Monday, 2 April 2018

Pearl Pirie : part four

What do you find most difficult about writing poetry?

Short Answer: The editing is harder than the writing but it isn’t the main difficulty. It is hearing the pen or inner voice out respectfully and curiously.

Long Answer: One difficulty is finding new parts of world and self to observe more keenly, more compassionately and understand more deeply and then convey in a way that can be felt rather than giving a lecture of summary notes, but to be with the reader as an equal. Part of putting process over elevating self as an authority is trusting that readers will engage with what you express, to listen loosely when you speak loosely, to listen carefully when you speak with care.

It is difficult to express oneself in words but it is harder to live optimally for yourself and for community and for wider social duties. That is the hardest part and the part that matters. As Leonard Cohen put it, “I’m grateful to get a poem. I don’t question the sources too carefully. For me poetry is the evidence of a life and not the life itself. It is the ashes of something burning well. And sometimes you confuse yourself and try to make ashes instead of fire.” (15:00, Tower of Song: A Memorial Tribute to Leonard Cohen)

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