Hosted a youth slam for @eastsideeducationaltrust this morning, then walked straight into a strike for schools…
“The mandate is to build. To make things. To produce, to work, to be paid, to live. To feel that one’s family has a chance. To feel that one might retire comfortably. To be free of fear. The mandate is to rebuild community — something that has unquestionably been lost as the traditional touchstones of self-location in society have been dismantled by the arrival of the future.”
A while back I posted a thought about three things each “artist” might need for their journey: a practice, a compass and a mirror. Mirrors are sometimes associated with an attention paid to surface detail or some sense of vanity, but I was pointing towards deeper reflection, taking the time out to check in with self. Time to be still and hear what the quiet, internal voice has to say. Time to balance out all that doing and just be. (at Greenwich Park)
Today: working with NUT teachers in Grantham. Agenda item 1: poems. Agenda item 2: poems. Agenda item 3: …you get the idea. (at Stoke Rochford Hall)
Inventing gods I can live with; specificity as self-defence (defining oneself through specific niche concerns); music. These are your three themes for writing today. Pick one of the three, or any combination, and write. (at Barbican Centre)
Spent the day working with these two – @lauriebolger and @raymond_antrobus – among others (Valerie Bloom, @adisapoet and John Hegley…), writing poetry with students from Great Yarmouth at UEA.
One of my current Spoken Word Educators is working with blind and partially sighted students, exploring the way imagery can be constructed in spite of the senses. I came across this feature and it made me think of her work…
To get the best view, sometimes you have to jump out of a plane.: File under miscellany.
“It’s a subtle difference, but that’s the whole point: English is an awfully subtle instrument. A dictionary that ignores these little shades is dangerous; in fact in those cases it’s worse than useless. It’s misleading, deflating. It divests those words of their worth and purpose.”
– In recent conversation about dictionary use with one of the young poets I’m tutoring, I came back to this post about the power of a good dictionary and, in particular, Webster’s 1913 edition. True, Webster’s defines American English, and I have yet to settle on a similarly enlivening British English equivalent, but the thought of a dictionary as a living repository rather than a graveyard is an appealing one.
In recent conversation about dictionary use with one of the young poets I’m tutoring, I came back to this post about the power of a good dictionary and, in particular, Webster’s 1913 edition. True, Webster’s defines American English, and I have yet to settle on a similarly enlivening British English equivalent, but the thought of a dictionary as a living repository rather than a graveyard is an appealing one.
I’ve been talking about Breaking Silence through a number of school visits recently, and taking the opportunity to reference the influence of Ralph Ellison’s Invisible Man on the collection. Came across this photo feature through the kind of serendipity that makes the internet worthwhile…
“In the swerve into some new possibility of mind, a poem with a window stops to look elsewhere, drawing on something outside of its self-constructed domain and walls. A window can be held by a change of sense realms or a switch of rhetorical strategy, can be framed by a turn of grammar or ethical stance, can be sawn open by an overt statement or slipped in almost unseen. Whether large or small, what I am calling a window is recognized primarily by the experience of expansion it brings: the poem’s nature is changed because its scope has become larger.”
The Song of the Earth, Jonathan Bate (Picador, 2000)
“There is only one passion which satisfies man’s need to unite himself with the world, and to acquire at the same time a sense of integrity and individuality, and this is love. Love is union with somebody, or something, outside oneself, under the condition of retaining the separateness and integrity of one’s own self.”
– Erich Fromm
“I’d like for us to learn to have a more generous and kind understanding of what it means to have a successful life, one that is not about individual accumulation of goodies, but actually about the transformation of communities. It’s bathed in humility. And it’s practical.”
– Omid Safi, via swissmiss | A Successful Life
Because sometimes you need to be in the presence of something that reminds you of how small you actually are.
“This one strikes at the heart of today’s culture and into the value of an empty mind — free from busyness and distractions. Martin believes that when you have an empty mind, you can see things when they come into it. Imagine the freedom of an empty mind — one not bound by to-do lists, meetings, work and the other muck we dump into it. When the mind is full our attention revolves around the meaningless. And yet attention is perhaps the most valuable thing we have.”
– Agnes Martin on The Secret of Happiness, via Farnam Street Blog