Sometimes I feel really alone about my need and love for poetry. I have friends who are writers. And I teach so much good stuff. But still, you know what I mean? If I didn't have access to the computer on a daily basis I would barely get my daily poetry fix. I know I constantly pull this "I'm an only child"ranting and looking back over my recent blogs, it wouldn't take a psychologist to analyze my aesthetic loneliness. Is this just post-MFA? I hate to think I have to be in a workshop to feel as if I am a writer.
Much of the reason I pursued an MFA was to be part of a support system of writers. I loved every single assignment and class. I'm not saying I didn't learn anything, but being around writers who were consistently producing work and talking about it...well it was just what I needed and need.
On the back cover of APR's Jan/Feb issue is an excerpt from a speech Stanley Kunitz gave in 1994. I have read it over and over and will post some of the excerpt.
Poetry, I have insisted, is ultimately mythology, the telling of the stories of the soul. This would seem to be an introverted, even solipsistic, enterprise, if it were not that these stories recount the soul's passage, through the valley of this life-that is to say, its adventure in time, in history.
If we want to know what it felt like to be alive at any given moment in the long odyssey of the race, it is to poetry we must turn. The moment is dear to us, precisely because it is so fugitive, and it is somewhat of a paradox that poets should spend a lifetime hunting for the magic that will make the moment stay. Art is that chalice into which we pour the wine of transcendence. What is imagination but a reflection of our yearning to belong to eternity as well as to time?
Poets are always ready to talk about the difficulty of their art. I want to say something about its rewards and joys. The poem comes in form of a blessing-"like rapture breaking on the mind," as I tried to phrase in my youth. Through the years I have found this gift of poetry to be life-sustaining, life-enhancing, and absolutely unpredictable. Does one live, therefore, for the sake of poetry? No, the reverse is true: poetry is for the sake of the life.