I have opinions on poetry, not all of which are humble. For instance: poems on the subject of self are dangerous. Too many fall into the trap of sounding like an over-serious high school student reading lines to an indifferent cafeteria.
Nevertheless, one of my favorite poets ever is Leonard Cohen. He writes about himself a lot. He says of himself “I never discuss my mistresses or my tailors” but his poems identify the objects of his desires by name. Go figure.
I am approximately half way through with my MA in Creative Writing. Come this time next year, I imagine I’ll be all the way through with the coursework and eagerly awaiting graduation, which should happen on or around the 12th of December. I think I would be more excited about this if I thought that my employment situation was likely to revolve around the MA. Mostly, I suppose it will end up being a vanity degree, which is depressing so I don’t think about it.
Anyway, next summer, I will find myself writing a self-reflective piece on my progress from last year to this. I am currently dispairing ever learning how to break my lines and stanzas to my tutor’s liking and am sure that I will be failing miserably shortly. Other times, I am determined to graduate with a distinction. In preparation for this self-reflective piece, I’ve started (as of today) digging up quotes from Leonard Cohen to see what he has to say about the craft.
And doing a little thinking of my own about poetry writing and why I think it is important. Or if I think it is important. I envison some sort of a synthesis between photography, history, poetry and storytelling. My references might be www.gapingvoid.com, a book called Camera Lucida by Roland Barthes (which I suddenly fear I have no idea where it is among the bookshelves), Leonard Cohen and… I don’t know.
I guess that is a start?
A quote from an old Leonard Cohen interview, 1967: “I wrote ‘Beautiful Losers’ on Hydra, when I’d throught of myself as a loser, finacially, morally, as a lover and a man. I was wiped out; I didn’t like my life. I vowed I would just fill the pages with black or kill myself. After the book was over, I fasted for ten days and flipped out completely. It was my wildest trip. I hallucinated for a week. They took me to a hospital in Hydra. One afternoon, the whole sky was black with storks. They alighted on all the churches and left in the moring . . . and I was better. Then I decided to go to Nashville and become a song writer.”
Surely the muse is there, just waiting to be turned into an essay on writing?