Preliminary Notes for a Young Poet

[Aphoristic prose poem from seven years ago. Adorno’s quote on art of course also encompasses poetry.]

Preliminary Notes for a Young Poet

Poetry is like life: nothing that can be said about it cannot be equally plausibly contradicted.

Don’t trust any poet over thirty. Don’t trust any poet under thirty.

Trust only your own selves. These are also protean non-selves.

Writing poetry occurs within an ongoing great dialogue of poets that stretches from tribal incantation, Lao Tzu and Homer to Eliot, Neruda, Rilke and rap. Read them.

The more individual your poetry, the more collective. You didn’t make your brain. Your brain is an evolutionary collective artifact, a product of the universe, planet and people.

In a world of war, exploitation and ecocide, poetry for poetry’s sake sucks.

Poetry as propaganda is always a whore and sucks even more.

Forget popularity. Contemporary poetry audiences are mostly poets themselves. Good-oh. Society is approaching the pre-literate-tribal and anarchist utopia of a poetical society in which all are creative.

‘First thought, best thought’ (Jack Kerouac). Except when it remains there, self-satisfied, self-indulgent, stuck.

Poetry is craftsmanship: the technology of the human spirit forming air or ink.

Poetry is free breath moving through quanta of modulated breath.

Like microphysical quanta, poems are wave potentials that depend on the wave collapse of a listener’s or readers’ activity.

Like quantum waves they can be contradictory waves and bits forming neurons in two places at once.

Poetry is inspiration plus perspiration, a poet a seer and maker, shaman and engineer.

Poetry is silence speaking through the grammar of the imagination.

Poetry is the 95% of the universe (un)known as ‘Dark Matter-Energy’.

You are the universe but the universe is smarter than you. (Choose your You).

Poetry is the shimmering, quivering, loving fusion of your neocortex with your older mammal and reptile brains.

Your poetic tongue is the scent-laden flowering of your ancient spinal chord.

Poetry is an empty sky in which linear clouds of sound and metaphor appear, move, disappear, appear…

Poetry writing is risk, fail, risk again. Or risk, almost succeed, risk. Or fail.


~ by Peter Lach-Newinsky on May 15, 2017.

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