Monday, February 25, 2013

Between Sweetwater and Sand

My third book of poetry, Between Sweetwater and Sand is coming soon. My other books of poems are The Wilderness Within and Sophia's Lost and Found.   These books are widely available on the www and in stores.

In the mean time, here is an essay I wrote about creating a poem.

Poetry is in us. It is in our heartbeats, our breathing, the sounds we heard in the womb. We heard our mother's heartbeats, her voice, our father's voice, all voices. At birth we heard our own cry, eeeeeeee or aaaaaaaa or ooooooo. Vowels. Later we learned consonants. We responded to rhythms. Kids love nursery rhymes, the seashore with pounding or gently lapping waves. Poetry is experience distilled, the way a favorite shirt feels on our skin, shoes that squeak, the staccato beat of an argument heard from afar, the sound of the wind and snow pelting against the house. Or poetry can be made of small moments..things that we notice in a quiet moment of reflection. And if we are quiet enough, we write things we know but we do not know how we know. We just do.

"The Romantic view of composition which derives from the English and the German Romantics, means that the poet asks the unconscious, or the hidden man, or the hidden woman, or the latent intelligence, to enter the poem and contribute a few images that we may not fully understand." Robert Bly

Poetry is important to humans.  It has been since before the invention of writing.  People have played with the sounds of words before the invention of electronic devices: video games, tv, and computers.

     Poetry is getting in touch with ourselves and how we relate to the natural world and how we feel about it.

     Poetry is created from experience:  what we see, hear, feel, smell and taste.

     Words, images, rhythms can work together in mysterious ways to evoke what is over the normal threshold of understanding. Rhythms and sounds we have known since we were in the womb and maybe even before that. How do we find the intuitive? Sometimes concentrating on a word, a sound or an object as the mind relaxes causes leaps of imagination leading to insights...insights not arrived at in any other way. Images arrive. Sometimes images or symbols come from night intelligence revealed in dreams. 

     My favorite poets are rather ecstatic in their expression: William Blake, Gerard Manley Hopkins, Emily Dickenson, Walt Whitman. They have a wild quality about them that encompasses both earth (that includes humans as part of its ecology) and a spiritual domain arrived at through intuitive thinking or some divine spirit or perhaps these are the same thing. Exploring the human psyche in all its complexities and variations is the greatest exploration of all. 

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