Rut

I’ve been strug­gling with po­et­ry late­ly. I feel that mine is too cere­bral, I feel I make peo­ple work too hard. When I try to open the ac­cess, I lose some­thing along the way, and I’m not quite too sure what it is. All that I seem left with is ‘wry.’ Twists and turns of phrase, word play, gives a feel­ing of wry­ness, but naught else.

In short, I feel stuck in a rut, and with­out in­spi­ra­tion, or di­rec­tion. I am find­ing it hard to go any­where new, be­cause I am fo­cused on where I’ve been. The an­thro­pol­o­gist in me [the per­son who is in­ter­est­ed in things peo­ple are in­ter­est­ed in] does not know where to go next.

Here is where you come in.

I think if I get feed­back from peo­ple, or rules to fol­low, what not to do, what new to try, et cetera, I might get my head around this writer’s ap­a­thy. In short, I’m ask­ing for ad­vice, and as­sign­ments.

I don’t pre­tend to­ward any type of writ­ing tal­ent, but I know I can do bet­ter than what I do cur­rent­ly. My best is all I ask of me. But, I’m not sure I can do my best with­out y’all.

6 thoughts on “Rut

  1. thanks for all the ad­vice y’all. ’tis quite chock full of wis­dom.

    ron, i’ve been lis­ten­ing to alot of J5 late­ly, the oth­ers i will look in­to.

    B?rd, call me ei­ther, i an­swer to both in the re­al­ly re­al world.

    Muffin Fool, ach! where do you find ‘em!

  2. You might be tir­ing of the form; you might wan­na try a short sto­ry, a one-act, lit­er­ary jour­nal­ism, who knows. Poetry might not be yr bowl of cher­ries. If that’s not the case, as you’d not un­rea­son­ably ar­gue, then I’d sug­gest just try­ing to widen yr range of every­day ob­ser­va­tion: watch & lis­ten and then con­tem­plate & reimag­ine and then fi­nal­ly ex­press. View what you take in un­der dif­fer­ent lights and through dif­fer­ent lens­es. And that’s all just talk­ing about the ex­ter­nal world – there’s a whole in­te­ri­or one for every in­di­vid­u­al and min­ing it for cre­ative raw ma­te­ri­als can be cathar­tic. Sources of in­spi­ra­tion are le­gion, with­in & with­out, tan­gi­ble & in­tan­gi­ble, as you well know (you know all of this; I’m just try­ing to re­mind you), but in­ex­plic­a­bly, we’ll run in­to ruts like the­se. Don’t for­get there’s al­ways crests that fol­low the­se troughs, though the di­vid­ing in­ter­val varies. (I’ve been in a trough for a looooong while.) Cast a wider net, I guess, is what I’m say­ing. And when you catch some­thing worth keep­ing, you can put me wise to less cheesy metaphors.

  3. cere­bral is good, don’t lose that. 

    there is, i think, a bal­ance that needs to be reached and the fact that you are aware of a self- per­ceived lack of ‘ac­ces­si­bil­i­ty’ in your writ­ing is a sign of growth.

    the idea of a “learned” po­et is one that makes the ef­fort of writ­ing an en­deav­or, a grand in­tel­lec­tu­al task– it makes one feel like there is some­thing to be un­locked in our words.

    you feel like eliot; you feel like pound.

    but, in some ways, it di­vorces the read­er from your ef­fort: they spend more time try­ing to cat­a­logue al­lu­sions and mytho­log­i­cal ref­er­ences than lis­ten­ing to your words or vi­su­al­iz­ing im­ages. your read­ers (and you?) start to see the trans­mis­sion of mean­ing through the dis­sec­tion as op­posed to the ex­pe­ri­ence.

    and so… what’s the so­lu­tion?

    be speci­fic as op­posed to ‘cere­bral’: look around you and write down what your sens­es al­low you to write down; at first, care noth­ing about the tech­ni­cal, the so­phis­ti­cat­ed.

    try stream of con­scious­ness and drafts of lines and list­ing words– seize that which is over­looked.

    im­press your read­er with new ways of look­ing and feel­ing and smelling and hear­ing and tast­ing a world com­mon to you.

    al­so, lis­ten to good, re­al hip- hop: a tribe called quest, de la soul, com­mon sense, juras­sic 5, the roots, lau­ryn hill (un­plugged), saul williams, thought­break­ers, pub­lic en­e­my…

    even in more main­stream b.i.g. and tu­pac, lis­ten­ing to hip- hop at its core pro­vides ac­cess to me­ter and im­age and a re­al­i­ty we some­times want to over­look.

    i love when i dis­pense ad­vice that i am un­able to take.

    good luck.

  4. many good thoughts there. i know the prob­lem you speak of, har­vey. i think you need to keep in mind that you are try­ing to say some­thing, as op­posed to try­ing to write po­et­ry. don’t try to write po­et­ry. we all have pre­con­ceived no­tions of what po­et­ry is, and try­ing to copy that or reach for it is a bad idea. it’s like try­ing to make a great record in­stead of just mak­ing the mu­sic that is in you. al­so con­sid­er the pos­si­bil­i­ty that, right now, no mu­sic is in you.

    some “ex­cer­cis­es” you might con­sid­er: nar­row in on a sub­ject. don’t try to give it mean­ing, just de­scribe it. let the sub­ject be some­thing mun­dane or small, like a tea cup or a pen­cil. try to de­scribe it with­out us­ing any pro­nouns. you may find that the re­sult starts out mun­dane but ends up with a po­ten­tial for some­thing big­ger than it­self. this should get your wheels turn­ing.

    a vari­a­tion of this is to write about a per­son or re­la­tion­ship with­out us­ing words like “i” or “you” or “he” or “she” or any oth­er “per­son­al” words.

    fi­nal­ly, pay at­ten­tion to “ready-mades” around you. in my neigh­bor­hood there is a sign that says “every day buy” in big let­ters fol­lowed by some more in­fo about buy­ing a park­ing space. look at words in se­quence on prod­ucts and take them out of their con­text. check out some of the “en­gr­ish” web­sites (japan­ese prod­ucts with odd eng­lish phras­es on them). or write some­thing co­her­ent and run it through an on­line trans­la­tion tool, then trans­late it back to eng­lish. you’ll get some­thing kind of messed up. from that you may find three or four words in a se­quence that gives you an idea. etc etc etc.

  5. by the way, i keep call­ing you “har­vey” — i think i get it from a user­name or email ad­dress or some­thing, even though your name is Adam. would you prefer i call you Adam?

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