The most interesting concept explained by Gerald Stern was in his essay “Demystification”, which he described as basically as anti-mystification of things we give power to – the oval office, churches, etc… saying how we are terrified of the power, so we pray to it, bow to it.
But Gerald Stern said that no one really takes their hat off to anybody or anything unless it’s in true appreciation. A poem… a song… spaghetti, whatever requires respect. And standing up for what we believe in is a gift. It is a hard thing to do. It makes me realize poetry, and life, are in the details. Details that are so carefully placed in our lives. We pick and choose the most important events and details in our lives – the root – what really matters, what makes us grow.
There was an old couple at the poetry reading. I saw him help her pull off her sweater because she was hot and needed help. He loved her. Everything important in life is in the simplest of details.
What is a blank page vs. a full page?…
Gerald Stern asked, “Is there a man inside your head that writes your poems?”
There are things I write because I have to. That is a good feeling. Most poetry I have written in college and after was because I wanted to, not because there was a voice inside my head, making me. I wonder if the key to writing good poetry is just to read lots of poetry. That is part of it. Some people just have a gift for it. Sylvia Plath is so intriguing to me because she had these bursts of creativity, where everything she wrote was so beautiful, so dry, so perfect. She was very troubled, and maybe that is also the key to good poetry. Pain. I think the best poems I have ever written were in times when I felt the most pain. A gift for words may be nothing without the pain and realness behind it, and vice versa. So in order to get to that poetry inside of us, we have to allow ourselves to reenter those places deep within us and feel that pain again – let it out – write what comes. It is hard to do because I think it is in most people’s nature to bury the pain and keep it tucked away… to hide from it. For the most part, I feel happy in my life. I feel blessed beyond belief, and I feel so strong compared to what I used to feel at other times in my life. I feel loved and like I have so much love in my life. I know that without a shadow of a doubt, I will always have someone to be there for me, love me, help me, care for me, catch me and lift me up. That is the best feeling in the world. To know that there will always be someone there to share in every experience, to know that you not only have a life partner, but someone who would die for you, and you for them. It was never security that I was searching for. It was love. But in finding love, I found that security. So where is the pain? Where did it go? The pain has seceded.
The only pain that could ever happen to me now would be the scariest and worst kind possible. Loss. Many people have experienced this pain, and my heart goes out to anyone who has. To lose something so precious, so loved, something so dear that you can’t possibly imagine your life without – that would be the worst kind of pain. It is better to have loved and lost, than to have never loved at all. We can’t know real pain without first knowing real love. There have been times when I have thought about losing Gareth. I wonder how my life could possibly ever go on. So I tell him to be safe, be healthy, because he is my everything. My parents or my brother are a part of me. They are my blood. My dog is my best friend. She has comforted me, cried with me, lifted my spirits. She is also a part of me and I know the bond I have with her is something that can never be replaced. My best friends, my people, they also mean the world to me. It is a sad topic, but we have to remember that life is happening, time is real, and we aren’t going to be here forever. This past year has been wonderful. I will always remember 2012 fondly. But life, the details, and the things that go unnoticed – that is where the poetry lies. That is where we must direct our focus to, because as much as we might be able to hide our pain from the world, tuck it away and experience it in the quietest of moments alone with ourselves, it will always be there. While I may have had a good year, there are many other people who did not. I don’t think what I am saying is to be afraid of pain. Fear should never be a motivating force for anything in life. What I’m saying is only human. These are things I have thought about. If fear were to motivate us, we would stay in cages, cramped and scared because of what might happen. I don’t want to do that. I don’t want anyone to do that. I think I’m saying all of this because I am pondering what REAL poetry is and what it means to me, and why it is necessary. If someone can write a poem, like Syliva Plath, and we can attempt to understand her, her life, connect with it and identify with it, happy or sad, it is because it came from a place of realness that she discovered and wanted to share with us for a reason because she was alive… even if she was scared. That realness is the answer, and that which is real can only happen in life’s details. So the worst kind of pain which I have not experienced yet, but that which so many others have, can be a driving force or message to us to listen more, let go, and realize that what we put our time and energy in to is what and who we are. In demystifying what society tells us to give our power to, and opening our eyes and giving power to what really matters, we can begin to have hope and we can begin to change the world, with a smile and with peace. A blank page is a beautiful thing. It is a space, a canvas, an open field. What will you fill your page with? What will you write? Because I believe we are all truly connected, and every detail matters.