"The very notion that you are sustained at each moment by an infinite plenitude of all that is contingent means that this life that you call yours has value beyond finite conceiving; it means that every other life is subject to the same terms of wonder. This is real; this is really happening. I am here by amazing grace and marrow music.The same mind that brought you to nothingness teems with sublime community." David Mutschlecner's Poetic Faith is, in the words of Elizabeth Robinson...
What is it about artists that empower the wonderers and discoverers in us? It's true that art can obfuscate hope and willingness as easily as it emboldens such things. But it is not the artist's job to justify or otherwise explain her makings, which must be allowed to speak for themselves as autonomous creations.
Poetry is so important because of the quality of space it activates when it is shared—a deep, sometimes terrifyingly vast field of meanings real, perfect, possible, and indeterminate. This depth and its quality speaks at once to the simultaneous revelation of the apparent and the hidden, what Stéphane Mallarmé might call a "pure notion"...
Working with Scott has been nothing short of a course in illumination; his every gesture informs a larger vision, a sort of mythological treatment of meaning that honors the tools of the trade. Scott channels his personal integrity into the work, making for a crystalline concept, and the subsequent structural integrity makes it possible for us to observe the finer details of reality.
How do you know if you are capable of what you feel — really feel — like doing? I can hear someone saying: "Some people just know." And what that means to me, in this moment, is that people find ways to be at home in the uncertain terrain of any endeavor. There is no guarantee that anything you do will succeed. What is success? Fruition? Export? Completion? What is completion? When is something done? Is "done" even possible? What is possible? We're back at the beginning.
Mneme tremors in the wall-dust of ruined stars. Or we can be literal: Jamais Vu is a series of image and breath-centric lyrics that seek, in the space between voices, the deeper reaches of personal memories, where recollection becomes a reinvention (a rebreathing) of historical figments and figures. It is as april joseph writes in her beautiful introduction to the work: "Ancient and (music)noteworthy mystics appear throughout this pureland reminding us of ancestral roots’ voice, of its seekers, seers, mourners and singers."
The poet, like one operating a plow or loom, turns from one line to another (see: etymonline). It's not a stretch to say that verse has everything to do with cultivation: composition: growth. In the postmodern world we've realized that lines are not the only way to scatter seeds, and we are constantly tasked with healing from the travesties perpetuated against entire nations in the name of production and trade.
But it seems we have the choice, at least — we can choose from our ways and means, however limited, however frail. Dylan Thomas's famous villanelle ("Do Not Go Gentle Into That Good Night") is a perfect and perfectly moving example of the choice — how to act upon the feeling — and the spirit behind it. But it is Maya Angelou's "When Great Trees Fall" that puts me, personally, back to work, in spite of (or at home with) the dying trees, the disappearing wilderness, the yawning void.
It gets easier and easier to forget that language is involved, period. In American politics, language is used to garner votes; in American business, language is used to garner profits. We become ruthlessly positivistic. We (consciously or otherwise) rule out the sublimity of language, it's bodies and rhythms and... beauty...
Does contemporary poetry lack rhythm? (Pattern, repetition, recognition, sway?) In asking what is memorable about contemporary poetry, I am really asking: What does it give us to return to? And how is it we enact the return? Out of fear? Desire? Self-importance? Pain? Joy? Ignorance? Honor? Helplessness? Surrender? What of a culture in which lines of poetry no longer appear in moments of darkness and despair, joy and passion? Are poets making these lines available? Are lines no longer enough? What the hell is a line, anyway?
Connections abound to the labyrinth as maze, trap, deity, pilgrimage, metaphor, and so on. A wikipedia segment mentions the mystic's relationship to labyrinths: "Walking among the turnings, one loses track of direction and of the outside world, and thus quiets the mind." Before a recent reading, Indigo and I walked the labyrinth outside St. John's Episcopal Church in Boulder. There are entire organizations dedicated to the labyrinth as a spiritual tool. And there's this: "Incline the ear of your heart" (Prologue to the Rule of St. Benedict, ~529 C.E.).
“All I currently feel like doing is reading the work of my friends." I wrote those words to a lifelong friend back in March of this year. The feeling seems to exist at the center of a whirling variety of professional and institutional expectations. And I wonder: Why wouldn't it be valuable to admire and encourage the work of one's friends? What makes competition better than play? What separates the two processes in the first place?
He is more saint than poet. He is more human than saint. He is a true & dear friend. He watches the water & walks on his feet. He listens deeply. He loves fully. He names freely. He is willing to hold his ground. He is willing to give it up. He lets people worship what they worship. He has changed my life with his language.
No. 14, Third Eye Broadcast's Surface, is a collaborative moonscape, a tidal cartographic collage made of ink, pulp, type, found text, daydreams, nighthearts, skywaters, and streetlamps. Looking at the pages of Surface is like looking out of your childhood bedroom window. “There is the moon, there are my dreams, here are my hands...” The members of Third Eye Broadcast — visual artist Kari Treadwell and author Nick Hranilovich — have met somewhere between the fabled Petit Prince and the filmic City of Lost Children. Here is joy like a jewel, sopping with space. Here is a little sadness, to help you remember...
June's issue of The Lune (No. 13) features Lisette Alonso'sThe Album of Untaken Photos, a series of lyrical daguerrotypes that expose the passing moment's power and, subsequently, how this power affects every (human) gesture in time and space (life). With alarming grace, Alonso renders the emotional and psychic constitution of almost-memories, instances half-noticed, socially unpreserved yet personally irrefutable. We see the human beings in Alonso's poetry from without while they, as family members, shape each other mysteriously from within. There is a soundlessness to this language that trembles with what's real and readies us for revelation.
“The Lune" is like a lot of tiny, poetry journals — earnest, simple, overly precious. But the magazine, now on its tenth issue, is better curated than most, limiting itself in size while presenting some of the most readable poets around, like Jack Collom, Reed Bye, Laura Cesarco Eglin and other writers whose legends are more than local.
May's issue of The Lune (No. 12) features a previously unpublished selection from Joanna Ruocco's The Boghole and the Beldame. Quite frankly, Ruocco is a magician and her writing astonishes. The Boghole and the Beldame is a pastoral hallucination—more spell than story—that harks back to the waking life of an archetypal dreamer. Afoot in the muck of language itself, Ruocco paints a thicket in which every shimmering growth baffles the landscape. Author/diviner Selah Saterstrom says...
In honor of tonight’s Innisfree Poetry Bookstore & Café Fifth Anniversary/Anne Waldman Lune Release Celebration, I had to talk to the glowing, cratery satellite ball orbiting the whole situation, Joseph Braun. I’ve known Joe since he came to Boulder in 2011, and now it would be hard to imagine The Scene without him. When you stop to think about it, you realize he’s been involved in so many cool poetry projects like The Full Moon Reading, Lunamopolis, The Lune, as well as being the current host of Innisfree’s Tuesday Night Poetry Open Mic, where he’s known for his mindful and poetic commentary between readers.
Our next issue of The Lune (No. 11) features Starr Owen's Fedora, an elegiac portrait and hyperreal tableau vivant in which the letters are people and the fedora is a timeless incident. Owen paints a small encyclopedia of sisterhood, a still life throbbing like a heart: broken: open. Fedora traces the outline of a loved one, skirting the brim of the impossible familiar, an America embalmed by its expectations. Just twelve pages long, a myth has never been so contemporary, so short, so real, and so fitting.
The totality of who we are—mind, spirit and imagination—is engaged. If a poem resonates, it resonates at a gut level, to the extent it applies and relates to our lives. More unconscious than conscious, more intuitive than reasoned, more felt than considered, our response runs deep.
Astrologically, the Moon is associated with our emotional selves because of constant fluctuation, its luminous progressions and regressions. The archetypal Moon is the epitome of nocturnal consciousness, which we call subconscious, allegorical nocturnal, the instinctual darkness to our intellectual light. The Moon is Earth's echo. Earth echoes the Sun. Dare I say: Without the Moon we are living on Mars, a violent wasteland of dust for water.
Longpre's title is a diaphanous first-thought that asks us to peer into and beyond the phenomenon of pairing (coupling). Apocalune is an etymologically cloaked concern for humanity's continuation. The result of this concern is A Separation Cosmology, the mythic awareness that all things—persons and planets alike—are bound by their distance to some sort of original unity. This is parenthood. This is poetry.
While haiku is of course firmly rooted in the contemplative soil of Japanese life and language, it would be imprecise to trace all short-form American poetics back to the Japanese form/way. The American haiku as lune—per this particular exposé—owes much of its growth to the sail-and-settle cultural consistency of the North American continent. All the same, the country—the land, the once wild—known today as the United States of America has been a space of spiritual expansion for millions of years. Perhaps Gertrude Stein said it best...
Poetry between “two persons" adheres to the idea that each is responsible for the destiny of all. O'Hara's expression gives us agency in determining that which concerns poetry and that which doesn't. Instead of trying to fit poetry into a neat structure we are asked to understand that “everything is in the poems" and from there the relationship to poetry is emergent. So...