When you experience that heartbreak and humiliation, are you able to make it useful in your work?
David Whyte- I would certainly say so in poetry, and I hope it’s so in human relationships too. I’ve learned there’s a cycle of grief in every art form and relationship. When I finished my last book of poetry, Pilgrim, I realised the tide was about to turn, so I started writing furiously.
There’s that great line at the end of As You Like It, where Shakespeare says: “The words of Mercury are harsh after the songs of Apollo.” The songs of Apollo have poetry and lyricism, and Mercury is the messenger god who is getting the work out in the world—through printing it and reading it. I remember when I suddenly wrote a poem in a very different voice and I knew that particular tide was over. There was a kind of a beautiful, poignant grief to it. At the same time there was a sense of completion and harvest, and a sense of thankfulness.
If you read the great German-speaking poet Rilke, around the Duino Elegies, he had an experience of this visitation—of an enormous tidal current of creativity and presence and then the sense of suddenly being left. This feeling of being left is just the fact that you don’t recognise the new territory. You’re meant not to know. I think one of our great tasks as human beings is to find the part of us that is big enough for life, that can put its arms around the part that finds things difficult, that wants life to be different.
Source – https://www.dumbofeather.com/conversations/david-whyte-is-an-everyday-poet/
So afler almost a year and a half in India, what did you find there that you had not found in the West?
Allen Ginsberg: A more intimate awareness of the relation between people and God. Just the very notion of Ganesh with a noose in one hand and a rasgoolla in the other, and his trunk in the rasgoolla, riding a mouse…. Such an idea of a god, such a sophisticated, quixotic, paradoxical combination of the human and the divine, the metaphysical and the psychological! You don’t often get that in Christianity, except maybe in some esoteric Christianity. The idea of an entire culture suffused with respect for that mythology, that religion and its practices, that poor people could under- stand its sophistication and grant things that hard-headed West- erners are still trying to kill each other over. That was a revelation: how deeply the sense of a spiritual existence could penetrate everyday relations, the streets and street signs . . . Naga sadhus walking around naked—people who would have been arrested in America . . . or for that matter—I remember writing to Kerouac—everybody walking around in their underwear, in striped boxer shorts. What would seem outrageous or strange to Americans was just normal—it was hot and people wore very light cotton—it seemed so obvious. That showed me the absurd artificiality of some American customs. . . . And then just the notion of somebody being a businessman and then renouncing the world and being a sannyasi and going around with an intel- ligent expression looking for moksha, that was such a switch from the American notion of business, such a good model, but it doesn’t work for even Indians now. . . . A n d then the availability of ganja and its use in religious festivals and ceremonies was a great source of release for an American used to government dictatorship of all psychedelic drugs (even marijuana), to prohi- bitions, murders, beatings, corruption.8 At least in India there was some familiarity with what it was.
Q: What qualities do you look for in the poetry before choosing a ghazal for a musical composition?
Jagjit singh : Apart from the technical specifications to qualify as a ghazal, I am looking for a new thought in the poetry. Beauty, romance, social satire, spiritualism, religion- the subject matters may vary but there should always be a surprise element in a ghazal. I also make sure that the words used in the ghazal are simple and understandable for common audience. I have studied and learnt Urdu in detail but even now, I don’t feel awkward to ask an expert about the meaning of a difficult Urdu expression.
Source : http://www.cinemasangeet.com/hindi-film-music/interviews/jagjit-singh-an-interview.html
Q: “Why did you mention that you love humanity? Every time you mentioned your love for humanity, you seemed to contradict that statement by following it with something very dreary, why is that?”
EC: “I feel that too many people judge books by their covers. They do not want to find out the true meaning of what they just read simply because people are shallow and they would rather take the easy route. This can ultimately be related to our overly simplistic society. I for one, do not love humanity, I feel that humanity itself is cruel and unjust. There is no in-between class, only the less-fortunate and the over-fortunate and this creates an unfair gap, and I stress this point in the first stanza. I felt that if I were to trick and exploit my audience by using satire and sarcasm, into thinking that they were going to read a happy poem, my message would have been better understood. In the title, I created a euphoric setting to encompass the reader’s attention before even reading the text. I wanted to make people feel good about themselves and humanity before unveiling the different shades of truth.”
Source : https://thefullviewblog.wordpress.com/2014/04/23/humanity-i-love-you-my-interview-with-e-e-cummings/
How can a young poet know if his work is really worthwhile?
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You never know that. I don’t know it; Robert Lowell doesn’t know it; John Berryman didn’t know it; and Shakespeare probably didn’t know it. There’s never any final certainty about what you do. Your opinion of your own work fluctuates wildly. Under the right circumstances you can pick up something that you’ve written and approve of it; you’ll think it’s good and that nobody could have done exactly the same thing. Under different circumstances, you’ll look at exactly the same poem and say, “My Lord, isn’t that boring.” The most important thing is to be excited about what you are doing and to be working on something that you think will be the greatest thing that ever was. One of the difficulties in writing poetry is to maintain your sense of excitement and discovery about what you write. American literature is full of people who started off excited about poetry and their own contribution to it and their own relationship to poetry and have had, say, a modicum of success and have just gone on writing poetry as a kind of tic, a sort of reflex, when they’ve lost all their original excitement and enthusiasm for what they do. They do it because they have learned to do it, and that’s what they do. You have to find private stratagems to keep up your original enthusiasm, no matter what it takes. As you get older, that’s tougher and tougher to do. You want to try to avoid, if you possibly can, the feeling of doing it simply because you can do it.
Rogers: But I think in some of the songs that you’ve written there’s such a close relationship with poetry obviously, but form too. There’s a soundtrack to Night Magic where you wrote the lyrics in Spenserian ode form.
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Cohen: I’ve always been interested in form, maybe because I don’t trust my own spontaneous nature to come up with anything interesting, and form imposes a certain opportunity to get deeper than your first thought. There’s a school of poetry that believes first thought, best thought. That would have condemned me to an inauspicious superficiality if I had followed that, because I don’t have any ideas. Irving Layton once said to me, “Leonard is free from ideas.” I don’t have an idea and I don’t trust my opinions. I think my opinions are second-rate, but when you submit yourself to a form, then something happens and you’re invited to dig deeper into the language and to discard the slogans by which you live, the easy alibis of language and of opinion. And if you’re looking in the Spenserian stanza, for instance—which is a very, very intricate verse form—you have to come up with many rhymes of the same sound; you’re invited to explore realms that you usually don’t get to in ordinary, easy thought. I’ve considered my thought stream extremely uninteresting, and it’s only when I can discard it that I find I can say something that I can get behind.
source : https://brickmag.com/an-interview-with-leonard-cohen/
Q: What is your advice to writers, especially young writers who are just starting out?
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Naomi Shihab Nye : Number one: Read, Read, and then Read some more. Always Read. Find the voices that speak most to YOU. This is your pleasure and blessing, as well as responsibility!
It is crucial to make one’s own writing circle – friends, either close or far, with whom you trade work and discuss it – as a kind of support system, place-of-conversation and energy. Find those people, even a few, with whom you can share and discuss your works – then do it. Keep the papers flowing among you. Work does not get into the world by itself. We must help it. Share the names of books that have nourished you. I love Writing Toward Home by Georgia Heard, for example. William Stafford’s three books of essays on the subject of writing – Crossing Unmarked Snow is the most recent – all from the Poets on Poetry series of the University of Michigan Press, Ann Arbor – are invaluable. I love so many of these new anthologies that keep popping up. Let that circle be sustenance.
There is so much goodness happening in the world of writing today. And there is plenty of ROOM and appetite for new writers. I think there always was. Don’t let anybody tell you otherwise. Attend all the readings you can, and get involved in giving some, if you like to do that. Be part of your own writing community. Often the first step in doing this is simply to let yourself become identified as One Who Cares About Writing!
My motto early on was “Rest and be kind, you don’t have to prove anything” – Jack Kerouac’s advice about writing – I still think it’s true. But working always felt like resting to me.
Source : http://www.pifmagazine.com/1999/08/interview-withnaomi-shihab-nye/