Thursday, March 12, 2015

i woke in a good mood.  the walk to work was wonderful.  it rained yesterday.  a light drizzle.  nothing to break this four year drought.  water might be, and soon, harder to come by.  but today the weather was gorgeous.  fat puffy clouds.  a blue sky.  a strong yellow sun.  and a stiff breeze.  walking nick to school we noticed the clouds.  they seemed to be not moving.  when we stopped and looked.  really looked.  we noticed the clouds were moving at tremendous speed.

i have finished my interview with stefan hyner.  i am very happy to have had the opportunity to interview this poet who has been my teacher for some odd years. 

i was just reading the profile on a journalism website of a favorite poet of mine.  there it was: education, publications, but under awards there were no awards to be found.  this poet has a long history with the small presses.  there are no, or rarely any, awards for the small presses.

which leads me to a thought.  there are no careers in poetry.  okay, yes, if you read the latest award winning book you shall find in the writer's bio note that reads like a dry cv.  educated here, taught there, published elsewhere.  pretty boring stuff.  so yes, in that sense you can make poetry a career.  what i am thinking about is that poetry is a way of life, to borrow a phrase by the brilliant and generous poet eileen tabios.  you don't get a plaque for being the coolest father or a loving partner.  you just do those things because you cannot do otherwise.

i think kindness and generosity and compassion are profound revolutionary actions.  to be kind and generous and compassionate takes a great deal of courage.  our culture(s) do not validate or encourage these behaviors.  for the survival of our species these are absolutely necessary.  poetry is like that.  i do think poetry is absolutely necessary.  poetry practices with kindness, generosity and compassion is a courageous action.  one need not, must not, practice assholeism.  and even if one is an asshole i shall still practice, at the best of my ability, by my writing, reading and living, kindness, generosity and compassion.

back to the small press poet who has no awards for a lifetime in poetry.  well, in the phrase of the late, great, world citizen poet anselm hollo, in a just world you there would be no nobel prize.  you practice poetry, you do it in the fashion that best suits your needs, because you can not live another kind of life.  there is no reward in that.  there is simply life. 


At 4:21 AM, Blogger Glenn Ingersoll said...

I like to say poetry is a spiritual practice and what you say in this post is basically my argument.

At 9:49 PM, Blogger richard lopez said...

thank you, glenn. i agree with you too. i say poetry is a practice for life. i am devoted to language and life.


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