Saturday, March 30, 2013

Went to the Denver Zoo today and had a good time with my friend who is hilarious. I usually feel very sorry for some of the animals, but today, it was okay. They are safe from predators and many have been rescued from the wild. In any case, it was fun.

I finally bought THE GIFT: Creativity and the Artist in the Modern World by Lewis Hyde. Margaret Atwood says, "The best book I know for talented but unacknowledged creators..."

So far it is about gift-giving culture in various tribes and in various stories and myths. Basically the idea is to keep the gift moving and not hoard it or use it merely for consumption and profit, so it is refreshing to read. I hope it helps me feel better about my anonymity when it comes to poetry. Yet, I am very, very blessed to have a new book on its way soon. It has been added to Small Press Distribution and Amazon, but it will take a while to appear in catalogs. Very excited. I have a couple of readings scheduled and it sounds like there will be a book launch in Denver.

I'll post more information later about readings, plus Amit Ghosh is designing a website for me which will list readings and events.

Sunday, March 24, 2013

I and I- Bob Dylan. I haven't heard this song since I listened to my old vinyl copy a long time ago. Read interviews with June Jordan and Loiuse Gluck in POETRY IN PERSON: Twenty-five Years of Conversation with America's Poets ed. by Alexander Neubauer, which I still consider a find at $4.98 at the Tattered Cover. The main thing I keep coming back to as I read these interviews is that the conversation about poetry really hasn't changed that much since 1978, 1979. Poets were still concerned about first person I limitations, marginalization, collage, fragmentation, ellipsis, politics and external and internal landscapes. I really do like these interviews which were done by a woman named Pearl London. London was the daughter of M. Lincoln Schuster, cofounder of Simon & Schuster. Poets would bring drafts of their work to class and discuss it, as well as answer London's questions. I find each interview  helpful in that they make me more thoughtful and reflective about what it is I'm trying to do with my own poems.

Gluck's comments on moving away from the depersonalized voice. That she wanted to move away from communication of the self. She states, "No, no, not communication of the self, that's not what I want. The issue of ego is a sensitive one. I think that most contemporary poetry is horrifically disfigured by it. The territoriality in most poetry that goes out to claim "my pain," "my father," "my mother," "my past." There's a swagger in it that offends me greatly. I would like to write poetry that was intensely personal and seemed absolutely devoid of egotism."

Again, I find myself thinking about trauma, and how it is personal yet non-personal and dissociated. I can't therefore quite agree with what she said, but I understand what she meant by egotism in a poem. But for working with trauma, there is a necessity to find oneself, one's ego if you will, to help others who have been traumatized (I mean by a life-threatening situation or violence).

June Jordan was interesting as well. She was bold about African-American poets needing to defend their work, but what I found myself most interested in was her references to Rilke and how she saw Rilke as one of her favorite poets. She specifically addresses Rilke's address to a young person who feels they have lost God. She says Rilke responded with "You are God" and she ties this to women in South Africa. This type of empowerment is important to me as a person who has experienced the shock of trauma. I think it is a means of expression or communication. And as Jordan said, "When I write poetry my purpose is to express myself, about whatever it is, to as many other people as possible."