In my opinion, many African American preachers and gospel music, as well as jazz, proclaim the spirit with words using words with spirit!!! Listen to some of THAT poetry – James Weldon Johnson, Thomas A. Dorsey, Yvonne Delk (google her!!!), Etta James,…then look at/read out loud, your own just-written (or thirty year old) poem. Just like anyone in the zoo, poets need to be fed, and, sometimes, we need to just lie in wait for our prey (Stafford’s “bonus of the world”) and at other times we need to be more aggressive in our hunt for the SPIRIT that enables the word to speak with surprise, love, death, hope, despair, (some would say “truth” but I say whose “truth”), hate, anger, passion (sexual and otherwise), compassion, peace, war, birth. I urge myself and other writers to be AWAKE and OPEN to the o-so-wild-spirit that rolls over in front of us or that we must spring upon without hesitating – even if we make a mistake – that’s why you might want to write with a pencil!!! And remember lines like: “At the river I stand, guide my feet, hold my hand.” – Thomas A. Dorsey
What are you reading? I have just finished reading Mark Doty’s, FIRE TO FIRE. Great book. Now reading Gish Jen’s, TIGER WRITER, print version of the Massey lectures she gave last year at Harvard. Really enjoying the book. She is an amazing writer, intellectual, and humorist.