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Wednesday, September 21, 2011

How to Be a Poet


Late in the summer I bought a hibiscus plant for $7.99 at Home Depot and it's been blooming ever since, taking my breath away with each eruption into yellow.  For a little less than the price of a fancy Starbucks coffee, this glorious golden miracle.

So yes, lately I've been obsessed with bowls.  The stone bowl above we got for a song, maybe 15 years ago.  We bought one, and went back for the other, later, I remember.  I've not seen anything like them since.  Anyway, I've not really thought about these bowls much - they've decorated a table in our living room for so long I sort of forgot about them.


Looking at things closely, through time. It's interesting to see what will hold our attention and what won't.

Well, how to be a poet?  (Is this a different question from, how to be a writer? Probably).

There's a poem by this same title by Wendell Berry which begins:


Make a place to sit down.   
Sit down. Be quiet.   
You must depend upon   
affection, reading, knowledge,   
skill—more...


(continue reading here)


"Accept what comes from silence," he says, but of course the trick is to first create a space where there is silence, that all important inner silence.  Make a place to sit down.

Recurring themes on this blog - the giving, the receiving of the gifts of creativity.  Also, seeing.  Perception.  In Jane Hirshfield's Nine Gates (essential reading for poets, in my mind), she quotes Arnheim who "describes the most simple seeing as 'imaginative, inventive, shrewd, and beautiful."

At any rate, I'm trying to see this stone bowl of mine again, anew.  Wondering what it might hold, cradle, offer, embrace, accept.  Somehow convinced, that this too, it part of the answer to the question, how to be a poet?  (The poem as stone bowl?)



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