poetry

Collage of Inspiration, Friday edition

Looking back over the week, here are some things that inspired me. And perhaps you too get inspired by angles, light, color....small quiet moments? Among the photographs I captured, here are some other media greats I want share....

Sally Mann's Exposure (New York Times), enjoy this article and excerpt from her forthcoming Hold Still: A Memoir With Photographs. It's so exciting to hear Mann talk about her extraordinary work from 20 years ago. I poured over her images and books throughout the years. To "hear" her voice in prose, rather than photography is another new intimacy.

Tritonal's "Satellite." Just a good spring song, with the car windows down and snow covered mountains shine bright against the panoramic clear sky. I'm a sucker for Austin (Texas) ambient and progressive trance groups....

Stay Still, Stay Silent. Leave it to the cool artistry of a Finnish-Swedish woman to transform webcomics to a new level. Amazing work she has online. This inspiration comes from a teenager I mentor, as we discussed her narrative arch/character development on her own webcomic. She's really pushing the boundaries. Exciting to see her develop....

Click on each photo for a little narrative....

Have a great weekend....get outside.

Minimalist Poet: The Treat of Random Finds

This past summer at Three Creek Lake, while I read a book in a canted position from a portable chair, a large man approached me. He had long sideburn chops, a belly that hung over his rodeo belt buckle, and two handguns strapped to his chest in a holster. He had come out of the Three Sisters Wilderness in the Cascade Mountain Range.

"I'm surprised you aren't reading a Kindle!" he said with a toothy smile.

"I'm no Luddite," I said. "I just prefer roaming the aisles of a library to see what I can find. I don't get that same feeling on Amazon, if you know what I mean."

"I do! I do!"

This strapped stranger and I talked for 20 minutes about books, about his life working the Barrow, Alaska pipeline (he was on his 10-day hiatus from work), and the woman he waited 20 years to catch and marry. The man was a short story in the flesh. I lived this man, this character from being in the world, rather than staying holed up in my studio and thinking up stuff. It was a genuine moment of authenticity. I appreciated him for being strange, vulnerable, and present. This man reminds me to get back to the creative version in me that I hide away during training, volleyball season, and long runs. Winter is coming, which means it's time to buckle down, resort to a warm little room of creativity, and drum up or polish off old projects I left for good weather, a mountain bike, and trainers.

Below is a gallery for you to flip through. Click and flip! Maybe it will bubble up something in you, too.....

This little gallery comes from a rare, free Friday afternoon, when I put up my feet and started to read little library finds: David Lynch's "Catching the Big Fish: Meditation, Consciousness, and Creativity" and "The Art Spirit" by Robert Henri.

Strange coincidence: wouldn't you know that David Lynch credits this Henri book he read as a high school senior and how it became an influential piece to becoming a painter, then filmmaker. I found these two books independent of each other at the library....I MUST(!) be onto something creatively....awesome synchronicity. Digging back into poetry and film feels good again....

Minimalist Marathon: How To Select the Training Type

For five months I had fallen into a runner’s nightmarish rabbit hole of marathon training advice thanks to curiosity and a Google search window. The more reading I did, the more confused I felt, the less resilient in my stride.

Marathon training was virgin territory for me. Training plans abounded online and in books as one-size-fits-all approach left me self-diagnosing my abilities. I decided to stop thinking I could figure it out and instead enlisted an expert, but finding the right person became a recipe of variables.

Find a Parallel Energy Source. There were two local trainers that I scouted based on their credentials. I tried out their group exercise classes. First up: Mr. Barky Orders. This particular fellow nicknamed me “Rookie” and liked to scream this moniker across his circuit and spinning classes. His tactics were not motivating to me. I did not need verbal breaking down for the inspirational build up; life’s disappointments and a list of failures got that job done. The work itself should do that, not someone’s mouth.

Find the personal trainer who mirrors the energy you want in your life. Decide if his or her methodology will help you weather the ups and downs of training.

Find the personal trainer who mirrors the energy you want in your life. Decide if his or her methodology will help you weather the ups and downs of training.

The other personal trainer: Mr. Buddha-Nature. Andrew Loscutoff is one even-keeled, humble, calm, congenial fitness expert, with a catalog of exercise science, wellness, and health books lodged in his brain. He will not dispense much unless asked. And if you do ask, then he is direct, clear, and to the point. His spectrum of response is quiet to encouraging to everyone no matter his or her fitness level.

Loscutoff, a former collegiate standout athlete and elite-level mountain bike champion, embodies stillness though he labels himself Type A, as he continues to push himself outside his comfort zone and asks that you do the same for your life. “It's that living life in the comfort zone is disrespecting the gift we've been given. A life truly begins on the outside of comfort,” he said.

Seek out the kind of person who motivates and inspires you when taking on a long haul, intense goal, like training for a marathon. Our energies matched.

Find the personal trainer who mirrors the energy you want in your life. Decide if his or her methodology will help you weather the ups and downs of training.

Let Your Guard Down. I have been very honest with Loscutoff about my average 10-minute mile abilities and starting later in life to become a marathoner. I want to break that pace each day I get out there to train.

Being truthful about progress is the opening of your inner sanctuary, sometimes a successful and disappointing place at the same time.

Being truthful about progress is the opening of your inner sanctuary, sometimes a successful and disappointing place at the same time.

He knows I am not out to win the race or place in my age group. I surrender and confide daily training outcomes on a log. Surprises to disappointments dot the worksheet. Lying about progress to him or myself will not make the race easier. Sit your ego down, better yet, strap it down and tell it to be silent.

Surrender to the Poetry in Running. Some people are not very good at quiet—being quiet, listening to quiet, acting quiet. I am great at quiet. I could medal in quiet, of all things. Running and training by yourself requires intense self-time. 

Breaking through resistance, head on, leaves you with a different version of yourself on the other side. Running, you may also find, is a physical poem.

Breaking through resistance, head on, leaves you with a different version of yourself on the other side.    

Breaking through resistance, head on, leaves you with a different version of yourself on the other side.

 

When I hit those times of resistance, whatever day of the week I am training, I remember what poet Charles Wright said in a New York Times interview. “Poetry is the dark side of the moon,” he said. “It’s up there, and you can see the front of it. But what it is isn’t what you’re looking at. It’s behind what you’re looking at.”

Going into the endurance of a mental-body-spirit resistance is where I find the motivation to change and thrive. And sometimes I find the answer in a world where words do not live.

The Zen teaching of Master Lin-Chi once said, “There is a self—a true person of no rank—that just flows in and out of the holes in your face.” May your running shoes clip along the pavement and life flow through you in the cadence of go....

new project

There's something in the works....and it begins with two stanzas from a William Stafford poem (which will  be revealed later). Little did I know his words would set the tone for what was to come....

Here I am reading William Stafford's poetry collection with a delicious chai tea latte (with lots of cinnamon). Crack of dawn, perched from my kitchen's barstool. Taking notes, plotting moves, looking through rough cuts and stills....and writing words. Overall, a great way to start a day.....

Here I am reading William Stafford's poetry collection with a delicious chai tea latte (with lots of cinnamon). Crack of dawn, perched from my kitchen's barstool. Taking notes, plotting moves, looking through rough cuts and stills....and writing words. Overall, a great way to start a day.....


the poetry hatch

The local school has invited me as Guest Speaker/Guest Poet to teach a workshop on poetry to a blended-grade classroom of seven and eight year olds. Winnowing down the poems is a struggle. Poem Hunter is a great anthologized site of the classic and modern poets as well as lesser known lyricists. 

So far, here is my list of top poems to read out loud before we break off into the activity phase, which will be set up as stations:

Daffodils, by William Wordsworth

The Drum, by Nikki Giovanni

Harlem, by Langston Hughes

Song of the Pop-Bottlers, by Morris Bishop

Stopping by Woods on a Snowing Evening, by Robert Frost

 

I want to talk first about the musicality and layering of sounds to make a poem. An unlikely musician will assist us in the journey into listening to layers. Most would select classic jazz musicians. But I like those esoteric musicians, who don't always get a global audience. Here is the Oxford-based musician, Chad Valley. His song "Fast Challenges" will start off our morning of words as music, words as imagery. Poetry is isolating our senses and then layering them. It will be a fun day.