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Life as Rehearsal for the Poem (2021/2022)

This is for the Fall 2021 Life as Rehearsal for the poem workshop. Registration info below.

In previous workshops we discussed (& wrote from) the Eileen Myles notion of the hunted poem and her essay in which she talks about that method. Excerpt:

The process of the poem, the performance of it I mentioned, is central to the impression I have that life is a rehearsal for the poem, or the final moment of revelation… I’ve had this feeling before — of going out to get a poem, like hunting… I felt “…erotic, oddly / magnetic…” like photographic paper. As I walked I was recording the details. I was the details. I was the poem…

The act of writing spontaneously is an effort to return to this state. Myles calls it “oddly / magnetic” which is one way of looking at it. It is an enhanced state that comes in part from being a smaller part of the living and breathing cosmos. Words fall short here but we all have had the experience of something being witnessed or experienced through us. The Poetry Postcard Fest is an effort to, in the words of Anne Waldman: “Be in the perspective of a writer 24 hours a day… all your senses are acute, attuned to the delicate and fierce nuances of language… Repeat the mantra: I exist to write.

How are the energies and rhythms of life, the demands of individuation, the responses to the now and here (as Jason Wirth says it) reflected in the work? Is there an humilitas sufficient to make (the writer) of use? What practices support the cultivation of this state? What habits occlude it? Who are we reading? Who are our “great companions?” Miriam Nichols on Robin Blaser:

Blaser was passionate about what he called the public world. This was a concept he adapted from Hannah Arendt and presented in his poems and essays as a collaged conversation about the state of things—a kind of on-going commentary on what was happening around him in poetry, philosophy, politics, science, and society… The wager of the lifelong poem is that by most thoroughly living and performing a localized time-space the poet can bring a perspective to the world necessarily inhabited by all. Once installed in that public space—and living up to one’s historical moment is not easy or self-evident—one may find the companionship of others who have done the same. Hence a way to be at home.

Buddhists know you have to be now and here and yet you don’t have to be a Buddhist to understand that, nor to understand how the majority of people in our culture are focused on the material life force, are distracted and may even be clinically neurotic in an age when the energy is so intense.

This workshop will happen on five consecutive Sundays, October 3, 10, 17, 24 & 31, 4-6pm PDT. Cost $200 via Paypal or check or Venmo.