Saturday, May 19, 2012

"Poetry, U.S.A." - My latest Feature at Cheek Teeth

Damon McLaughlin
Please drop by Cheek Teeth, the mouthpiece of Trachodon magazine, for my latest blog feature, "Poetry U.S.A":

Someone actually had the nerve to say to me once “Poetry comes from a place: if you want to write poetry, go there.” This “Poet” was well-written, respected, and (more significantly) responsible for my grade, so I drove halfway across the States and back looking for “Poetry,” searching for it in the deep canyons of Utah, sacrificing my Celica for it with a deer in the Sierras, reading the deer hair stuck in my Celica’s grill for signs of a new direction. I drank forties of Mickey’s malt liquor on Mission Beach, hoping for a vision. Considering the advice of the “Poet” was metaphorical, I searched inward via Buddhist mysticism, solitude, veganism—each method as fruitless as the last. But all the while I was searching, I was writing and reading poems like my life depended on it, just as it depends on sex and breathing.

...continue reading "Poetry U.S.A" at Cheek Teeth.

Saturday, May 5, 2012

Brilliance, Brick by Brick

In the latest issue of The Writer's Chronicle, while discussing with interviewer Heather Sappenfield the difficulty of recording her thoughts on the fly, Bonnie Jo Campbell comments, "Generally, though, I've trained my body and mind to bring me insights in the morning, when I'm sitting down and writing, seven days a week. Other people, poets especially, get brilliant ideas continually, and they write them into their lovely little Moleskines. Maybe that's the difference between poets and fiction writers. Maybe a lot of us fiction writers have our creative lives more regimented. Of course that's a gross generalization, and I disapprove of such a broad claim, even as I stand by it."

First and foremost, how wonderful to think of myself as receiving "brilliant ideas continually"—a truer statement there never was!

I say this in jest, of course. Certainly poets and fiction writers alike—arguably all people—receive brilliant ideas only to have them fall by the wayside. This occurs for folks while in the shower, perhaps, or on the treadmill, or while gazing longingly at the mountains while on their way to work at seven a.m. The mind is a terrible mishmash of thought, and for every million quotidian ideas passing through, there must be at least one cerebral stroke of brilliance. Maybe I'm an optimist. I don't know. As a poet, and per Ms. Campbell's comment, I'm probably biased.