Tuesday, October 12, 2004


Estamos hablando en español y francès
mais on ne s'écoute pas, ni un ni l'autre:
     in our common language, we can't say "love"

Las palabras no tienen significado,
on se serve des gestes pour tout
     but miss the words for which there are none


Aisha said...

Lovely triple language poem -- with a wonderful paradox at the end.

MindFire material?


Peter Garner said...

Hi Aish,

Sweet of you to say, but this is/was just a little experiment and an attempt to practice my Spanish (I'm taking a beginner-level course this fall). I'm under not illusions that it's anything more than a cheap parlour trick at best.

Peter Garner said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Radish King said...

Ranger, Ranger, Ranger, every day I come here hoping you've removed the meager attempt etc. comment from your tag line. It makes me sad. You must believe in yourself.

Aisha said...

Oh but he does.

It is just the Canadian heritage from Britain: self-deprecation...
and his Danish ancestors teaching him the Law of Jante:
You must not think you are somebody!

We have it in Norway too. Deep down he is a cocky b---ard, quiet pleased with himself ;)


Anonymous said...

Aish, thanks for making me smile. Never heard of the Law of Jante, but of course, I know exactly what it is, my father being where he's from and (especially) who he is. And thanks for using a modifier with "b---rd"... better to be a cocky one than a plain one ;-)))

Radish King said...

Hiho, & thanks for posting the Thor poem. As far as the self-depricating stuff goes, I certainly understand it. I think, though, that such pronouncements are self fullfing to a certain extent, especially concerning something as tenuous as the creation of art/poetry. It is difficult work, should be, and it takes a great deal of fortitude to write, to expose work to others, even in a draft form. (I too, use my blog as a way of seeing new work, works in progress. ) I suppose I'm different in that I don't view writing as something outside me, as an external becoming internal. I'm not a conduit for anything. My poems are just my way of processing my life. To me, writing is not ego-less. I'm just not that good, as in holy, as in selfless. I'm not. But getting back to my original thought, I think as writers we must, first and formost, believe in ourselves. We have to. Otherwise why bother? When I read a comment such as meagre attempt or when anyone in my workshops prefaces their poems with "this isn't any good" it makes me cringe, and in the workshops I teach, it is a ground rule that NO ONE is allowed to trash his or her poem, or to complain about it or to depricate it in any way. We all feel that, I mean, we all doubt, especially with poetry, where we don't have a visible way of measuring success (publishing is so easy these days that it is no longer a way to measure, if it ever was.) We need all the strength and support we can muster. Thus, the idea of Blogland, the idea of an artistic community, which is how I view this (you and you and you) is so important. We can lean on each other a bit as we stumble through the forest.

Peter Garner said...

Hi Rebecca, What can I say: I agree with basically everything you say, including the part about not being a conduit (I never really liked the concept of "muse"). My problem is that I am torn by two conflicting drives--the absolute need to create and an aversion to the spotlight. Obviously, my training and career as a musician have forced me to overcome the latter to a certain extent, and even though we all dream of being rockstars, I know in my heart that I would never truly enjoy such a life. I know I can perform under pressure, but I'll never be a natural showoff. So I am content to let my work speak for itself (and even downplay its merits). If other people take some genuine enjoyment from it, that pleases me, but I have never felt that tooting one's own horn is the classy thing to do. Cynics might point out that this is all very nice but what's really going on is that I have a deep fear of rejection. Those people might be right, but I guess that's a part of my creative process that has yet to be developed (or maybe simply a hangup that I should see a shrink about...). Another angle is that I might (and I'm not saying I do, mind you) secretly aspire to Dickinsonhood--I'll just put this stuff in a drawer; I wrote it because I needed to, but no one else would appreciate it.

I think you know all this and have surely struggled with it too, but you're much farther along in the game than I am. So I can only say thanks for the encouragement. It means a lot. And I'll think about making the tag line a little more neutral.


Radish King said...

tooting one's own horn...sheesh, you brass players.
But tooting one's own horn is often necessary if you want to sell books, promote your work, get ahead, and I don't mean become Poet Laureate, but ahead according to whatever measuring unit you prescribe for youself. Unfortunately, people won't come knocking on my door to get a copy of my book, so I toot by doing readings, by supporting other poets (buying their books, attending their readings) in hopes that they will reciprocate. I think we can modest ourselves into extinction as artists. Having an audience is not my impetus to write, but it certainly is good to reach someone when I have something to say and it's wonderful to get feedback on our work. We crave that, or at least I do. I don't think there is anything wrong with admitting it. We had to be in love with our poems, even our lousy poems. It's our job to do so. And I think that deprecating one's own work is often, maybe almost always equal and proportionate to tooting one's own horn. In both cases, the work is being mentioned, is being dangled as a carrot for hungry horses to nibble. Okay, weird metaphor, but I'm not feeling so hot today. But in both instances we are inviting an audience.

I say, yes, absolutely, let the work speak for itself. Put it on your blog, let your readers (and I count myself one of your readers) take what they find there. Don't explain, don't complain. Go forward.