Tag Archives: evolutionary creation

Words who walk by: what drives the universe…


More About Poets from the preface of First Stirrings

The poet is not the dreamer amongst us, whose head is in the fog of clouds, unable to face reality.

It is the crowd around him, walking past on the busy streets, in a hurry, driving their cars, working their machinery, watching their television sets in perpetual re-run who are asleep in dreams. Those of us who walk through our days repeating in our heads the dialogues of yesterday’s lunch meeting, last night’s encounter with a loved one, yesterday’s argument with a co-worker, or a parent, or a child; those of us who project into the future our fears and expectations, rehearsing scripts of what we are going to say whenever we get to where we are going, what we should have said, what might be said to us, what we should say in reply to that… It is those of us who are asleep.

Reality exists only in the present moment. The past and the future do not even exist, except as dreams, whether they be the dreams of memories or the dreams of anticipation.

It is possible that poetry in our western culture has been dead for many years, ever since it was first bludgeoned in Ezra Pound’s train station about a century ago. It came very close to death certainly when it was dismembered by well-meaning hippies who, unable to find the universe in a grain of sand, attempted to elevate that grain to mythic proportions and then scoured fields and bedrooms for anything minuscule and ordinary so far untouched with poetry or prose which they could celebrate in epic free style sagas and quaint, well-meaning haiku. It suffered its last gasp, I believe, at the hands of inept academics who, unable to create beauty themselves, derived their own derivative works based on the derivative works of previous academics who long to touch our souls as Shakespeare, as Keats, as Byron, as Williams, but sadly had only thumbs where their fingers might have been.

Thankfully, there are exceptions. And for those exceptions to the hoards, I can say with confidence that poetry is not quite dead. It is still in a coma, but still faintly breathing, on life support in the farthest back corner of of the bookstore, on the bottom shelf where the occasional hopeful student of a poetry workshop night school class still checks in to make sure it is still there. And it is beginning to stir.

But while poetry may be near death, the poet is very much alive. And therein lies our hope for our future. Make no mistake: this is what drives the universe. Unlike any other art form, it is poetry that can remind us to be awake to the present moment and nudge us out of our sleep-walking daily lives. Gently and carefully, certainly, because you can not just jolt a sleep walker from his daze.

Give it a try today. Step outside, onto the street and watch those who walk by. Watch their eyes as they dream about where they came from and where they are going, but have closed their eyes to where they are this moment. Watch their lips move slightly as they replay yesterday’s lines or rehearse their scripts for tomorrow. And then look around to see if anyone else is watching too, or even watching you. If he has a pen in hand and if you have difficulty focusing on his face, it could be the poet.

See if he winks.

by David Weedmark

Art:  Heel Bruise


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John Cleese on the Origin of Creativity

by Maria Popova

British actor John Cleese is best known for his comedic talent as one of the founding members of Monty Python, which makes his intellectual insights on the origin of creativity particularly fascinating. This talk from the 2009 Creativity World Forum in Germany is part critique of modernity’s hustle-and-bustle, part handbook for creating the right conditions for creativity.

“We get our ideas from what I’m going to call for a moment our unconscious — the part of our mind that goes on working, for example, when we’re asleep. So what I’m saying is that if you get into the right mood, then your mode of thinking will become much more creative. But if you’re racing around all day, ticking things off a list, looking at your watch, making phone calls and generally just keeping all the balls in the air, you are not going to have any creative ideas.” ~ John Cleese

Cleese advocates creating an “oasis” amidst the daily stress where the nervous creature that is your creative mind can safely come out and play, with the oasis being guarded by boundaries of space and boundaries of time.

Another interesting point Cleese makes is that knowing you are good at something requires precisely the same skills you need to be good at it, so people who are horrible at something tend to have no idea they are horrible at all. This echoes precisely what filmmaker Errol Morris discusses in “The Anosognosic’s Dilemma,” arguably one of the most fascinating psychology reads in The New York Times this year.

Curiously, Cleese’s formula for creativity somewhat contradicts another recent theory put forth by historian Steven Johnson who, while discussingwhere good ideas come from, makes a case for the connected mind rather than the fenced off creative oasis as the true source of creativity.

Maria Popova is the founder and editor in chief of Brain Pickings, a curated inventory of eclectic interestingness and indiscriminate curiosity. She writes for Wired UKGOOD MagazineBigThink and Huffington Post, and spends a disturbing amount of time on Twitter.

via Open Culture


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Everything is a Remix

“Remixing” has figured centrally in the Web 2.0 vocabulary. But, remixing isn’t new. It has a long history, going back as long as we’ve been making art. Artists have always been collecting material, combining it, and transforming it into something new. Kirby Ferguson’s new video,Everything is a Remix, teases this apart as he brings you back to 1960s Paris and London – to the cut-up literature of William S. Burroughs and the songs written by Led Zeppelin with a liberal amount of borrowing. This video, the first in a series of four, appears on Ferguson’s web site in a nice large format. Have a look and consider donating to his Everything is a Remix project.

from Open Culture

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