Thoughts on the book
It’s been a while since I updated my cityscape musings. Been busy with rehearsals (for the show), which have been intense and rewarding, as well as the manuscript (of the book). Kalagora, the book of poems, is now ready and will be available from October 1st. Excited. Especially since it brings to fruition an extended process of development. The first poems of the book were written journeying through south India, followed by periods of life and travel in America. Back in 2004, I’d thought that it was ready, only to be told by an esteemed poet in the States that a lot of work still needed to be done. What followed was a period of unlearning, which lasted almost two years. I started afresh in the winter of ‘05, in a small little cafe in the old part of Glasgow, watched by a group of old ladies. Slowly, over the next year, a more concrete and personal writing style began to emerge.
Rilke has a line about poetry not being about experience, but being experience in itself. And this is not meant, I don’t think, in a hip postmodern sense of language as experience. Rather, it seems more in tune with experience as being spirit-based, somehow beyond language. Experience as travel. As seeing. Experience as emerging from recognition and difference. The net is thrown wide. I don’t quite know. But perhaps some of the better poems in Kalagora struggle with this (old) dramatic tension between the overload of language and the simple rush of life.
Over the years, I’ve always returned to a rather remarkable passage in Chuang-Tsu’s writings, an ancient Taoist thinker: ‘The fish trap exists because of the fish; once you’ve gotten the fish, you can forget the trap. The rabbit snare exists because of the rabbit; once you’ve gotten the rabit, you can forget the snare. Words exist because of meaning; once you’ve gotten the meaning, you can forget the words. Where can I find a man who has forgotten words so I can have a word with him?’ Loaded words beyond words. Magic.
The editing process over the past few months has been instructive. My editor, Tom Chivers, suggested tightening things up a bit, getting rid of poems, reducing the book’s length. Kalagora is more focused as a result. A first step in clearing my throat, learning to speak. For further details, please click on the link by the left-hand corner…
Posted September 18, 2010
Leave a Reply