Saturday, February 24, 2007

toward a poetics that does not reciprocate violence

The finger that taps the "I" when typing is also the finger that defies. It is hard to type naturally when the finger of offendedness is in its offended position.

What metaphor applies?

Perhaps we lose full access to our "I," our existing essence, when our writing reduces ourselves and others with dismissal or anger.
Pie Jesu. (He wrote in dust.)

Wednesday, February 14, 2007

autobiographical poetry

One of my poetry teachers, Angela Ball, once said something to the effect that artists are the angel of themselves in their art. It makes me think that perhaps a good character-improvement program would be to act, think, and speak in verse. I think also of Thoreau's lines:

My life has been the poem I would have writ,
But I could not both live and utter it.

Thoreau, of course, both lived and wrote deliberately. Why would he make a seeming dichotomy between the lived and written life? Can someone help me?

I'm out of my depth, even in a pond.

Monday, February 12, 2007

Perfect Conduct

Last night at supper, my 22 month-old-daughter was in her high chair before a plate of pondered food: ketchuped greenbeans, hashbrowns, and sausage. She held her arms to her sides in maestro fashion, perhaps conducting The Moldau very slowly, in measured motion. Then came a misquoted memory of Dickinson: "to spread wide my narrow hands to gather paradise."

The correct reading (from #657):

For Occupation--This--
The spreading wide my narrow Hands
To gather Paradise--

It is a gift to be in the presence of innocence and to have poetry with which to perceive it.

Thursday, February 08, 2007

To Know Why the Cold Birds Sing

Driving to school this morning, I read the car thermometer: -5 F.

I parked, got out, heard birdsong and confirmed it: two birds in a tree across the street.

If I believe the song, I will write more.

Delight and Instruct

I finished reading a pedagogy paper on helping students see the relevance of what they are learning. The words came, E.M. Forster's epigraph for Howard's End: "only connect."

Connect content with experience, past current and future.

Connect with the students, face to face.

And only connect.