. Continue reading →
This is not a very good explanation. It strikes a true chord. I am/We are continually exiting Plato’s cave into the light. Better still, we have the capability to shine light inside that cave. I have a capability to shine a light. A little light, and a small corner of the cave, but so what? While I might have been raised in the evangelical sense of the children’s song, there is—and always has been—a greater sense of humanity, a greater sense of the cave. Sometimes there is a sense of being overwhelmed—such a little light, such an awesome cave. As Impossible Mike puts it, “an excessive pointlessness beyond terror and despair.” You are being too generous.
I write because I know there is no success in my genre. The challenges I face—the darknesses I dare—are the ones I determine to confront. Am I blind to those I choose not to? Yes. And no. Self-doubt creeps in at those blind spots. So, again, why should I choose to write, to expose myself to the self-doubt, the known shortcomings, the fears and loathings? Is it pointless to place new little lights into the world?
For those of you who’ve been following the project here, you know I’ve been writing a lot of poems based around science, and specifically the disciplines of astrophysics and particle physics. They have tended to ask the reader to shift his/her viewpoint and maybe become uncomfortable with the poem. In particular, this stems from the poems’ atheistic / agnostic viewpoint, which is in conflict with the majority of (at least) American sense of order. A lot of them have also been a lot less grounded in the human experience, and more so in the explanation of how I see the universe.
This collection of essays edited by Kurt Brown offers an interesting collection of writers, from those dealing in both poetry and science (Miroslav Holub), to poets intrigued by what science both unveils to and hides from us as people (just about everyone else). I have found a lot of interesting quotes in most of these essays (read here), and a lot that doesn’t quite fit inside the quotation format. Some ephemeral knowledge building that won’t quite fit into language right now.
I’ve been reading a lot of great books lately… Some, I’ve read through and am going back to spend more time with, and some are new for me. As I work through them, I’m posting a lot of quotes up here on the blog, and not really offering a whole lot of analysis to go along. I’m trying to get volume taken care of, I suppose.