I have been greatly honoured by a nomination from Ina (http://inaweblogisback.wordpress.com/ ) to participate in the Blog Tour. This is a journey through the blogs of poets in which each writer shares his or her insights into the hows and whys of their work.
I admire and have been deeply inspired by Ina’s poetry so for me this nomination is akin to being invited to leave the sand box and go skinny-dipping with the big kids.
The process of participation is to answer four questions and to nominate other poets.
1. Why do I write what I write?
I am a visual artist as well as a poet but wrote ‘poetry’ long before I made art. I still have poems I wrote as a teenager in England, endearing and precious to me but too embarrassing to share. I wanted then to be a writer but was discouraged. In the 1970s, after coming to live in Canada, I lived communally with visual and performing artists and writers. Their energy and work inspired me again to create. I began to tentatively write again and, for the first time make art. Many years later I studied visual art seriously, taking my BFA and teaching degree at the University of Victoria, British Columbia. Throughout this time I continued to write, most often inspired by the intense emotions of relationships, the challenges of poverty and hard times and occasionally by my art. I discovered that the poetic form of expression came more easily to me than prose and danced well with my painting. A 25-year career teaching art and raising a family took a toll on personal creative work and it wasn’t until I retired that I once more had the luxury of time to write and paint with any viable focus. Deep relationships, love and the loss of love through divorce and other agonies, existential questions and the paradox of spirit continue to inspire my writing. However, it wasn’t until I began blogging on Word Press that my art and poetry began to fuse. I now consider them to be almost a single entity.
2. What is my writing process?
Sometimes my art evokes the poem, sometimes the other way around. I work hard at both as I wasn’t born with inherent talent for either. On rare occasions an artwork or poem seems to slide effortlessly into existence but mostly I struggle/dance to reach an expression that resonates with integrity in head and heart.
For many years I needed the tangible reassurance of pen and paper to write. I still need to get my hands dirty making art, however, I now mostly compose poems directly onto my laptop. I enjoy the ease of editing on screen rather than scratching out and rewriting on paper. The work I publish in my posts I then save in the blog page I have created for this. But I write much that I don’t publish on the blog, very personal poems to people who are close to me.
I am an owl by nature and the moon is my mistress. My time is my own now and I like the silence and mood of deep night. This is my creative time.
3. How does my work differ from other genres?
I never consciously follow any form, classical or otherwise. I write as I paint, intuitively and open to the whisperings of the muse. However, having said that I admit that after the first draft given by the gods I read my words over and over, usually out loud, because I honour the tradition of poetry as spoken word. If it doesn’t sound right to me I rewrite and rewrite until it does. I have no formal background in poetry as I do in visual art. I confess that I often feel I am forever a beginner when I read the accomplished poems of writers I admire. But a beginner’s mind is not such a bad thing and I continue to grow. I do what I do because I must, as I must breathe and love and feel.
A dear poet friend recently wrote this about my writing:
“I admire that you so unabashedly put yourself out there. ….. It’s like it pours from the well of whatever is going on in your life and this is your language…rough, refined, complicated, colourful, lyrical, chaotic, luminous, dark…”
It is words like this that inspire and balance me and remind me that I am heard and do touch others. This is my genre and my passion.
4. What am I working on at the moment?
I have exhibited and sold my art but have never published. I have long contemplated putting together a book of my art and poems, hard copy or eBook. I slowly play around with the idea of this. I wander out there on the web looking for a shining portal but always get lost in the jungle. I understand that I need to work towards this on my own in a real way before I can submit to anywhere. I have developed enough confidence in my work through feedback from blogging and other friends to consider this as a possibility, now I just need to do the legwork. Meanwhile I paint and write with my next shared post in mind. My art and poems are born from love, a belief that magic is real and that anything is possible.
I initially hesitated at paying this forward as it reminded me of the blog award system that I abandoned some time ago. However, this is not an award, subtly different yes, but different enough for me to feel okay about the following nominations. In fact I am proud to share these poets who have filled my heart and head with sensuality, deep feeling, fascination, wonder and inspiration.
My nominees for this Blog Tour are five poets I admire very much. They are all very different in their approach to poetry. They may or may not choose to continue the Tour. I hope they do accept but in the end I understand that this is not what it is all about.
Carl, brilliant writer and poet sharing his dark challenges with words that pierce to the bone.
Ese, Empress of haiku, Priestess of sensual writing, Queen of the camera.
Jana, gentle explorer of who we are and why. Sensitive poetic and philosophical wanderings through deepest essence.
Mari, voice of profound and masterful poetic expression. Metaphorical searchings into the very heart of what it is to be human, in words and art.
Steven, amazing poet, artist, film maker…unique approach to combining words and images within the limitations of a blog…dream weaver.