Monday, May 22, 2006

What is a poet?

Soren Kierkegaard (Christian existentialist philosopher) asked, "What is a poet? An unhappy person who conceals profound anguish in his heart but whose lips are so formed that as sighs and cries pass over them they sound like beautiful music." So, do you subscribe to the idea of the suffering artist? Natalie Goldberg admonished to "kill the idea of the suffering artist."

Well, don't pretend to suffer or create problems for yourself so you can overcome them or enchance your art with them. But if you happen to be facing a mortal existence (I assume you are), and it happens to not sit well with you at all times, transforming the angst into art seems a pretty neat economy--or alchemy, almost.

Whether moving art comes out of profound suffering or not, moving art does certainly come out of some sort of exertion--I am confident on that point.

And for the record--you don't ever have to agree with anything I say out of pity, politeness, or condescension. I crave conversation that is free of contention and full of teaching.


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