Notes on the Writing Process:
Entering the Poem

Socrates says: "Go in fear of abstractions."

Simplify: begin to see that the leaf in nature is extraordinary.

What is it connected to?
How are you connected to the leaf?
How does it extend or reflect your own vibration/reality?

Nouns: solidify--create definable reality.
Adjectives: dispel them.
Verbs: the armature of the poem.

A poem is the beginning of a world--heralds an awakening--it is a call to wonder!
Think of it as an opening of a door, an opportunity to enter into something new.

The intention of the poem is always stronger than the writer's.
Follow the voice of the poem. Listen. Set aside ego.

The poem and the audience demand participation--interaction--change.

All stories are stories of the sacred tribe. They are an attempt to explain
the complex symbolism involved in the rituals of human life.
Stories are told by the permission of the universal source. The writer asks:
"Who sees the star that no one else can see?"
Then sets down to describe it and celebrate it.

Write the poem or story in order of the sensation.

Writing poetry requires revolutionary change within as well as stamina and patience.
These elements are found within the theme of a story or poem and
are divined when you are engaged in writing something.

Gertrude Stein says: "It is not clarity that is desirable but force."

A poem, like an essay, is an attempt to follow a thought, reveal something brave.

Poetry is the uncovering of a world, the claiming of a landscape.

Have no taboos as a writer--invent a new way of being/seeing in the world.

Haiku: Autumn approaching.
Honey bee trapped between glass.
No singing to hear.

Begin the story or poem with the crisis. Begin on the verge of change. Locate the place of risk.

Annie Dillard says: "Write as though you are writing to a group of terminal patients."

The poet's task is to put meaning into the possibility of order. To reconfigure
fragments of the archaic invention.

Art (in theatre especially) is our psychic necessity to rehearse dying.

Poetry: the translation of Spirit into voice.

Eternal questions: What is happiness? Grief? Loathing? Desire?

Shiva: Live with chaos and know you will be born again. Embrace change.

In a poem, the self is trying to negotiate a contact with divinity. It is an attempt at salvaging beauty.

Redefine and savor what is sacred to you as a poet. Share generously.

Olga Broumos: "Imagine what it is like not to hide and become that freedom--
define your audience as a loving, appreciative, wanting aspect of your self."

Keats: Negative Capability:
exquisite control in a poem vs. abandon to the Muses.

Intention is the groundwork of change.
It makes the world new by renaming and redefining it in a poem.
A poem should go beyond the ego self.
Think of a poet as conduit for the divine.
The poem always exists--waiting for the poet to divine it.
Think of words as medicine, as runes to heal and illuminate the reader.

The detached mind of the writer is not looking for outcomes.
Is not waiting for the perfect word or the right ending of a poem.
Is only conscious of inter-connectedness and flow.
The poet with a zen mind shows up to the page and allows the connection and order.

Exigencies: We write to be healed and changed for the better.
We want to see everything at risk.
Poets must be willing to show up and exceed themselves.

If poetry is inhabited by silences, what is the mass-media propagandists' agenda?

Art must always be a bold act of the Imagination.

Poems ask: "How can the human spirit exist, flourish, and be liberated?

A poem can hold time.

Avoid the Hero poem with the romantic "I" coming forward.

Writing is practice towards transcendence.
Audiences read and listen to poems to solve issues.
Place the poem solidly. Stay in the particulars.
Sometimes it is better to write coldly--art is tension/conflict/release.
Vision comes from where we aren't trained to see.
Be aware. Observe. Quietly note and record.
Writing coldly moves the reader. Be detached--work in service of the poem.
Colder honesty is welcome. The first line of the poem sets the reader up for the task.
The first line begins the first step into the universe--tension between consiousness
and the mundane--sleep and awareness.

Synethesia: the mingling of the senses: creates a new vibration.
Sound becomes color

Poet as shamen: occluded truth coming to light.

An acute sense of dislocation prompts the poet to go deeper to find connection.

Beware of the interior poem: location can be muddy.

Poetry is aboriginal. Voice is a matter of being not speaking:
Land. History. Time. Voice is in nexus with other realities:
Self corresponds to History/Animal/Divinity

Line breaks are the energy of the poem:
Short lines: Quick energy, bubbles, fast thought.
Longer lines: Lingering meditations.

The poet's impulse is to find her own gravity and chronology.

The poem must be vulnerable and allow itself to be broken.
Witness in a poem the momentum of the self as it breaks into silences.
A poem brings a sense of peering out.
Asks the question always: What is at risk here?
A poem is the space where the poet sees and asks.
A poem does not always have to move towards what is comprehensible.
It can be a divining rod for unutterable and untranslatable stardust.
Poetry exists--find it. No abstractions. No modifiers.

Elizabeth Bishop says: "A poem is two things happening at once."

A poem can point towards an epiphany or contain one.
It can bring the reader eye to eye with death and beyond.

Ask yourself as a writer:
"How am I advancing consiousness within the context of my own work?"

"Where do I hold back?"
"Then, how do I deny myself to my readers?"
As I evolve, I assist in evolving my readers.
Stay inter-connected.

Poetry is an organ of perception.
It seeks its own beauty, taking its own random notes.
A poem is not indifferent.
It is an act of peace.
It is brave in the face of brutality.
It is a new kind of music emancipated into a larger world system.
It uses more than the five senses.
Seeks out and releases, emanates a vibration.

The poem extends the divine through the poet.

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