David Whyte:”I think one of our great tasks as human beings is to find the part of us that is big enough for life”

When you experience that heartbreak and humiliation, are you able to make it useful in your work?

back-page-_david-whyte

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/

E E Cummings:”I feel that too many people judge books by their covers”

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?”

eecummings3

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/

Czeslaw Milosz : I approached Einstein with enormous reverence

INTERVIEWER

You once wrote a poem dedicated to Einstein.

05_czeslaw_milosz_krakow1998

IMAGE source : internet

 

MILOSZ : I knew Einstein. In fact, I worshipped him. My cousin Oscar Milosz believed that his theory of relativity had opened a new era of mankind—an era of harmony, reconciliation between science, religion, and art. The positive consequence of Einstein’s discoveries was the elimination of Newtonian time and space as infinite and the introduction of the relativity of time and space that underlies our cosmology and its concept of the big bang. I approached Einstein with enormous reverence. So I wrote a poem about him. At the time he was convinced that the world was moving toward destruction because of atomic weapons, and that the only solution was to create a world government to control the weapons. In 1948, he wrote a paper in that spirit and sent it to the World Congress for Intellectuals in Wroclaw, Poland. The congress was just a front for Stalin’s armaments policy, and the Russians opposed reading that memo. Around that time I asked Einstein whether I should go back to Poland or stay abroad. He thought I should return and was very frank about it.

Source : https://www.theparisreview.org/interviews/1721/czeslaw-milosz-the-art-of-poetry-no-70-czeslaw-milosz

 

Neruda : you ought to make your own way

INTERVIEWER

What advice would you give to young poets?

bf94d3ac4c

image source : internet

NERUDA:

Oh, there is no advice to give to young poets! They ought to make their own way; they will have to encounter the obstacles to their expression and they have to overcome them. What I would never advise them to do is to begin with political poetry. Political poetry is more profoundly emotional than any other—at least as much as love poetry—and cannot be forced because it then becomes vulgar and unacceptable. It is necessary first to pass through all other poetry in order to become a political poet. The political poet must also be prepared to accept the censure which is thrown at him—betraying poetry, or betraying literature. Then, too, political poetry has to arm itself with such content and substance and intellectual and emotional richness that it is able to scorn everything else. This is rarely achieved.

Source : https://www.theparisreview.org/interviews/4091/pablo-neruda-the-art-of-poetry-no-14-pablo-neruda

 

 

“Find the voices that speak most to YOU” -Naomi Shihab Nye

Q: What is your advice to writers, especially young writers who are just starting out?

sba-speaker-photo-nye

image source : internet

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/

 

Wislawa szymborska : some tragedies can’t be talk with a sense of humour

Q: Some of your poems are pessimistic about the state of the world. You have no children: Is the future too gloomy for children?

2. Festiwal Czes³awa Mi³osza w Krakowie

image source : internet

Wislawa : Actually I would like to know how many people there were in the world when I was born, and how many there are now. I suspect the number has doubled. This is something of great concern for me. A small example. I was born in a little town close to Poznan and there was a big lake there. People went fishing, you could take a boat and sail. Now this lake is tiny. Weeds grow in it. It is going to dry up. And if you think about how many such lakes dry up in the world–and there are always more and more people–then you start having thoughts that aren’t very pleasant.

There are people who say, “Let more people be born, because the earth can sustain them all.” I don’t agree with that. We all know how many people die of malnutrition and diseases that should be extinct. I cannot talk about these things with a sense of humor.

source : http://articles.latimes.com/1996-10-13/opinion/op-53412_1_writing-poems-people