Where I’m Coming From

Derek Walcott, Nobel-Prize winning poet of the Caribbean, said in his poem, Volcano:

One could abandon writing

for the slow-burning signals

of the great, to be, instead,

their ideal reader, ruminative,

voracious, making the love of masterpieces

superior to attempting

to repeat or outdo them,

and be the greatest reader in the world.

At least it requires awe…

This is the fundamental premise of my approach to poetry.  That, while we may write poetry, for all but a very few of us, it is more important that we be readers of poetry, for we are more likely to encounter “awe” in the verse of the greatly gifted than in our own (of course, there are the exceptions, namely the greatly gifted). But I would add the caveat that we must be “creative readers” and  when we are, we approach the experience the poet had when she first wrote and then later crafted the poem.  This is the kind of reading Emerson called us to and to which we should aspire.  Further, this kind of reading naturally begets more writing at one level or another–whether that is in the form of more poetry or appreciative criticism or an inspired love letter to our significant other. This blog is one example of this sort of, perhaps, secondary enkindlement.

The rest of the about: PhD from University of Wisconsin, live and work in LA, born and raised in the midwest, in my 40s and hoping to make a career out an alternative approach to teaching poetry.

Published on November 12, 2009 at 5:11 am  Leave a Comment  

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