Journal Bits... June 30 to July 11
A few random musings from my Journal...
Poet's Mailbox - July 19th, 2016
Arriving in today's mail, Bukowski in a Sundress by Kim Addonizio.
So, I will forsake watching the Republican Convention tonight in favor of reading this book. I mean I just don't think the RNC can top Melania Trump's Michelle Obama knock-off speech from last night,
I almost always adore Addonizzo's poetry. The edginess, sometimes inappropriateness that you have to admit to yourself, if no one else, makes you cheer her a bit and keeps you coming back for more.
Anyway, this is my new read. I'll let you know how it goes.
"Every flesh is flawed and poems are flesh." ~ Donald Hall
I think Donald Hall, who I greatly respect, has identified the very human nature of poetry in this statement. We shape word groupings together to establish a creation of language and we hope that it lives up to expectations - both our own and those who read it. But being the imperfect people that we all are, we may write something really well and yet we must know it can be improved.
This falls along the same lines that a poem is never finished, just abandoned. We take the work so far, and maybe we are overthinking it, or tired, or just believe that it is the best that it can be, but we stop. The hope is that when we reach this point, the words will suffice. They will resonate. Knowing fell well that at a future point, we might improve upon this poem.
Am I on the Right Track?
Sometimes I have written of an evening and put my pen down, or saved a draft to my computer, but in either instance felt very good about what I had just written. A lot of the time, it's not that easy. I can go for days, weeks, seemingly months and not feel especially positive about anything I've written. Still, you press on.
Occasionally, and today is one of those days, where I have to ask myself if I am even on the right track?
What makes one day seem to click? What is it that instills confidence while at other times you question deep down what the hell you ate doing?
I sometimes wonder if there is such a thing as a right track. If I am writing is there a right or wrong track? I'd like to think that all the tracks or all roads lead to success with writing. Not defining success in any way other than fulfillment in the final analysis, that you have achieved something in your writing that leaves you feeling that you just completed a job well done. I'n not going here for publication, or certain sales, or dollars earned as a sign of success. I'm talking about that most basic feeling that what you sit down to do ends up working.
Before any of that other stuff can come (if you even want it to) on the most basic level you have to write to satisfy yourself. That's the track I need to be on. I hope all tracks lead there if we just write long enough.
This past week has been an emotion filled and energy draining week. If it were not for the the two civilians shot and killed by police and the 10 Dallas police officers shot by a sniper killing 5 and wounding two other civilians, I could still be mulling over this same question in my mind.
The fact is, we live in distressing times. Terrorist attacks at home and abroad, destabilizing economies around the world, epidemic gun deaths across the United States, North Korea testing medium range missals, daily barrage of hate openly expressed by people because of gender, nationality, sexual orientation, religion, and a presidential contender that routinely fans the hateful fires that rip us apart.
What are we supposed to do? There is an internal voice that wants to argue with me about this. Actually, there are two separate voices. (I know, this is scary to me too) One voice keeps telling me that all this crap going on in the world is consuming me and my time. That I only have so much time, and it is also smothering what creativity I have to offer. This voice cautions me against becoming overwhelmed by it all.
Still, the other voice, (which is just certain it is the wiser of the two) reminds me of the words of Edmund Burke, "The only thing necessary for evil to triumph, is for good men to do nothing." This is my voice that reminds me it is important to stay informed and not count on others to do this on my behalf. Bad things have happened throughout history when people assumed others would do the right thing on your behalf.
There is no one correct voice here. They both speak to truths. The answer has to fall somewhere in between. I must do my homework, so to speak, and be informed both for the purpose of voting and also being outspoken when and where necessary. At the same time I must allow myself to break at times from extensive and draining news coverage of things. I must allow myself time to take a walk and absorb nature. Take a long soaking bath. Or read just for the recreation of it. Years ago I learned that we should never lose our ability to become indigent when something is wrong.
Now, I need to learn how to feed optimism and believe in change for the better. I also need to keep open the pathway to writing and not feel overwhelmed by the world or the struggle to write what needs to be said.
"There is no greater agony than bearing an untold story inside." ~ Maya Angelou
Now that I can identify what the problem is, let's see if I can do something about it.
Clearly my memory has not faltered just yet. In a recent trip to Half Price Books, I saw a copy of Gene McCarthy's Minnesota - Memories of a Native Son, a book I recall checking out of the Southwest High branch public library. We won't go into how long ago that was, but suffice to say it was not in this century.
At a mere $2.99 I could not pass up this collection of poetry published By Winston Press in 1982.
I have to say that I recall holding in my hands a copy of this very book like it was yesterday. I also recall very clearly the final piece in the book titled Memories of Hubert - A Politician Too Good to be Vice President. What make this find so interesting is going back to the time I would have read it, my interest in poetry would have been far more casual. Motivation for checking this book out would have been more related to my early political interests at the time than poetry. Oh, I was reading other poetry in this time period but I was not a serious student of poetry nor was I writing anything with serious intent. I do recall reading Daniel Berrigan in this time period and a few others.
Thinking back on reading this book, I don't recall thinking the poetry was particularly impressive. I was most intrigued by the fact that a U.S. Senator, even a one time Presidential contender would take the time to pen poetry and that it would be published.
This seems funny to me now, because I don't know on what basis I felt qualified in those days to determine how good or bad certain poetry was.
So, I once again have a copy of the book. My own, that won't need to be returned. My plan is to sit down and read this book again - obviously with many more years and many more life experiences between then and now. We'll see what difference all these many years makes.
Michael Allyn Wells - notes & musings