Tag Archives: Eliot

ArtSunday: the nonlinearity of influence

“I’m interested in what motivates you, and how you understand the world.” He glanced sideways at her. “Rausch tells me you’ve written about music.”

“Sixties garage bands. I started writing about them when I was still in the Curfew.””Were they an inspiration?”

She was watching a fourteen-inch display on the Maybach’s dash, the red cursor that was the car proceeding along the green line that was Sunset. She looked up at him. “Not in any linear way, musically. They were my favorite bands. Are,” she corrected herself.

He nodded.

William Gibson, Spook Country

I’ve always been intrigued by the curious dynamic of influence. Read more

ArtSunday: Impressionism exhibit offers a lesson in tradition and rebellion

[An artist] should copy the masters and re-copy them, and after he has given every evidence of being a good copyist, he might then reasonably be allowed to do a radish, perhaps, from Nature. – Edgar Degas

I went to see the “Inspiring Impressionism” exhibit yesterday at the Denver Art Museum and came away struck by how remarkably it addressed questions of influence and originality in art, issues that have long been central to my own thinking and writing. As a poet, I’ve long been aware of the debt I owe the masters whose genius has shaped my own work, and if my efforts pale in comparison, they’re at least less meager than they would have been had I not spent so much time in the company of Donne, Shakespeare, Yeats, Hopkins, Wright, Thomas, and perhaps most especially, Eliot. Read more

VerseDay: The imperative of political poetry

I’m not a political poet. Not for the most part, anyway. I certainly never wanted to be one, and I had been writing for a number of years before this finally happened:

I don’t want to say too much for fear of being misconstrued
or maybe
for fear of being understood all too clearly

so here’s your warning –
flowers sometimes bloom quite literally,
unfurling in the dewfall to kiss
mother sky good morrow.

And sometimes wolves change their sheep
clothes for pinstripes.

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