Why this?

The occasional piece of my own and a generous helping of others' creations I find inspiring. Site is named for a beloved book by one of my favorite writers, Italo Calvino, whose fanciful work lights--and delights--my soul.

Saturday, November 2, 2013

Meeting ground

Mark Doty, in here--

And that is the gift of art: we begin in self-expression and as we turn toward "how can I say this well, how can I craft the most vital utterance of what I have to say?" we stop thinking about ourselves and start thinking about the quality of the speech, the strength of the saying, and in doing so we allow the reader in. We make this kind of meeting ground between oneself and another, and that meeting ground is timeless, it continues, it continues to be generative in an extraordinary way.

If you work very hard

Mark Doty, in here--

I think we all struggle with what it means to persist in a life of making art. The thing that you cannot do, the thing you are not allowed to do, is to stay the same. If you continue to write in just the same way, producing the poem that basically replicates the same structure, behaves in the same way, uses the same kind of speech patterns, what happens is that you produce replicas of your previous work to gradually diminishing yields, less feeling, less intensity, less discovery. In some ways that's one of my biggest fears and so I have pushed myself to change, to reach for other kinds of models and other kinds of practices of speech and of song, on the theory that people really don't change very much. If you work very hard, maybe you can change a little. Much about us remains the same, our obsessions and the essential music that we hear behind the poem. That tends to be a constant in a lifetime and if you look back at your early poems you can often see evidence of that there; you just didn't know what to do with it, you didn't recognize it at the time but voice is always. 

Commensurate with experience

Mark Doty, in here--

If I were going to make a general comment about the work of my students, the work of developing poets that I read in literary magazines, I think that many poets tend to quit too soon. I don't mean that I think they should all be writing long poems, by any means, but I think that poems by developing poets often try to arrive at an epiphany, a resonant statement, and then get the hell out there before opening too many doors of complexity, before allowing a satisfying degree of complication to enter into the poem. It's completely understandable why we do that. Complication is messy. It challenges our craft. The more kinds of conflicting emotions on the table in a poem, the harder time we're going to have marshaling them toward any kind of coherence. But I find that preferable to settling for an easy unity. A poem that is too much a simplification, that creates a kind of false order, is not going to be able to feel commensurate with experience, will not be able to hold enough of what it is to live. 

Friday, November 1, 2013

First Halloween: Finn the Mighty Maple

Patterned after "his tree"--behind us in the first pic--which he stares and stares and stares at...