Sunday, July 08, 2007

Monday Poetry Train #7

CRUCIFYTHE CRITIC





To write and not worry if all is spelled right,

To write and not think of the good and the bad of it,

To write and not judge, neither budge

A finger to backspace or erase,

Thinking only of white space,

Fingers flying like birds, to fill it with words-

With thoughts sublime or absurd,

With plots simple or complex,

With dreams shallow or deep,

With observations, inspirations, aspirations,

To make someone-if only me-laugh or weep,

To make their brows perplex,

To slake their verbal thirst

For soothing nouns and zesty verbs.

Wandering solitary in thicketed woods,

Wooing amid airy leaf-lace that enchanting face,

That muse, unnamed, neglected, un-embraced, until

That harassing harpy who begrudges-even sabotages-

The art of it, is banished from the heart of it.

So crucify the critic writer, and write!


This was the first poem, and still one of the few, that I composed directly on a word processor. This was back in the late eighties when I was going to college. Before Windows and the GUI that gives us the plethora of options we take for granted today. I remember thinking it was funny that I was writing about filling up white space when the screen was really black as tar with font that glowed either gold or green, depending on whose computer I was borrowing time on.

So you can see, I've been musing about the creative process for eons.

This was one of my earliest efforts at poetry that wasn't a class assignment. I'm sure the inexperience shows. I was in a playful mood at the time some of the lines came to me but that playfulness was overlaid with defiance. I was a mite ticked off at my nemesis, those harpies of perfectionism. I tricked them by pretending that I was just goofing around. It was just an exercise at learning to compose on the keyboard. I never took this one seriously. But I always get a kick out of it when I stumble upon it in my portfolio or files. So maybe its worth sharing.

In learning to compose via keyboard, I was attempting to follow the advice of one of my profs, Lawson Inada, who had suggested that the word processor might be the tool that could free me from those harpies and thus should be considered a necessity rather than a luxury. His comment was made after I had returned to class from a holiday break in which I had visited my family where I had used my Dad's Apple and tripled the word count of a short story I had been struggling with. I had turned the several hundred words that had taken me several weeks effort into two or three thousand words in just a few hours.

That short story became the seed for what I now call my Fruits of the Spirit Storyworld, that multi-generational epic, which I mention here occasionally. So I have a lot to thank Lawson Inada for. I wrote about him in my second Poetry Train when I shared Soul Mirror, a poem composed for his class. I'm going to just quote the relevant paragraphs from that post:

The first draft of Soul Mirror was written in 1986 for a college poetry class taught
by Lawson Inada who is currently serving Oregon as Poet Laureate.
I took a
creative writing class and a contemporary literature class with Inada while I was
attending then Southern Oregon State College now known as Southern Oregon
University.
If you have any time at all, please follow the links above to
get a sense of who Inada is as a writer, an American and a human being.

It would not be an exaggeration to say that what I learned about writing,
thinking, being, and me under Inada changed the course of my life. I cannot
imagine what going through the psychological and spiritual upheaval of 1992-1996
would have been like had I not learned how to let the reading and writing of
story help me think and write my way into a new story. One that neither left the
old story behind nor allowed it to chain my soul but rather carry it like a
precious gift.

8 tell me a story:

julia 7/09/2007 8:42 AM  

"To write and not judge, neither budge
A finger to backspace or erase"

These are important lines for writers/poets everywhere. And I loved "To make someone-if only me-laugh or weep"

The process part of creation is just as important as the dialogue that follows, when the creation is shared.

Ann 7/09/2007 9:41 AM  

"To slake their verbal thirst/for soothing nouns and vesty verbs"

great image, and a fun poem.

Lisa Andel 7/09/2007 2:16 PM  

"That harassing harpy who begrudges-even sabotages-
The art of it"

Call me perverse, but a specific critic came to mind when I read this. And yeah, I sort of do "crucify the critic" in a manner of speaking.

It helps. :D

Susan Helene Gottfried 7/09/2007 2:50 PM  

Mmm, to turn off the inner critic... what a luxury. Or a sign of great discipline; I'm not sure which.

Good one, Joy Renee!

Sparky Duck 7/09/2007 3:18 PM  

That poem reminds me of how i would describe my blog. no punctuation, whatever

Jenny McB 7/09/2007 4:02 PM  

Joy,
I liked your poem and enjoyed the story behind the words.
My favorite lines:
With thoughts sublime or absurd,
With plots simple or complex,

Rashenbo 7/09/2007 6:12 PM  

Love the poem! Ah the days of word processors! :) Thank you for sharing. Happy Monday.

Anna J. Evans 7/10/2007 6:10 AM  

I"m with Sparky, my blog is a place like this, where I don't judge....as much as I probably should! lol.

Great poem!

Anna J. Evans

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