A Literary Meme to Begin the New Year
Other than breathing, eating, and making love, writing seems the most natural thing for me to do. According to The Gospel of Thomas , "Jesus said, 'If you bring forth what is within you, what you have will save you.'"I believe that. I believe each person on this earth has a natural gift that s/he is born with and s/he has come here to express that gift.
But some of us lose faith because we allow others (more in the next few weeks on this) to convince us that we will never be able to breathe, eat, or get the opportunity to make love to anyone if we follow that gift. So, we abandon our natural gifts for money and/or to gain power. This is how we hurt ourselves, our family, and our community. We succumb to fear and instead of creating a paradise, we create a wasteland.
What is your favourite poem? You know, the one you'd have loved to have written, the one by whose standard you base all other works of art. If your life depended on answering this question, what poem would you suggest to the person holding the knife to your throat?
Question three: According to you, what is the state of poetry today? Is poetry flourishing or dying?
Writing from South Florida and the Caribbean is vibrant and healthy. Twenty years ago, it wasn’t like this and I had my doubts. But look at what The Caribbean Writer, Calabash, and the Miami Book Fair International have done and you will have a good idea of the growing number of writers and readers.
Question four: What kind of poetry (or literature) do you dislike, and would not consider buying?
I am a poet and anything that I write must be a poem.
I have written X.
*By careless I mean a writer who does not consider either the connotative or the denotative values of words or relies purely on sound or sense.
Question five: Between the styles of Come (by Makhosana Xaba) and word speaks (by Kojo Baffoe) which do you prefer? Care to tell us why? Obviously, Makhosana and Kojo aren't required to answer this question.
Question six: What was the last poetry book you bought?
Question seven: Where do you go for poetry on the web?
Question eight: Do you talk poetry (or literature) with friends and family? "Hi honey -- Hey, I read this incredible poem today.
I talk to many people about poetry, fiction, film and art. The regulars are my wife; my brother-in-law, Frank; my kids (we just saw Children of Men and we can’t stop talking about it), and my mail carrier, Eladio. Last Saturday, Eladio and I had a great conversation about Eliot’s poem, “The Hippotamus,” Derek Walcott’s, Dream on Monkey Mountain, “The Communion of the Body in Caribbean Literature." and he offered the most lucid interpretation of my short story in Twelve Poems and A Story for Christmas that I've heard or read: "Nothing frustrates a father more than a child who refuses nourishment." He did most of the talking. I just listened.
Question nine: What one piece of advice would you give to a beginning poet (or writer in general)? What would you tell them to do or not to do?
I’d tell them to read John Baker’s blog.
Question ten: What line comes to you after the following two verses (in other words, please write the third verse -- these are spontaneous lines from me and are no part of any poem I'm writing or will be writing).
When the light from the lantern
beamed and fell upon the child,
she drew the sheets over her eyes.
I hope I’m not being careless, but spontaneity only works in the first draft of any work. The rest is revision.
In the spirit of the meme, I am tagging Fragano and eemanee