‘I have a desire to encounter’

I’ve spent a long time now in an academic environment (2014 begins 18 years of identity transition for me from journalist to teacher/researcher). Nevertheless I’m still a writer (of many sorts and forms) and I still value, and want to hold in tension with the priorities of my work life now, the experience and creativity and unpredictability of writing. So when this commitment gets a bit wobbled — as it does with any encounter with journals, editors, peer reviewers, institutional bean counters, rating committees, etc — I often put myself into conversation again with artists, the people who are consumed by an alternate vision of what matters, so that it brings back into perspective the tightrope I’ve chosen to walk to hold onto this commitment. Continue reading “‘I have a desire to encounter’”

So onto… “Black”

Your encounter with a poem on the page (the black on the white) is like — or should be like — meeting a person, says Glyn Maxwell in the second chapter to On Poetry. And you should judge it just like you judge a person (Maxwell’s strong opinion is that if the poet doesn’t put something of themself onto the page, then what was the point, the point must be presence). But what follows next is somewhat surprising and gives you a whole new way of judging and weighing the poems you read and write.

Maxwell has four criteria (or “a word and four ways… of meeting, of meaning”, page 33): solar, lunar, musical and visual — you weren’t expecting that. Continue reading “So onto… “Black””