About three years ago, I attended the National Conference on Undergraduate Research, where I presented on the concept of using revision as an integral part of the creative process. I have come to view revision–my opinion has been revised–as even a primary source of creativity.
Over the past year, in particular, as I was working through the thesis project, revision was a primary mode of work. In one way, I felt a hole in that I was not creating any new poems. This however, was not really the case. Reflecting now, several months after the defense, I can see that both the work as a whole, and the individual poems, are substantially different. Of the initial chapbook-length collection I began the process with, only a few poems remain in the bound thesis, and most of those amount to completely different poems.
The revision process had, in other words, become the primary creative mode.
I wonder, and you may be wondering, the why and how of revision functioning as a primary creativity mode. I have three ideas about this:
As I wrote in the introduction to this essay, I have discovered over the last couple of years a faith in my writing. This faith is composed of those outlined above, and I think to a greater or lesser extent my writing exhibits it. I think an interesting question might be how I got to this place where I feel confident in and trust my abilities with writing. There are two things, I think, that contributed to this building faith. Continue reading →
Writing is an act of faith in the self. Because writing is, as Hugo notes, “an act of self-acceptance” (71) and faith—in this understanding—is an acknowledgement and acceptance of the self, writing is an act of faith.
But what does this really mean? An act of writing—of putting words onto paper or into electronic form—necessarily conducts an individual’s unique perspective into the world at large. Continue reading →
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 →
While I haven’t been posting here (or at Poetic Idealism) lately, that’s not to say things haven’t been very busy.
One thing I’m very proud of is the state of the new issue of Barely South Review, which has taken up most of my time these past two weeks. It’s turned out beautifully, with no small thanks to the contributors who sent us wonderful materials to work with, and the staff who put in many long hours.
On the other hand, this workload also means my thesis has taken somewhat of a back seat recently. I’ve written a couple of new things, but still feel about fifteen poems short. These are in me somewhere, and now I have time to go mining for them.
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.