“Begin with something in your range. Then write it as a secret. I’d be paralyzed if I thought I had…”
- Louise Erdrich, via http://www.theparisreview.org/interviews/6055/the-art-of-fiction-no-208-louise-erdrich
“The hours between 12am and 6am have a funny habit of making you feel like you’re either on top of…”
- Beau Taplin || the hours between. (via exoticwild)
- Helene Cixous, The Book of Promethea (via stealingintolanguage)
“you have chosen a profession in which you put communication out into the world. In effect, you are…”
- Michael Bierut on The Great Discontent (TGD)
“Is there another form of communication besides email where the acknowledged goal is to hide all of…”
- Doomed to Repeat It — The Message — Medium
“In the last couple of years, I’ve been going through a process of un-education: removing all the bad…”
In the last couple of years, I’ve been going through a process of un-education: removing all the bad habits that school somehow implanted in me:
- Being afraid of failure or embarrassment
- Going after prizes and prestigious awards
- Avoiding stuff I didn’t know how to do
- Trying to get answers before fully considering the problem
- Being uncomfortable with not knowing
One of the signal qualities of children at play is their fearlessness. They’ll experiment. Falling over is fine.
Our system should be producing more adults with this same fearlessness, who go after what they really want from the start in rational, systematic ways. Right now, we tend to produce ‘answer-centred’ people who are terrified of doing things wrong.”
- Things I Despised About My Education— Nabeel Qureshi
“Altschmerz n. weariness with the same old issues that you’ve always had—the same boring flaws and…”
- The Dictionary of Obscure Sorrows: Altschmerz
- Edward Hirsch on this week’s Poets Glossary term. (via poetsorg)
“Among writers, there’s a cultural trope of love-hate for the starving artist/ adjunct existence – we…”
Among writers, there’s a cultural trope of love-hate for the starving artist/ adjunct existence – we talk about creative writing pedagogy and the naïve but lovable things our students say, and in our way we love the fringes of the great universities on which we develop as teachers and draw our paychecks. But just because we’ve made the choice to be artists doesn’t mean that we have to take whatever the world gives us. In a world where nothing is what we, or our teachers, could have expected, we must be unsentimental. “Kill your darlings,” goes the old saw. This must apply to the careers that keep us afloat as well as to our writing.
Whether we like it or not, today’s academic job market will create a huge cohort of professional-quality writers and artists who cannot enter that market. In fifty years, this generation of artists could be remembered as the artists who created the 21st century “blended career” – not the New York Times bestsellers or the art market’s 1%, nor merely hobbyists, but rather people who found fulfilling ways to feed themselves while reminding the world that art is not a joke.”
Via MFA Day Job.
Note to self: when you get a spare minute, continue to revise that document on paths of progression and career development for poets and writers…
Currently hosting #pbhfinals2015 this year’s Poetry by Heart finals. Ebony just read my poem ‘A Life in Dreams’. Still haven’t got used to hearing one of my poems presented in a national recitation competition. Good job, Ebony!
London (abstract edition, 06:25 remix)
“Throughout my years as student and professor, I have been most inspired by those teachers who have…”
- bell hooks; Teaching To Transgress
I’m currently in the middle of a manic period. A residential creative writing week at Arvon with a group of Year 6 students, followed by a day in Birmingham offering teachers tools and techniques for working with poetry (via the Princes Teaching institute), back to London to lead my Spoken Word Education seminar at Goldsmiths, then off to Amsterdam to support Poetry Circle Nowhere in constructing a development programme for their poet-educators, then back to London for another Princes Teaching Institute training day. And all the while, staying on top of the todo list, the email inbox, fielding phone calls, chasing up open loops, putting out fires, liasing with doctors on my mother’s behalf, talking people down from summits of stress, keeping everything moving forward, holding it all together…
Yesterday, two milestones. A showcase and anthology launch at the lead training centre (Cardinal Pole School) for the Spoken Word Education Programme, and a showcase/launch to celebrate the end of another year of Barbican Young Poets. If you’re a creative freelancer, you’ll know that our work often moves through emotional peaks and troughs. While you’re making/managing, the work often draws on you. But when you hit a milestone, when you can look back and see what it is that you’ve done; you can appreciate the balance.
It occurs to me that one of the key indicators of success in most (if not all) of my projects is love. Sometimes that love has to be nurtured from a small spark. But when it’s there, and it’s true, beautiful things happen. Love, and all its constituent parts: mutual respect, communication, interdependence, responsibility, forgiveness, care for each other’s well-being… So many of the poets I work with engage with the darker aspects of experience through their writing. But that darkness is transformed through love, even if only of the craft. And that love is manifest in the spaces we make and share.
Perhaps we can say our best work comes from love. And this is the kind of work I’m happiest doing.
"Meditate, padawan. Make mind like empty seat. People come, people go, the seat remains. The seat is not troubled by the bodies which sit in it. The seat is only concerned with being the seat."
Channelling my inner voice of wisdom on the train to Poole. Out of London for the day to extract poems from the minds of students at Corfe Hills School in Broadstone. BRB.
"Climate change sucks." @PeteTheTemp hosts a climate change demonstration/rally in front of the Houses of Parliament. Pete just happens to be one of the Spoken Word Educators (one of the programmes I’m currently responsible for). I just happened to be passing through the area. Serendipity is a beautiful thing.
Back in London. Just spent my afternoon talking about tools for working with poetry for teachers through the Princes Teaching Institute. Also just got asked to record a thank you to a teacher who inspired me. Mrs Jaekyll— you got your due.
Post-it notes. What did the world do before they were invented?
Currently working with Poetry Circle Nowhere. Nowhere is a cultural institution and development agency based in Amsterdam. We’re talking about ways of developing coaches who work with satellite Poetry Circles— communities of writer-performers…
02:30— wake up (thank you, body clock). 03:30— cab to Heathrow.
06:30— flight to Amsterdam.
?— pass out?
En route to Amsterdam to work with Poetry Circle Nowhere. BRB.