Wednesday, November 26, 2014

ERIC CHAT COMMENTS ON 'Here She Goes: A Collection of Micropoems' by Ram Krishna Singh

Poet friend Eric Chat comments on my selection of micropoems recently uploaded on  http://www.scribd.com/doc/246124871/HERE-SHE-GOES-A-COLLECTION-OF-MICROPOEMS

He writes in an email dated 27 November 2014:

"Ramkrishna -

I struggled to read your collection.  It's very sad, I suppose you know.  

I have often found myself with nothing I could think of, of any use, to communicate with anyone--& I try to restrain myself, then.  I want to write what I want to read, which is something that somehow enables.  I don't want to share misery, or emptiness.  

Sometimes, misery is completely undeserved.  Then, maybe, it's possible to locate, analyze, & illuminate its cause--that's useful.  Sometimes misery is a biproduct of having taken too good care to protect oneself from what courage would expose oneself to.  Of course, there's no point in exposing oneself to danger & suffering, unless for some good purpose, which is often difficult to figure out.  Then, there's nothing wrong with taking care of oneself--but, then, often there is nothing much to share, in terms of communication.  Then, if one has committed oneself, prior to the experience of one's life, to "being a writer," one feels the need to communicate, but can only share shallow sorrows.  I don't know what that's called in India.  Here, non-academics sometimes call it academic poetry.  I try to avoid it.

But I know that you are trying to use words to escape the very aridity I'm talking about.

I have sometimes found that writing quite a bit that seems to me empty--& keeping it to myself--sometimes, eventually, leads to something else, some surprising growth.  But then it's necessary to throw away what was just exercising, that allowed one to reach what's truly valuable--or so it has always seemed to me.  Even more so, I've learned to write very little when I don't know what to say that's of use, tho it frequently feels then that I'm wasting my life, not doing anything, & my life will end before I do anything.  Then it's necessary to do something other than "being a writer," which, it seems to me, is an immature idea anyway.  One is a being, a human being, in a variety of relationships, in the physical universe, a spirit & a body, a mortal, a citizen, in your case a teacher, an eater, sleeper, shitter, pisser, dreamer, analyzer--all sorts of things, & only a bit "a writer."

Then, occasionally, one knows something to write, that, if others wrote it, one would be glad to read it.  As I say, it is, in some way, enabling--helping to get past the very shallowness & aridity I've been talking about.

Again, shallowness & aridity are often not a bit one's own fault, but, still, one has to find ways to transcend it, then share those ways, if sharing, e.g., via words, is one's nature, no?

I think it's Basho who wrote the haikus in the 19th century, in Japan, in which he describe a pretty unpleasant life, & it's not my favorite work, but it has the merit of being a unique life, well-captured, as tho a series of photographs, not very many, & for a whole life, & a life stunningly different from that which almost anyone leads.  Tu Fu, in China, did something similar with slightly longer poems, describing his life that went wrong.  But it's certainly not shallow or arid.  And, in the USA, the Black blues singers often captured sorrowful states of being, but managed to communicate a kind of defiant strength of endurance & wit, using very few words, but also some melodies, rhythms, & expressiveness of voice that poets don't have the advantage of.

Lao Tzu has a poem, one of only 80-some that he left us (most of which are quite different), in which he describes himself as feeling lost, & feeling that everyone else seems to know what they're doing, but he doesn't.  It's a wonderful poem.  But if he'd said it 3 or 4 times, it would have been just whining.  

Likewise my favorite poet, Walt Whitman, often the most joyous of poets, sometimes communicates sorrow, & it's liberating to realize that someone who didn't just crawl thru life, was sometimes as low as one gets oneself.  But if he'd written so steadily, if he'd given us a steady diet of complaint, I would have no use for him.

I'm wishing you well.

Eric "

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