Writer’s Eye: That particular Muse


photo credit belonging to: Anderson Ulf/Gamma, via Getty Images

“…in poetry our motives are utterly similar to those who made cave paintings or petroglyphs, so that studying your own work of the past is to ruminate over artifacts, each one a signal, a remnant of a knot of perceptions that brings back to life who and what you were at that time, the past texture of what has to be termed as your ‘soul life.’” “It’s totally uncontrollable, you don’t have any idea when its going to emerge, and when it’s not going to emerge. I’ve never stopped writing it….You can put off a novel for a while but you can’t not write a poem because that particular muse is not very cooperative.”

The above exerpt, taken from the Wikipedia page of Jim Harrison struck me for its power and truth.

Poetry is a magnificantly barbaric tool- yet is as elegant and refined as the sharpest, most subtle knife. When you write poetry, you can’t write without first having an emotion. The emotions are signals that were already there…something inbred deeply into who you are at a spiritual level; yet, it is unquestionable that without stimuli, these signals would be overlooked.

Interestingly, for a form that is so obviously an expression, or liberation, of the soul, poetry is full of rules, conditions, and intricacies that make it much more complicated than it appears at its surface. The funny thing is, poetry is like an exclusive club where there are in fact no rules- just like how it appears to outsiders. However, you can only gain entrance to the club if you demonstrate the ability to follow the posted rules.

Inside, however, it’s a free for all. But there are no masters among poets- there are as many ways to convey a single emotion as there are words to describe them. You’re limited by nothing- not by form or structure or syllables- rather: these things liberate you as a poet.