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POETRYETC  March 2006

POETRYETC March 2006

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Subject:

Re: Inspiration

From:

Andrew Burke <[log in to unmask]>

Reply-To:

Poetryetc provides a venue for a dialogue relating to poetry and poetics <[log in to unmask]>

Date:

Tue, 14 Mar 2006 09:44:39 +0800

Content-Type:

text/plain

Parts/Attachments:

Parts/Attachments

text/plain (106 lines)

Everytime I say 'I don't believe in inspiration', it comes back and clobbers
me. Once I said it, and woke at 2am to scribble on the back, the flap and
the insides of an envelope. When I typed it all up later, it made jumbled
sense, so I stuck to one subject - Sitting Together - and dropped all that
didn't fit that theme. The detritus was exactly the same length and 'shape'
as the kept poem - and it was all on the theme Sitting Alone. I had written
two poems at once, jumbled, out of my sleepy-time head. Is that inspiration?
It sure ain't conscious planning!

Another time I wrote a little lyric for my toddler son, Angels for Charlie.
It came out like a breath, and I didn't change a word. My daughter wanted
'her poem', so I dutifully sat down and spent some days working on a poem
for her. They were both published, side by side,. in the same mag, but
anthologists have invariably gone for the Angels for Charlie poem. It simply
lifts off the page better: it was 'inspired' whilst the Alice poem was
laboured.

But I do teach students to keep working at their writing everyday because
that way when 'inspiration' or 'the muse' or whatever comes to call, you'll
be ready, you'll be able to get it down with the technique and style of a
constant perfpormer, not a Sunday dabbler.

My thoughts only. Just rambling. Now off to eat (my stomach is inspired).

Andrew
----- Original Message ----- 
From: "Caleb Cluff" <[log in to unmask]>
To: <[log in to unmask]>
Sent: Tuesday, March 14, 2006 6:28 AM
Subject: Re: Inspiration


>But on the other hand, I'm never happier than when I'm working
hard on something. I don't know if that's inspiration, though.

That's the thing... if I work hard enough at it (and there's the key), then
sometimes it's as though it shifts to a different plane. It's not
inspiration I think, more like the body relaxing, the conscious backing off
a bit. And then it starts - occasionally.

>I do know that when I am writing well I feel much more mortal, much more on
the edge of
things, much more aware of the fragility and vividness of things:

Fragility and vividness, and no ideas/ but in things...
-----Original Message-----
From: Poetryetc provides a venue for a dialogue relating to poetry and
poetics [mailto:[log in to unmask]]On Behalf Of Alison Croggon
Sent: Monday, 13 March 2006 5:49 PM
To: [log in to unmask]
Subject: Re: Inspiration


On 13/3/06 10:05 AM, "Caleb Cluff" <[log in to unmask]> wrote:

> I don't know what it is; but when it's there, sometimes it's not me at
all.
> It's as though someone else has moved inside me. I just wish they'd stay
> longer. I like them so much better than me.

Whatever that person is (Borges' wolf/other?) my commoner feeling has been
relief when he/she leaves me alone; sometimes I think it's like a
disability. But on the other hand, I'm never happier than when I'm working
hard on something. I don't know if that's inspiration, though.

I am suspicious, like most people, I suspect, of the notion of inspiration,
that romantic cliché of wild-eyed poets clutching their pale foreheads. I
think it's both more banal and more mysterious than that. I do know that
when I am writing well I feel much more mortal, much more on the edge of
things, much more aware of the fragility and vividness of things: I suppose,
more alive, more aware. And because of that feeling, you can be forgiven for
the illusion that it is something that comes from outside.

On the other hand, the last poem I wrote came to me while I was doing the
washing up, line by line by line. I would put down the cup, go to my desk,
write down the line, wash another couple of things, and repeated that until
I finished the poem. It was all very undramatic, lines quietly floating up.

Best

A

Alison Croggon

Blog: http://theatrenotes.blogspot.com
Editor, Masthead:  http://masthead.net.au
Home page: http://alisoncroggon.com

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