Sunday, February 13, 2005

The Commerce of the Creative Spirit

This was posted on a listserv I belong to and I thought it was an interesting segue in light of Alberto's recent post on publishing.

Allen Ginsberg, on: 'Why the urge to submit leaves us, and for a good reason.' (The Gift: Imagination and the Erotic Life of Property, by Lewis Hyde)

"Premature evaluation cuts off the flow. The imagination does not barter its "engendering images." In the beginning we have no choice but to accept what has come to us, hoping that the cinders some forest spirit saw fit to bestow may turn to gold when we have carried them back to the hearth. Allen Ginsberg has been our consistent spokesman for that phase of the work in which the artist lays evaluation aside so that the gift may come forward: [Ginsberg] The parts that embarrass you the most are usually the most interesting poetically, are usually the most naked of all, the rawest, the goofiest, the strangest and most eccentric and at the same time, most representative, most universal... That was something I learned from Kerouac, which was that spontaneous writing could be embarrassing . . . The cure for that is to write things down which you will not publish and which you won't show people. To write secretly... so you can actually be free to say anything you want... It means abandoning being a poet, abandoning your careerism, abandoning even the idea of writing any poetry, really abandoning, giving up as hopeless--abandoning the possibility of really expressing yourself to the nations of the world. Abandoning the idea of being a prophet with honor and dignity, and abandoning the glory of poetry and just settling down in the much of your mind . . . You really have to make a resolution just to write for yourself . . . in the sense of not writing to impress yourself, but just writing what your self is saying."
Personally, I think you should write like this even when you are going to make submissions. It's the only way to go, kwim?


Stuart Greenhouse said...

Apposite Ginsberg's idea that the most embarassing is the most interesting poetry, I often find that what is most boring to you can e the best poetry you have to offer. Because it is what you have lived with so long and deeply, that you accept as reality, you don't find so flashy, is most yourself. So close, you don'teven think to be embarassed. Boring, like Brodsky's quote: "Boredom is your first intimation of eternity." Probably refers to the same material Ginsberg does, but different personalities will feel differently about said material.

Ivy said...

'Premature evaluation'? Hmm.

Peter said...

Hi Suzanne:
I love Ginsberg's sense of the unconscious and the spontaneous. How liberating!

Suzanne said...

Great point! And I loved this:"Boredom is your first intimation of eternity." Thanks.

You are tooooo funny!

That's what I loved about it, too. :-)