Sorry dear followers (ahem, Nicole? Anyone else?). It’s been a while.
Most recently I’ve helped to build a raised bed for garlic, made soap, helped to orchestrate a fashion show (Oct 23rd, I strut my stuff) and did a reading at the Hugo House with Jeff Encke. Moravian’s Alumni Magazine published both my art and my poetry, and I was asked to be a “notable alumni” from the English Department. So yes, I’ve been keeping busy.
I’m tending to household duties, chiefly my disaster area room, this evening, but I wanted to post something. It’s been a long time, and my blogging has been mostly in the tech sphere, thanks to work.
Here’s the introduction that I read on the 23rd at the Hugo House. It’s a work in progress, but it’s something.
It can be easy to argue that poetry is unnecessary – a luxury plaything of wordsmiths and bibliophiles. What does poetry do? It isn’t anything but words on a page and it changes nothing. But what does language do? It is not inert – it is essential. Our system of gesture, tone, vocalization, visualization; I don’t think it’s completely inaccurate to call it an attempt at immortality. We convey ourselves outward, into the world-at-large. We strive to be known and remembered. To write and publish is an extreme form of egotism. I have something to say, and you should read it. You need to know me, to remember me. Oh please, do not forget me! And in trying to remain we destroy; a single page cannot hold the shifting syntax and structure of the very three-dimensional world and we are forced to break what we experience into pieces that fit into text. This is a broken system, but it is the only one available to us.
Our very attempt at permanence is in a way a joke- release something into the world and the world will claim it away and we have no (or at least, very little) control over where it goes. Much of my recent work has utilized text from the turn of the 19th century. Did Sir Oliver Lodge intend his treaty on ether to be collaged into poetry in the 21st century? Did John Tyndall expect his lectures on light to move away from the Royal Society and into my hands? I doubt it. I feel no guilt in appropriating their language, but in doing so I am forced to recognize my own inability to control my text. I speak it (I show it) and it is beyond me. It is hard to both be able to claim ownership and to release but I am forced to do both simultaneously.
This is a circular way of saying- the most painful thing I have heard in response to my writing is “how could you?” And my response, much later, is: I own these broken pieces, but there is so much more. I am incapable of the full image, because you would have to live each moment with me, through my body, to have the entirety. It is my responsibility as a writer to give you what I can. It is my responsibility to understand that what I give you may not come back to me as I had intended but with your life jammed into it and I have asked for that through the act of creation.
Of course, that’s what I hope. I see poetry as another form of gesture, another facet of language. Here it is: my stolen, borrowed, created thing.