Monday, October 22, 2007
The Act of Making
There's been some ping-ponging discussion online in recent days about 'the act of making', thanks to a post on poet George Szirtes' blog where he's been responding to a controversial essay serialised in Poetry Review. The essay in question is by poet and Picador editor Don Paterson and is called 'The Lyric Principle'. Basically, it discusses how poetry is written, not so much in practical terms as in terms of our initial inspiration and the deep well-springs of the craft.
One of George's main objections - and I hope I'm not misrepresenting him here - is that he feels Don's attitude towards the craft to be too 'mysterious' and more like that of a high priest at times than a practising poet. I know exactly what he means by that, but at the same time, I don't see that it's such a bad thing to import a little more spiritualism and mystery into poetry in an age where poetry is being constantly sold to workshoppers as little more than a hobby or some sort of do-it-yourself therapeutic aid.
George Szirtes' excellent and discursive writing blog can be found here, along with links to other fascinating responses by bloggers and forumers to both his comments and the original essay by Don Paterson.
Thanks to Angela France for bringing this to my attention, by the way, via the Poets On Fire forum where she has been inviting others to comment on this too. You can view that topic as a non-member, but you do have to be a member of the forum to comment on it. (However, it only takes a few minutes to apply to join. Theoretically!)