I think of poetry as a heightened existence. I think of it in that sense of things which are out of reach, something that was handed to you from a distant place that was explored by their hand and not my own. I see reading in that same light: some piece of delving or enlightening: light on a tunnel entrance, the light coming down on an asylum-like Goya.
I’ve been reading Duncan’s HD book and gathering bits of encouragement for painting. I don’t gather the encouragement for writing. Though I do think that the highlights make their way in that absorbent way: the way it fills in non being or the ghostly half of us we tend to hear only when we are in severity of any sort: people may call this prayer or a space of searching for answers. I feel so much of the prose and many times, if I was honest, I do not feel the same in poetry; yet I romanticize it and in the poets I do feel, I feel them like a mountain. I feel Whitman, as anyone who is reading this would see and understand quickly; I do favor straight and unflourishing language at times more than most of the riddles. If a poem begins to riddle me, I see a play at work that depends upon puzzles of contexts that, while understanding the mediation and understanding the need for a difficult pleasure (Ulysses is such a joy (so there is room)) puzzles do nothing but dissipate in the face of language that wishes to broaden it’s span of acceptance and aim at that difficult Shakespearean feat of living in both the realms. I aim for such seriousness and it is ambitious and I do not feel close.
I don’t read much contemporary poetry and one look at the poems I’ve posted, if you’ve an attuned eye, will see that they don’t take themselves serious at all and that they are dashes. I do not have the energy these last few months for anything but painting. My paintings have absorbed me. I believe myself arrogant to believe I have the capacity for more than painting now, for I would do none of it justice. I can right prose in a sprezzaturic manner and to believe I could do the same in poetry is perhaps a little slapstick. I am compelled from time to time to write a poem. I do feel compelled to have a fusion of those worlds yet I don’t see it now.
I read, in the White Goddess, that the Welsh, in their tree poems, believed trees to be warriors. Their language, now dead, covering and sinking that myth into their land.
When poetry hits, I often feel as if I am moving to some place I had no intention to go and encounter strangeness that transforms me and makes itself apart of me without my choosing.
I listened to John Keats on this last truck run as I listened to the movie Bright Star. I told a friend that the romance of Keats comforts me. It makes me feel ok about how I am naturally. It makes me feel ok about wanting to go for the essence of what this all is. Love is part of the condition of uncertainty, as air and the restlessness of idle days.
I feel now, as if a burgeoning wants to be let loose, there is at times a sense of screaming within me, of something out of control, and wondering at it and being ok with it, as in negative capability (as Keats), enlivens an ability to go into and dwell instead of letting it alone and feeling the irrelevance of it in this present world.
There are many artists today; as I was driving around the city and the sun was out, I watched a man cross the street and thought and didn’t come to any terms over the difficulty of this fact. How much can we complain about others and how much of it is based without vanity. Nonetheless this isn’t supposed to be about accepting everyone, that is not arts job. I despair for the amount of work that actually addresses romantic concerns for the real ambition they exist in and not the surfeit of ignorance that pretends to play a hand. The aesthetic is being lost as is the respect for language within the practice: in that sense of language being learned of ways of things being complex and open, of line and light and in content most of all. Content is being left for the imagists and the clever conceptionists.
I feel the lacking in everything I just said and it isn’t in my nature to go about speaking as if everything I say is right. I am feeling and have complained of these ideas as the little knowledge I have meets the part that I am to play in my own ambitions language: this isn’t about trying to do ‘something,’ this is about building a mountain and then turning your back to it and then making within it’s realm.