Friday, April 24, 2009

Kei Miller On Poetry

Great article here by Katy Evans-Bush containing ‘advice for a young poet’. I hope Claire at One Night Stanzas has picked up on this one!

The paragraph quoted from Kei Miller (from the excellent Iota magazine) is terrific, I think, although perhaps a “simply” would get over what I’m sure he means in this part: “poetry is never [simply] about what we say, it is about how we say it…” It's not only beginners who need to learn this, of course. I've read published collections and pamphlets where those basic points seem to have been overlooked. It’s also good to see someone (i.e. Katy) rip apart, with real style, the weird ‘Seven Steps to Becoming a Poet’ article from The Times.

Anyway, I want the Kei Miller quote here too, so:

“Now I’m not sure I can pin down three things young poets should understand – and certainly I can’t say it in any better way than such things have been said again and again: that we must read far more than we write; that poetry is never about what we say, it is about how we say it; that poetry is about making people feel things they’ve never thought before, because before our poems they never had the language to feel these feelings. And that is a huge kind of responsibility, to give people new access to their own selves. But these are big things to say, and some poets might understand the rhetoric but still never be able to do it. Perhaps such people aren’t really poets. That is a horribly damning thing to say, I know. Damning because it is so true.

“But it is a scary thing when you realise that you really can do poetry, when you realise what you are capable of doing to people through language. /So perhaps the thing I’d want to say to young poets who realise they can do it, that they can affect people, is simply one thing – don’t be afraid of yourself.”


Ms Baroque said...

Hey, thanks for this - yes, it's good, isn't it. And I loved his poem - the last of his poems, I mean - in this Iota.

By the way, the action on my post is all down in the comments now. Seems to have touched a nerve.

Claire A said...

Hi Rob, thanks for the little ONS mention. I have indeed picked this up and am planning to work it into a forthcoming post, sometime soon! Thanks though! C

Background Artist said...
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Background Artist said...
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Background Artist said...

Third (abandoned) Draft.

abhyde is word ver 1

Hello Rob,

Kei's right of course, when you know you can do poetry, it can be immensley frightening, because esentially, Poetry is a spiritual business, whilst liddle ole poetry, is conducted in a lower gas-chamber intellectually speaking, where mere mortal narrator entities flit, seeking to join the right cliques, knocking on a door our Imagination fabricates as spurious poetic Reality, in our best slacks and cord short-pants and hoodies, waiting for feral smiling hosts with polished lips, gambit and stratagem, standing next to s/he who is what we all long to become, the big P top nocks are and we unfortunately are not, i'm afraid.

When i say we, i mean of course, me and not you Boberto (who i have always been a fan of), because upper house is where Poetry's decided, like a sky before Gaia and Uranus mate to birth Mnemosyne, goddess of Memory and mother to nine muses who bestow their gift on whomsoever the gods of luck, fate, chance and jolly hard head-work on a course of bardic study, gift a ticket to their mama's side-shoot pool off the river Lethe we all must cross on our appointment with Charon once the force of corporeal life's gone mate, let me tell yer lah.

I think what Kei essentially states is a variation on the age old cliche uttered by all the greats - we must make it new, at fright speed,

yoll nu blabs and git stabs
knee and groanin below
the thwack,
find a tech-spec te git yall rowzy,

goo c'mon sag wok preen
vrr 'n grr, schlep
up to the choppin blok

and blud clop mohn.


Found of course at another tributary to the eternal source, for some reason poets find in water. Think, two of the most major and alembic collections of the last half decade - Oswald's moist Dart and The Drowned Book by O'Brien, from their deepest inward cistern, poems of wet, metaphysical lore, connecting ultimately of course, to a Seigas Well within all have, in reality Kildare - at Nechtan's faery sidhe (phonetica- shee) mound where Boann broke a geisa (or taboo) by walking counter to the sun around a water's edge and made the Boyne come to be, back when Chaos was the only god, before the Golden Age in Hesiod's Theogony had begun:

in the ippy iffy kinda eff off
'n givz a birra droogin,

letz go croizee mahn, flew hooo.

Their narrator's eye, fashioned
aqueous and removed, far, far
from authorial dabs

by the Tuatha Dé Dannan at Poetry Village HQ where poetry is *dan*, an Irish word for Art, from the above Dannan mob which means, People of Danu's Art. Danu being a pan European river goddess, Danube, Don and many more route to. Ultimately routing to the primordial Hindu water goddess Dānu, of Rigveda (compund word meaning praise-verse knowledge) the Vedic Sanskrit hymns and one of the four canonical texts of the Vedas, some of its verses still recited at spiritual events and among the worlds oldest Religious texts in continued use, since time immemorial, chaunted at the waters edge. So yeah, Kei is spot on da moany lah, correct, of course, as always s/he the Poet in the ollamh zone is Roberto my most cordially warm of fellow gassers in the triumvirate of me you and George - the only poets brave enough to leave comment moderation off, hey scarezobs?

exhitiza - word ver 2
ha ha ha !

(public-private joke cracked by s/he a narrator in this pome and in no way reflets any private thought of the public person Dizmahn Jah, duffer in the bluffer's order)

ya, ya, mmmm

free (virtual) hugs and lots of


Background Artist said...
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Rob said...

Um... Des, did you post that last comment to the correct blog?

Background Artist said...

i wondered what happened to that.