Friday, December 2, 2011

2 December 2011

Sure gets to feeling like this illustration . . .

I guess I have so many of these modified contours because I make a new one , or a few new ones, every year that I demonstrate them to my students. I actually have a kerjillion of them that I haven't photographed, so maybe one day when I have a bit more time, I'll post them. And they aren't all of me, either. I'm not so narcissistic as that. But, boy, I have met quite a few of them along the way . . . .

Anyway--writing again and it sure feels good. Guess that's why I'm back on the blog after a year and a half. Well, that and I couldn't figure out how to get here after I changed my email address--true to my semi-luddite tendencies. But once I managed that hurdle, I'm back in print, er, screen. Don't know if I'll post the new stuff for a while. Nothing has been critiqued yet, and I still need to find a good writing group to help with that. School is out for winter break in a couple of weeks, so I'll focus a bit more then. Will say that the new poems are art-based, almost primarily so. Except for a couple that slipped out about "the troubles" (divorce American style). But really, those are a little too personal and I've never been much for confessional anything. I'm waiting to get far enough away (emotionally) from certain crises that I can represent the universal in them, rather than the "all about me" side. But how does a person write about herself without it being about her? Layers, I suppose.

Maybe it's true that here has to be a personal layer in a piece of art or writing, but that if that's all there is, it doesn't go to the deeper level. When I read something, like memoir or poetry, I really want to see the humanness in the writer. I guess I want to merge somewhat with that person, through their writing, so I can be bigger than myself--so my life can be fuller and richer than what it usually is.

There's a poem by Joy Harjo, "Perhaps the World Ends Here,"about what goes on at the kitchen table. Births and deaths--the end of the world, eventually. That kitchen table connects my world to hers in a way that takes me back to my grandmother's chrome dinette, and back to the sounds of her shuffling in her leather slippers in the kitchen. That was the beginning of my world, and I expect something like it will be connected to the end of my world as well. I've written so many poems about that time and still return in my mind to that place, even though the house has been torn down for a few years now. I understand the world when I arrive at that sense of place such as we read in Harjo's poems. I'm also thinking of another poem called "The Song of the House in the House" and of course about the rememory of the main character in Morrison's Beloved.

Art pieces provide that same connection for me when I write ekphrastic poetry. After I've fully experienced a painting or sculpture--even if it's on-line or in a book--I feel like I'm in that painting. This is similar to the character in Kurasawa's Dreams who walks through Van Gogh's paintings--well, essentially into Van Gogh's world. Walking along the ripples of paint, standing beneath towering sunflowers. And all that without drugs! Heh heh. Not a bad way to be.