Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Why We Read

"We read to find ourselves, more fully and more strangely than otherwise we could hope to find." 
- Harold Bloom

What are you reading right now that you're finding yourself in?

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Poetry Pairing: Let's Go For a Swim

Ploughshares' Spring 2012 issue is a stunner. From Jamie Quatro's story "Sinkhole" to Andrew Meredith's nonfiction "The Removers" and I can't leave out Mary Jo Bang's poem "Practice for Being Empty," this whole issue is a fire giving life to a tired campsite.

Lauren Groff's essay "Swimming: A Plan B Essay" is a brilliantly written piece comparing the process and passion of a swimmer with that of a writer. Groff writes, "Full immersion, of course, is the highest level of anything." If this essay doesn't inspire one to write, I don't know what else can. I hope you are as moved by it as I am. This one's going on my office bulletin board.

Bob Hicock's poem "Learning to Swim" came to mind when reading Groff's essay. Learning to swim is finding one's salvation, no matter how you look at it.

Is there anything else you'd pair either of these pieces with? What do you think is the most compelling part of Groff's essay?

Thursday, July 5, 2012

The Shadow Artist Emerges

Conclusion of A Poetry Handbook by Mary Oliver

I've been a "shadow artist" too long. It wasn't until I began reading The Artist's Way by Julia Cameron last week that I discovered the name for it:

"Artists themselves but ignorant of their true identity, shadow artists are to be found shadowing declared artists." 

"Creativity is play, but for shadow artists, learning to allow themselves to play is hard work."

The good news is, I've been working on emerging from the shadows, but I'm not out yet. I still have some work to do. It's one day at a time. Here are some lines from this inspiring book that are helping me to move along in the direction I know I want to go:

"Progress, not perfection, is what we should be asking of ourselves."

"Lighting illuminates." 

Art is faith. I'm a believer.


What is art to you? How have you emerged from the shadows?

P.S. Did you know Poetry's July/August issue is online for free right now? Yes, it is! Go read it! I especially like Tony Hoagland's poem "There Is No Word."