I asked 3 questions of 3 Latina writers at the HerKind blog here.
I've been reading Pema Chodron and hopefully learning a lot. Trying to learn about radical acceptance and "maitri"-- The complete acceptance of ourselves as we are. "Trying to fix ourselves is not helpful. It implies struggle and self-denigration...Does not trying to change mean we have to remain angry and addicted until the day we die?...Trying to change ourselves doesn't work in the long run because we're resisting our own energy. Self-improvement can have temporary results, but lasting transformation occurs only when we honor ourselves as the source of wisdom and compassion." She talks about a practice called Tonglen which I am going to try to implement. It is difficult as I often have an "us" and "them" attitude about things, but the basis of all of this is compassion for oneself and others. When one is traumatized, it is difficult to have compassion for oneself and therefore others. Also, interestingly regarding forgiveness, she says one must forgive themselves first. Overall, I like this book better than the first one I read by her which came highly recommended. Not sure why this one isn't the one recommended. I guess I like it because it is more hands on regarding how to practice and implement these things.
I've been reading some Czeslaw Milosz poems, so far specifically dealing with poetry and poetry in Poland. He has one Ars Poetica which I read. Also, I found a book at Tattered Cover for 4.96 called POETRY IN PERSON: Twenty-Five Years of Conversation with America's Poets edited by Alexander Neubauer. It is very interesting. So far I've read interviews with Philip Levine, Louise Gluck, Robert Hass, Muriel Rukeyser and Maxine Kumin. The two most interesting for me were the ones with Levine and Gluck. Levine talks a lot about Detroit and his love for the people and factory life there, in terms of both not being a "nightmare" for him. This was compelling as I feel similarly about El Paso, Texas. He talks about his twin brother and how that comes to play in a poem. I like that these interviews took place in 78' and 79'. The Gluck interview was probably the most interesting read for me. She talks a lot about white space and silence. Also, she mentions things like ellipses, collage and fragmentation, which I would have not ever expected from Gluck because she is labeled as "mainstream." So these "new" ideas apparently were being knocked around in 1979. The Rukeyser one was probably the most unnerving for me to read. I found her somewhat bitter and haughty, although her poem was the bomb!!!! So, poets can be flawed individuals which is a good thing since I am flawed, but I'm also precious ;)