Tuesday, January 26, 2010

The Magical, Manic Poets: Poetry as Right-Hemispheric Language

"If left-hemispheric dominance for language is not the ‘natural’ condition of human beings aged eight and older, but rather, a side effect of print literacy, then it stands to reason that the qualitative changes in consciousness between
oral and print cultures—from community identity, ‘magical thinking,’ pervasive animist spirituality, and poetry to individualism, science, and rationalism, faith-based religion or agnosticism/atheism, and prose—may be the outward signs
of a fundamental shift from right- to left-hemispheric structuring of conscious thought processes and memories.”

—Julie Kane, "Poetry as Right-Hemispheric Language," p. 16

Monday, January 25, 2010

On Not Being White: For Robbie Burns Day

The timing was perfect. Just on Robbie Burns' birthday, a lovely little package arrived from a small town in Scotland--the "Scottish lace panel" I had ordered from Ebay to filter the glare in my writing studio window. It's replete with red deer, Edinburgh Castle, and the word "Scotland" facing four different directions. What more could a Scottish American poet want?

Though i was raised with a steady awareness of my roots, I guess my coming-out as a Scottish American really started last year, as I was sitting in on the "writing about race" workshop we have started offering at Stonecoast due to student demand.

Monday, January 11, 2010

What is a Witch? What is a Poet? What is a Poetess?

When the first definition came to me, I was tired from the exciting rigors of a Stonecoast residency but had centered myself with water, air, and thought. I thought of it while driving to the Stone House to teach a workshop:

A witch is someone who is so sensitive to the energy of the physical world that they have found it necessary to cultivate (perhaps initially as a survival skill!) the innate human ability to notice and change that energy. (Starhawk put it more succinctly: a witch is someone who can change consciousness at will).

Sunday, January 3, 2010

Weathering the Work of Change: Marginalization in Popular Culture and Poetry

My cousin Charlie Finch, writer and Senior Critic for Artnet Worldwide, sent some words of advice in response to my recent post about Avatar: "I think one needs to tread very carefully when dealing with expensive cultural phenomena such as "Avatar" or Susan Boyle. These are cultural anvils dropped from on high with the apparent touch of a feather that are designed to manipuate our emotions and separate us from our wallets and our identities, so "caveat emptor.""