During my stint at Michigan State University in the early to mid seventies, I was officially enrolled and taking poetry classes from some of the best poets around. The picture above I took of a class taught by Diane Wakoski (long blond hair in the middle). The funny thing is, I don’t remember anything I wrote.
As with most poetry classes I attended, there were some gifted writers, some not so gifted and then there was me. There were days I thought I was going to write the next great American poem and days I thought I was so shallow that I must be fooling myself and everyone around me into believing that I realy belonged there.
In “reality”, the truth was always somewhere in between the two extremes.
I think that most of what I wrote got ditched in the great purge of late ’78 or early ’79. I had just become a Christian and when looking through what I had written and drawn during my twenties, I just couldn’t reconcile it with who I was becoming or at least where I thought my life was heading. I guess when we get older, everything from our earlier lives seems somewhat silly or at least “adolescent”. Not that there is anything inherently wrong with the youthful brashness many of us exhibited—just that it only goes so far and seems as dated as disco music.
Gary Synder wrote a poem that I took seriously in terms of some of the parts of life a person who desired to be a poet should know. While at this point I find the whole poem somewhat distracting and semi-crude, at least the first verse or two should give you the big picture.
What Your Should Know To Be A Poet
all you can about animals as persons
the names of trees and flowers and weeds.
names of stars, and the movements of the planets and the moon.
your own six senses, with a watchful and elegant mind
the wild freedom of the dance, extasy
silent solitary illumination, enstasy
I guess the point being is that we never totally arrive at any of these places—at best we only pass through a few of these stages.
Could I now write a significant poem about childbirth—I guess I could from my persepctive. So could my friend Carey and DED. Mabe they have already and I don’t know about it or have never asked them about it. There is definately a balance between living it and writing about it.
It is like most of the photographs I took during that time of my life when I aspired to be a photographer.
Number one: I don’t appear in any of the pictures for obivious reasons.
Number two: I don’t remember much about those times as I was busy looking for the next picture.
I guess if you take photos and journal at the same time, a more complete picture would emerge. But, that was not the case with me and after a couple of years I quit taking my camera everywhere.
Since I have begun blogging, some of that unrealized potential to write has no doubt been fulfilled and will continue to be.
Once again, it is a Sunday morning—the sun is shining and life looks good through the end of the day.
Enjoy your ride.
you have a way with words…i like it. i also love that poem of gary snyders; funny, i just read it recentlyblessings-
Thanks for the encouragement to write poetry. Hmmmm…never felt very good at that one.8^)ded
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