"When dawn spreads its paintbrush on the plain, spilling purple... ," Songs of the Pioneers song from TV show "Wagon Train." Dawn on the mythic Santa Fe Trail, New Mexico, looking toward Raton from Cimarron. -- Clarkphoto. A curmudgeon's old-fashioned newspaper column, cross-breeding metaphors and journalism and art, for readers in 150 countries.

Saturday, December 5, 2009

Thoughts on poetry- muscles and muses

In "Zen in the Art of Writing," Ray Bradbury urges writers to read poetry every day, because it makes you use muscles you don't usually use--except he said it more gracefully.

This culture of ours doesn't read much poetry, nor do we talk about it much. Has it always been thus? Reading the Romantics like Shelly and Byron and Keats would give you that impression. They were also outcasts, as most real artists are in their own time, because they push boundaries and project truths in ways that jar people...Cezanne and Goya, Ginsberg and Burroughs, et. al. How long since you have sat down and discussed poetry with someone, just for the fun of it? "What do you think this means?" "What a great image." I know of some "book circles." Are there any "poetry circles." I'm not a nerd nor effeminate, but I know a chance to sit down and talk with friends about such art, whether  in John Donne or O'Keeffe or others stretches the mind and creates lasting memories.

Why did I wake up this morning thinking about poetry? I don't know...maybe leftovers from Simon and Garfunkel last night, and from "spirited' conversations with Zach and Kathy Nash last night about the joys and passion of writing journalism. And thanks to my blog, I've met a talented poet, K. Lawson Gilbert, whose blog Old Mossy Moon is alive with her poetry. She often comments on my stuff, and I'm stunned by her words and thoughts. Read it yourself at http://oldmossymoon.blogspot.com/

I do know there are times when you are some how "in the spirit" (Hmm, is that what John meant  when he wrote Revelation?) and art flows from you, whether words or paint or music, where it's almost not you, but --for lack of a better word--muse speaking directly through you.

You go back and wonder, "How did I write that?" "Did I really paint that?" I still believe that the geniuses like Whitman, Mozart, Michelangelo were much more in tune with themselves and the muse because they always seemed to be "in the groove." Whatever they touched seemed to turn to art. I know, we don't see their failures, their anguish, their long labor and sweat and doubts. They had them, and the volume of their successes makes us forget they also struggled...but perhaps much less than us mere mortals. Or perhaps more...maybe that was the key to their greatness.

Zach and I were talking about a mutual friend last night who is a terrific writer...when she writes, it comes from deep inside. Zach and I both wish we had her talent, but he wisely observed, that perhaps we can't write like that because of where she came from. (Hemingway said the best training for a write was an unhappy childhood, and this friend of ours has had that...)

Zach and I agree that a blog is a journalist's, and an artist's, outlet for thoughts, for inspiration, for boosting the ego. It's journalism, it's a byline. I think perhaps though, that poetry is its own byline, just like any art.

1 comment:

  1. First, let me say, thank you for the nod to Old Mossy Moon and to K. Lawson Gilbert. You have a very kind and generous spirit.

    Your essays and remembrances here are interesting and inspiring. As a poet, I must say that, sometimes, it is, as if, some poet of antiquity is channeling through me...just kidding - I'm not going all Shirley MacLaine on you! What I mean is that some poems just seem to write themselves, flowing effortlessly across the page. And - some poems, that I have worked on for years, are still not right.

    I know this feeling very well:
    "You go back and wonder, "How did I write that?" "Did I really paint that?"

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