So many good intentions, so few blog posts. But here’s one.
At the final residency of my MFA program, one of the faculty spoke of wanting to live more like a poem asks her to live. I’ve been thinking about this a lot. These days when I read a poem, to the many other questions I ask it—How did you do that? Why break the line after “field”? Couldn’t you live without your last stanza? What made you say “spider” just there?—I’ve added this question: How, poem, do you want me to live?
Here’s a poem I’m living with lately: “I Would Like to Describe” by Zbigneiw Herbert, one of my dearest poets (forgive the somewhat clumsy images):
I think the poem asks me to live like this:
Use the right words. By “right,” mean accurate, precise, true, interesting, yours.
You will be uncertain.
The poem starts in your body.
Whatever it takes—run around like mad picking up handfuls of birds if you must.
Let it blur in you.
Regarding the white-haired gentlemen: unsubscribe.
Be amazed. Be infinitesimal.
You are of the earth.
I might be wrong about all of this.
To put it another way: so is blurred / in me.
What poem are you living with these days? How does it ask you to live?