rimbaud's words on a wall near st. sulpice, paris, august 2013
backyard weaver, st. albert, july 2013
If there is nothing else I do over the next few months (and really, I have a million things to do), I must allow myself to write poems. Think poems make poems be poems. Because I am feeling more and more sick in the heart that I am for some reason not allowing myself the time and space to be creative in this way. I know that in order to get the PhD dissertation done I had to push so much aside (so much feeling, especially grief) but I need to recover it now, because I am feeling more and more ill at ease in my head, in my life. I don't know why I've done this, over this past year, why I continue to do this to myself. I do know that it feels increasingly destructive, like I am neglecting and thus punishing myself, and I know that I have to somehow stop.
"Whenever I don't write, I commit violence to myself. I write instead of kicking and screaming. I write instead of dying."
--Kate Zambreno, #32 in 'Toilet Bowl: Some notes on why I write'
A Poet's Advice
A poet is somebody who feels, and who expresses his feelings through words. This may sound easy, but it isn't. A lot of people think or believe or know they feel -- but that's thinking or believing or knowing; not feeling. And poetry is feeling -- not knowing or believing orthinking.
Almost anybody can learn to think or believe or know, but not a single human beingcan be taught to feel. Why? Because whenever you think or you believe or you know you're a lot of other people: but the moment you feel, you're nobody-but-yourself. To be nobody-but-yourself -- in a world which is doing its best, night and day, to make you everybody else -- means to fight the hardest battle which any human being can fight; and never stop fighting.
As for expressing nobody-but-yourself in words, that means working just a little harder than anybody who isn't a poet can possibly imagine. Why? Because nothing is quite as easy as using words like somebody else. We all of us do exactly this nearly all of the time - and whenever we do it, we are not poets.
If, at the end of your first ten or fifteen years of fighting and working and feeling, you find you've written one line of one poem, you'll be very lucky indeed. And so my advice to all young people who wish to become poets is: do something easy, like learning how to blow up the world -- unless you're not only willing, but glad to feel and work and fight till you die. Does this sound dismal? It isn't. It's the most wonderful life on earth. Or so I feel.
-- e.e. cummings
"I do believe in poetry. I believe that there are creatures endowed with the power to put things together and bring them back to life".
--Hélène Cixous, in 'The Book of Promethea'