Come Close Again III

Dust.

A soft landing…

Who would have thunk

this white sand

might be a catchment

for a dream beyond

the boundaries.

Why do we live happily

within silly confines?

I do not know.

But look, look!

It is so!

Postscript: I recognize every Shakespearean scholar will piss on this post, my daring to say look, look, so offensive to their domain. But really: Look. Look!

Out Sick 🥵

The second round of the shingles vaccination hit me like a ton of bricks. Going to put things down here and plan on returning Friday morning.

Promise to catch up with all your amazing content over the weekend.

If you really would like something to read, Try /ˌənəˈkwivək(ə)lē/. It’s a poem from before things kind of took off here. The menu also points to content that is pretty much unseen, if you look for it 😉!

Commonplace Capers, No. 01

Reflections on a variety of things: aesthetics, poetics, ethics, ecology, techne, and whatever else you might want to talk about

Preface

Catching the tail of the dragon is the most difficult part. Having the strength to hold on is irrelevant. When you eventually lose your grip, you will be tossed away in a most spectacular fashion. A poor metaphor for the creative process, I know, but it seems to fit my experience.

These installments, these Commonplace Capers, are meant to explore various strategies and perspectives that have supported my creative journey, with the hope that sharing might be useful to creative folks like yourself attempting to grab hold of the elusive tail.

The Beat poet Robert Creeley espoused a poetics of the “commonplace,” celebrating, as he so amazingly did, the ordinary. Has there been anything closer to Shakespeare’s Sonnets than Creeley’s For Love?

Though the slim volume by Tom Clark never seemed to gain much headway (Robert Creeley and the Genius of the American Common Place), it certainly has been a major influence on my practice. The conversations between Bob and Tom seem to make public the interlacing poetic ideation that often remain cryptic/frozen in the dozen or so volumes of the Olson/Creeley Correspondences, published by Black Sparrow back in the day

It is difficult to encapsulate Creeley’s genius, but let me just point to his description of lint as a possibility.

So these Commonplace Capers… As they unfold they might provide some insight into the creative process unfolding at Krater Café, and if really lucky, some unknown sources of material for you, material which has shaped and formed this journey.

Alan Ginsberg’s Form for the Haiku

Thanks to the guidance of David [ben Alexander] at The Skeptic’s Kaddish, I’ve been led back to an engagement with a short poetic form that has been described as the American haiku. Alan Ginsberg set down this alteration of the Japanese Classic form as The American Sentence.

As David clarifies:

  1. Composed in one line;
  2. Syllabic, 17 syllables;
  3. Condensed, written with no unnecessary words or articles;
  4. Complete sentence or sentences;
  5. Includes a turn or enlightenment.

As I have been engaged in crafting these over the last month, I thought it could be useful to comment on what I find so attractive about the form.

Bringing Olson’s Poetic Triad to Ginsberg’s Form

Charles Olson had a Trinitarian bent to his poetics. The more accurate definition would be triadic.

Throughout his notebooks and in the marginalia of the books he adored, you find these three words together, repeatedly:

typos, topos, tropos

The aim here will be to consider in broad strokes the value of these categories for the creative process, and specifically how it can be applied to the crafting of The American Sentence. It will not be a deep dive into the fascinating world of Olson scholarship.

The Blow

Typos, or type, appears in the most general use of any categorical identification, but also in the rigorous definitions of personality types, and the cultural foundations Jung defined as the archetypes. Olson certainly had these broader definitions in play when he approached this principle. But he also took it in a surprising, visceral manner.

Olson wrote on a typewriter, and he was sensitive to the striking of the keys placing ink to paper. The type was formed by the pounding of each key across the ribbon to the paper, like the blow of a blacksmith’s hammer.

So, what to do with this for these American Sentences. I guess, at least currently, I put this into the realm of character, as in type-casting.

Where are we?

Topos, like its embodiment in the word topographical, designates place. Where are we? Where is this? Does our creative output make this clear?

In many ways, I am a lax in this sphere, as I find the location of things to be the basis of my craft. Where you ask? Here.

A Twist?

Tropos, as in tropical, calls our attention to the turn of the sunflower to face the sun. For me, the changes in time as explored in a text like the I Ching are precisely what this twist is all about. The energy needed to turn the page, this is tropos.

While I have spent more energy here exploring typos, all three of these poetic frames are in my head when I construct An American Sentence. The type, the place, and the turn… If you can get these to manifest in 17 syllables, then that’s a thing done !

Confession, a postscript

OK. I cheat. Both the titles and the imagery in my blog posts provide false support and undermine what purist practitioners of this form do with letters and punctuation alone.

That said, this cheating of mine is meant not to diminish the value of the form properly practiced, but to aid my goals publishing works of images and words within the blogging format.

Would you pass the salt?

Gratitude and a Peek Ahead

Krater Cafe Logo

A bit of a departure, as I want to take the time to express my gratitude for those that have been viewing my work and provide some context to what has been unfolding on Krater Café.

At the end of the summer, I made a commitment to invest in the creative posture I want to take from now on. I spent a month reviewing my options. While the return to WordPress was an obvious choice (I was never interested in setting up shop on a social media domain), I could not have anticipated the value in deciding to go with a WordPress.com site. The built-in value of community that I had been blind to over the last fifteen years has been amazing.

I decided I would spend three months heavily invested in posting and learning about the ecosystem of bloggers connected in this space, in preparation for a launch in 2023. Things have exceeded my expectations – a hundredfold. No exaggeration.

The pre-launch phase is coming to a close and the variety of experiments I hoped to run have taken place. This included watching what would happen if I did not post for a few days. The allure of building traffic was hard to resist at times, but moving toward launch next week, I am glad I have sorted through those distractions and remain focused on what matters most to me: a daily creative engagement.

As I make the final preparations of how I would like to proceed with this venture, I wanted to announce a few weekly features that will be new next month to go along with The Amplification Effect.

  • Krater Café Mixers, a podcast, about 20 minutes in length, with a guest writer/artist/activist each week.
  • Deep Cuts from the Creative Blogosphere, featuring two blogs reviews each week: one will have a visual arts focus, the other writing.

More than anything, as we head into 2023, I look forward to the amazing stream of creativity flowing from the blogs I read on a daily basis. It’s truly inspiring. I look forward to engaging with all of you in deeper and evermore interesting ways over the coming months.

What would Sekhmet say?

When pondering the cataclysmic loss of biodiversity, the rapid increase in climate related weather catastrophes, and the threats posed by emerging pandemic cycles, our general malaise would indicate that our cultural forms, which typically place humanity at the center of creation, fail to have access to the resources and creativity needed to generate a new path forward.

Will more computation power and data collection bring about innovative solutions? Or will those answers emerge from the dark depths of our collective inheritance. As Jung would put it, the earth has a soul.

I wonder, “what would Sekhmet say?”