Posts made in May, 2012

Our Cracked Kettle of Words

Posted by on May 30, 2012 in Archive | 6 comments

Our Cracked Kettle of Words

“Language is a cracked kettle on which we bang out tunes to make the bears dance, when what we long for is to move the stars to pity.” said Flaubert.  Why is it that we  always try to say what we can’t find words to say? T. S. Eliot, in Burnt Norton, says”                                                             Words strain, Crack and sometimes break, under the burden, Under the tension, slip, slide, perish, Decay with imprecision, will not stay in place, Will not stay still. Furthermore, how do we KNOW our words are...

Read More

How Poetry & Meditation Can Save the World

Posted by on May 23, 2012 in Archive | 8 comments

How Poetry & Meditation Can Save the World

I thought you might like to read the text of a talk I gave last week at TEDx. I have to say, I was nervous. The TEDx event–a full day of speeches, each 18 minutes long–is meant to offer new ways to think and inspiration to act. The audience–in this case about 400 people in Traverse City–appears to be mostly business people and people in public service positions. The tickets are $100! It’s amazing to me. My talk (which was accompanied by slides and soon will be out on YouTube on the TEDx site.) : I have been given the awesome task of concluding this TEDx.  I...

Read More

Who I Write For

Posted by on May 15, 2012 in Archive | 5 comments

Who I Write For

I have been reading the recent omnibus book review by my friend Kevin Clark in The Georgia Review. Kevin is always smart, perceptive, and open to many kinds of poetry. Here is what he has to say about one book of poems in which, he acknowledges,  it’s difficult to tell what’s happening or even who’s speaking: “We can’t be sure of the details, and therefore we can’t contextualize the speaker’s problem.” He goes on to generously explain this poet’s work by saying that he realizes that in her poems, the poet wants to “demonstrate pandemic victimization and she wants to...

Read More

Zen Monk Blogger

Posted by on May 9, 2012 in Archive | 3 comments

Zen Monk Blogger

The eighth-century hermit poet Cold Mountain, or Han-shan, looked like a tramp. He wore a birch bark hat, his clothes were ragged and worn out, and his shoes were wood. Jack Kerouac dedicated The Dharma Bums to him in 1958. I’ve been reading the translations of Cold Mountain’s poetry by Red Pine [Bill Porter],  one of the preeminent, if not the preeminent, scholar and translator of Buddhist texts. Han Shan as depicted by Soga Sho-haku Image courtesy of the Boston Museum of Fine Arts The poet Cold Mountain’s identity is still a mystery, He called himself Han-shan, or Cold Mountain,...

Read More

Writing About Trivialities

Posted by on May 2, 2012 in Archive | 4 comments

Writing About Trivialities

This is an image of molecules of a nasal spray, tiny little things that do a world of good. I picked it because my life feels overwhelmed with illness at the moment, with people in my family who have serious or not-so-serious illnesses, so that’s what comes to mind to write about. I wrote a poem in which I describe in detail my husband’s not-life-threatening problems and my own also not-serious ones. I’m a bit uneasy about the poem. It may be the subject. Or not. I notice how glitches in the body’s functioning compel us as much as world catastrophes, and then I think, this is what I...

Read More