[lit-ideas] Re: Poetry and Madness

  • From: "Lawrence Helm" <lawrencehelm@xxxxxxxxxxxx>
  • To: <lit-ideas@xxxxxxxxxxxxx>
  • Date: Fri, 22 Sep 2006 09:23:54 -0700

For reasons unclear some notes don't make it to my inbox.  For example,
David Ritchie's poem didn't show up until this morning, but Irene saw it
yesterday because she responded to it.  And then I posted a poem this
morning which didn't show up.  I don't know if it is just my server or if
others have a similar problem but since the poem was in response to Irene's
request; I'll post it again here:


The blowing of glass


You wish to make a glass sail

Thinking you've mastered the boat?

I once leaned over a rail awash.

We were beating into the wind

Taking each wave over our bow.

I would have said now look

At the tautness of your task.


If you could see through spray

Hitting your face till your eyes

Bled salt blurring your vision,

Then grab hold with your mind 

And let it swing you to each

New direction and you might

Eventually run before it.


It must be nearly shear

From mast-top down 

To its cleated-sheet and reeling

Against the ocean's feeling;

Buoyant as you hold it

Looking out its portal

Glistening full of your seeing.






From: lit-ideas-bounce@xxxxxxxxxxxxx [mailto:lit-ideas-bounce@xxxxxxxxxxxxx]
On Behalf Of Andy Amago
Sent: Thursday, September 21, 2006 7:25 AM
To: lit-ideas
Subject: [lit-ideas] FW: Re: Poetry and Madness


"Not so smart and not thought through and stubborn is arguably a combination
that may resemble madness; it's also not a bad definition of ideologue."


I meant, of course, the neocons.  


I loved that poem by Robert Paul.  I never quite got it how poetry writing
is done.  Lawrence, how did you start writing poetry?  I have an idea.  Can
someone teach me to write poetry?  I was in the polar bear class in the back
of the room, so imagine the rewards.  What say?  Step number 1 in poetry
writing is to:  .  Okay, well, never mind.  I'll bet there's a Dummies book
on it anyway.    



Ogama Ydna

School of Expiration



One might have talent with words or shapes or numbers, but one learns to be
a poet or artist or musician.  If Mozart had been adopted by a shipbuilder
and not had a father who pushed him into music, would he have become who he
was?  Berryman was an alcoholic.  His father was allegedly killed by his
mother, or something along those lines.  In other words, a very poor
childhood.  He was a very needy person, hence the alcohol.  He killed
himself about a year after he gave up drinking (if I remember correctly).
I'm of the opinion that madness is not necessary for great art.   It seems
contradictory that one can be mad and still have the wherewithal to concern
one's self with meter and rhyme and structure and images.  I think what most
people consider madness is really emotional pain.  Also, how do you explain
people like Jane Austin, Alexander Pope?  Madness is unfortunately reserved
for politics, and not always so controlled ...  Even there, we need to
define madness.  Sociopaths such as Stalin was, are not mad.  They're
usually charming in fact.  People who are truly mad by definition don't
function at a high level.  Not so smart and not thought through and stubborn
is arguably a combination that may resemble madness; it's also not a bad
definition of ideologue.



----- Original Message ----- 

From: Lawrence <mailto:lawrencehelm@xxxxxxxxxxxx>  Helm 

To: lit-ideas@xxxxxxxxxxxxx

Sent: 9/20/2006 8:47:59 PM 

Subject: [lit-ideas] Poetry and Madness



So the trick for the poet, it seems to me, is to cultivate the madness in
such a way as to wring decent poetry out of it without letting it gain







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