From the Notebooks
I keep a little notebook in which I write down things I read, hear, and/ or think, as it seems everyone does. Today, I’ve filled up one of these little notebooks. The following are some of the things I’ve found, looking back through it. I no longer know the sources which inspired them, or if they came from anywhere in particular, or which ones are mine and which are quotes. Apologies.
“What are you doing,” is ultimately an existential question. A nostalgia for a fantasy.
You should hope for the moment when you do this thing and you scare yourself. Or you startle yourself. Or for a minute you are outside of yourself.
How when flipping television stations, the people begin finishing each other’s sentences.
When composing a poem, take only one thing seriously, and never tell us what it is.
After you arrive in a new place and you keep thinking you see old friends. This is a world of other people.
The four minds of the poem:
Philosophical – mystical
Narrative – human – social
Musical – words – phrases – the sound of speaking
Elemental – image – the sensual being
By such ruses we gather our way.
Always ask yourself, when writing, when reading: why am I being told these things?
What might “the grace of the elemental” mean?
Beginnings are useful things. And then the looking for what comes next. How interest turns.
We all need expressive language.
What might the motive of the poem be? Curiosity? Desire? For what? Why?
Always hoping for the new language to begin. Always keeping in mind there are other paths.
What is the nature of this movement? To live in that open question. Which is any open question, really.
Water feels still within its flowing.
Behind all language, the unsayable words.
The meaning of the poem is the experience of the poem being. As the meaning of a life is the experience of being alive.
Everything one says about poetry is disputable. So sing whatever it is you have to sing. And know the real edge and the pretend edge. The real singing from the pretend singing.
You can go anywhere when you’re someone else. The goal is never to arrive at the place you are.
Where is your biggest fear? Go there with a picnic basket.
No, this road doesn’t go anywhere. It’s always stayed right here.
So, what is pacing? What is direction? Tone? Toward/Against/From/With?
Having a mind of and.
Enacting the space you’re in, its organizational spirit, its genius.
You don’t have to have a full deck of cards if you have all the best ones.
Q: How much energy is there in that poem?
A: I don’t know, grammar took me there.
Don’t ignore what complicates the reading. The twisted image, perhaps, off to one side. The odd connotation. If the poem is a wholeness, it’s not to be divided for meaning.