Tuesday, September 15, 2015

The Experience of Composing Poetry

I think of close reading as visualizing the human character who might be speaking the text, and how the text may record their process of thought to comprehend the universe.

And I would ask myself, how successfully does this text generate a vision of humanity in my mind? Does this character spring to life in a memorable way? Does their contemplation recorded by the text ascend beyond a jumbled mix of concepts and impressions and generate a transcendent vision that will glow in the minds of readers for a thousand years? If so, then the poem is a memorable text of code that generates a coherent vision of life and is thus successful.

Adam, Apollo, Achilles, Odysseus, Jesus, Hamlet, Lear. These names conjure characters whose sole existence resides in the seeds of the text of poems and stories from which they spring to life as if they were real human beings. They live in our minds as long as we read the text where their spirits dwell.

I don't know yet how successful I have been or not, but I tried to conjure dead Greek philosophers to life by composing an epic about their lives and ideas.

I have dreamed their lives and experienced the quest for truth in the action of composing my epic narrative poem about their lives. Then I will die. Whether anyone experiences the same or not is irrelevant to me as a poet. I grew beyond myself in the process of composing the epic, and experienced the joy of discovery.


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