Outward Bound Ideas

Ideas from Bookgleaner@gmail.com - Also: http://Inwardboundpoetry.blogspot.com - http://Onwardboundhumor.blogspot.com - http://Homewardboundphotos.blogspot.com - And http://davidthemaker.blogspot.com/

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Location: The City, On the edge

Sunday, December 31, 2006

84. From: On Becoming a Poet - Mark Strand

Something beyond knowledge compels our interest and our ability to be moved by a poem. As an adolescent I may not have known anything about the intricacies of poetry, but I was beginning to think about mortal matters the way an adult does. And that more than anything made it possible for me to respond to "You, Andrew Marvell," and, thereafter, to other lyric poems. When I say "lyric poems" I mean poems that manifest musical properties, but are intended to be read or spoken, not sung. They are usually brief, rarely exceeding a page or two, and have about them a degree of emotional intensity, or an urgency that would account for their having been written at all. At their best, they represent the shadowy, often ephemeral motions of thought and feeling, and do so in ways that are clear and comprehensible. Not only do they fix in language what is often most elusive about our experience, but they convince us of its importance, its truth even. Of all literary genres, the lyric is the least changeable. Its themes are rooted in the continuity of human subjectivity and from antiquity have assumed a connection between privacy and universality. There are countless poems from the past that speak to us with an immediacy time has not diminished, that gauge our humanness as accurately and as passionately as any poem written today.

Tuesday, December 19, 2006

83. Through The Children's Gate by Adam Gopnik

From: 'Through The Children's Gate' by Adam Gopnik

Your children make their own maps, which enlarge and improve your own. They inscribe permanent illustrative features on your map, like the spouting beasts on medieval ones. There's a spot on University Place where Olivia, furious at being too small to go bowling at Bowlmor Lanes nearby, yelled at me, "I used to love you! And now I don't like you!" When I pass it now, she is still there, still indignant and still yelling. And if their maps are mutable, well, you believe, every child's map is meant to be, only to emerge in adulthood as the Only Map There Is, the one they're stuck with. The image of me they settle on, I would shudder to see––but I hope their map of New York will be bright and plain: That's where we grew up, weirdly enough, these pages stand in for, if not a million, than many others: They could be Jacob and Sasha, or Ben and Sophie, or Emma and Gabriel. The miraculous thing about children is that they really are all alike––boom, here comes three and an imaginary friend; whoosh, there goes eleven and the first stirrings of passion––and all utterly unique. They are radically themselves and entirely of their kind. Just like us, actually. The city doesn't change that, but it does italicize it: among eight million souls, these two.

Saturday, December 16, 2006

82. On The Writing Of Poetry - William Stafford

A writer is not so much someone who has something to say as he is someone who has found a process that will bring about new things he would not have thought of if he had started to say them. That is, he does not draw on a reservoir; instead he engages in an activity that brings to him a whole succession of unforeseen stories, poems, essays, plays, laws, philosophies, religions, or–– but wait!
Back in school, from the first when I began to try to write things, I felt this richness. Now after twenty years or so of trying, I live by that certain richness, an idea hard to pin, difficult to say, and perhaps offensive to some. For there are strange implications in it.
One implication is the importance of just plain receptivity. When I write, I like to have an interval before me when I am not likely to be interrupted. For me, this means usually the early morning, before others are awake. I get pen and paper, take a glance out of the window (often it is dark out there), and wait. It is like fishing. But I do not wait very long, for there is always a nibble––and this is where receptivity comes in. To get started I will accept anything that occurs to me. Something always occurs, of course, to any of us. We can't keep from thinking.
Maybe I have to settle for an immediate impression: it's cold, or hot, or dark, or bright, or in between! Or––well, the possibilities are endless. If I put down something, that thing will help the next thing come, and I'm off. If I let the process go on things will occur to me that were not at all in my mind when I started. These things, odd or trivial as they may be, are somehow connected. And if I let them string out, surprising things will happen.

Monday, December 11, 2006

81. W. H. Auden - Forwards to 'Collected Poems'

In the eyes of every author, I fancy, his own past work falls into four classes. first, the pure rubbish which he regrets ever having conceived; second––for him the most painful––the good ideas which his incompetence or impatience prevented from coming to much (The Orators seems to me such a case of the fair notion fatally injured); third, the pieces he has nothing against except their lack of importance; these must inevitably form the bulk of any collection since, were he to limit it to the fourth class alone, to those poems for which he is honestly grateful, his volume would be too depressingly slim.

. . . Some poems which I wrote and, unfortunately, published, I have thrown out because they were dishonest, or bad-mannered, or boring.
A dishonest poem is one which expresses, no matter how well, feelings or beliefs which its author never felt or entertained. For example, I once expressed a desire for 'New styles of architecture'; but I have never liked modern architecture. I prefer old styles, and one must be honest even about one's prejudices.
In art as in life, bad manners, not to be confused with a deliberate intention to cause offence, are the consequence of an over-concern with one's own ego and a lack of consideration for (and knowledge of) others. Readers, like friends must not be shouted at or treated with brash familiarity. Youth may be forgiven when it is brash or noisy, but this does not mean that brashness and noise are virtues.