Jack Myers / poetry / The Portable Poetry Workshop Project

The Portable Poetry Workshop Project: General Considerations – Creativity and Consciousness

Jack Myers states, “In studying the basis for human life, you would quickly see that nature itself loves to create.”  Taking a look outside my office window proves just so:  my lantana, merely leaves weeks ago, is robust with clusters of white blooms; the anthill just outside my patio looks twice its size from the time I last observed it; a spider has woven an intricate web upon the decorative door I’ve placed behind my wisteria bush.  Just this introduction to the chapter makes me want to write a poem.

But then, Jack pushes you off the diving board and forces you to the deepest part, the subconscious mind.  He talks about parts of the self and how they must “connect” in order to create.  He offers Wordsworth’s definition of poetry and goes on to say, “This state of receptivity that forms the atmosphere for creativity seems to be galvanized into action, many times on the unconscious level, by the power of suggestion triggered by our associations and powers of deduction.”  The first thing that comes to mind is his advice to me to always “read as much as I can, when I can” and to take time to “watch” the world.

This then leads me to think about the “definition” of poetry:  how many definitions are there, which one is most valid, what about its evolution, etc, etc, etc.  What is your definition of poetry?  Can one truly define it?  The poem that comes to mind when pondering this is John Ashbery’s “Paradoxes and Oxymorons.”  What are your thoughts on what this poem is saying? Megan Snyder-Camp suggests that “What I get, rather, is exactly what I need, which shifts with each reading.”   

“The poem is you.” – John Ashbery.  Now get to reading, and writing.  Watch the world.

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7 thoughts on “The Portable Poetry Workshop Project: General Considerations – Creativity and Consciousness

  1. For me, writing poetry is ultimately about not forcing the process. Now, that doesn't mean that I don't force myself to write poems, but my best poems, or the ones that I like the best, are usually written in less than an hour (usually around 10 minutes) and in one sitting. There is a sort of simple, delicate flow that results from writing a bunch of bad poems, which are usually quite entertaining. I find that forcing poems and playing around is like practice, and I believe there is beauty in what is rough, unfinished, and even just plain terrible. Because without the uncomfortable, annoying efforts that reach the crap climax, there can be no laissez-faire flow that results in a poet writing exceptional poetry.I wholeheartedly agree with Mr. Myers when he says,"The state of receptivity that forms the atmosphere for creativity seems to be galvanized into action, many times on the unconscious level, by the power of suggestion triggered by our associations and powers of deduction." It is certainly the other key portion of writing poetry, and I happen to think it is the most important part. For me, poetry features a dual culmination that results from the synthesis of the creative process and an unadulterated transference to the medium of one's choice.

  2. I agree with what Struckbylightning7times said. My best poems are written quickly in unexpected moments, when I'm on deadline for a journalism assignment or when I'm trying to clean my apartment. I love the beauty, playfulness and passion of poetry. Poetry is often short and fits in small moments of a day. It's an expression, a gift, a feeling or moment turned inside out. It wakes up a part of me that reality does not.

  3. I love both of your comments. Thanks so much for your feedback. I agree with the unexpected moments. Most of my poems come to me when I am driving or trying to go to sleep, of course. I've learned to keep a journal in my nightstand and the voice memo feature on my phone has been vital.I love your last two lines, Lindsay. Precious moments of a day, one's I like to keep to myself because not many would understand them.My best to you both, Andrea

  4. I love everything about this post and now I am coveting that book! Seriously going to check it out. I am sort of a newbie to poetry, but enjoying every new thing I learn. L.L. Barkat has been a huge encouragement and influence for me in that area. I don't know why we are afraid of poetry. It frees.

  5. Great post! So glad you linked it on plus so I could actually see it in the midst of all the other stuff coming in. I find it interesting to discuss what the definition of poetry is with my students. They will often say it has something to do with emotion. I find it harder to pinpoint exactly. For me poetry is all about the moment. A poem follows its own poetic logic which I don't think I can define 🙂

  6. I agree with you, Jessie, on the definition. It really is hard for me to put into words…by trying to "define" it, I sometimes feel I am limiting it…It just is.Glad you were able to make your way to my blog through plus, as it is still foreign to me. One step in the right direction.Thanks for your comments, and have fun with the remainder of your seminar this week!

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