This is my hundreth post in this space, something which is a bit surprising to me. I started this in August of '07 as an unpublished wanna-be-poet entering the MFA program at Hollins. I think the blog has evolved on some levels: more music, more links, more gimmicks (don't worry, next week we'll have a picture of the puppy); though, I still consider myself a wanna-be-poet and I still think of this space as a forum in which I can attempt to work-out my uncertainties, both as they relate to PoBiz and to life in general. It's also a nice way to keep track of what's happened over the past 2 and a half years--it's strange to see the posts I came up with in the midst of life-changing events. Anyway--many thanks to anyone and everyone who takes the time to peruse this space. It's fun for me to make these posts and I hope they haven't been a complete waste of time for anyone reading them.
Where there is suffering, which is to say, where there is human life, there is art. But art doesn’t merely mirror the bad things that happen to us. It shapes what happens into meaning. And there is always great joy and pleasure, even happiness, in the fundamental human act of shaping. It’s not, as Plato believed, that some part of the soul desires to weep for itself; it’s rather that the soul possesses a stubborn need for pleasure; it urgently desires to convert weeping into laughter, the sorrow of subject matter into the joy of form. It is a uniquely human instinct—to bring the greatest degree of childlike exuberant playfulness to bear upon the harshest and most difficult realities, answering the tragic gravity of life with the comedic grace of imaginative transformation, shaping life into a vitally clarifying or comprehending image of itself.
--Alan Shapiro in VQR
Stumbled upon this essay the other day, found it achingly beautiful and, more importantly, true.
Killer first line of the moment:
"Thirty-one days of October the opalescent monsoons"
from Sandra Alcosser's "He Paints the Kingdom of Decay: His Goddess Escapes"
(Except by Nature, Graywolf Press, 1998)
Wrote a new poem today. First one in months. Pleased with it, though it probably needs to go through a wringer or two before I try and find a place for it in the manuscript. Speaking of, I made a few deletions and re-arrangements over our Christmas break that I feel have really strengthened the collection. I recognized some things I hadn't seen before. Progress, slow and steady, yes.
A taste of my New Year's Eve experience in Denver:
If you're interested, find the whole show (fo' free) here. Some great covers during the show: Grateful Dead's "Reuben and Cherise," Talking Head's "Girlfriend is Better," Robert Randolph's "Good Times."