Monday, April 19, 2010

i always wanted to know this

i love this.

How To Be a Poet

by Wendell Berry

(to remind myself)

Make a place to sit down.
Sit down. Be quiet.
You must depend upon
affection, reading, knowledge,
skill—more of each
than you have—inspiration,
work, growing older, patience,
for patience joins time
to eternity. Any readers
who like your poems,
doubt their judgment.


Breathe with unconditional breath
the unconditioned air.
Shun electric wire.
Communicate slowly. Live
a three-dimensioned life;
stay away from screens.
Stay away from anything
that obscures the place it is in.
There are no unsacred places;
there are only sacred places
and desecrated places.


Accept what comes from silence.
Make the best you can of it.
Of the little words that come
out of the silence, like prayers
prayed back to the one who prays,
make a poem that does not disturb
the silence from which it came.

Source: Poetry (January 2001).

and then there's this:


  1. Thanks for both. Berry makes me think, Bukowski makes me smile, and feel a little sad for him.

  2. Great poem. The video was.....what cay you say about Bukowski? He's unique. Trying to write poetry this month has been a challenge, but it really enlivens me. I am beginning to see meaning and layers in things that I didn't before. When are you going to get back to it?

  3. I love the Bukowski video and although I don't quite agree with everything his says - his cynicism is awesome- I find it helpful, too. Wendell Berry's advice is wonderful. Thanks.

  4. I like your juxtaposition of Berry's silence and sacredness with Bukowski who wants to get up in your face with his poetry and make you Howl along with him. Lots of different ways to be a poet.

  5. Berry makes me think; Bukowski makes me smile and feel sad -- thanks for both.

  6. Berry makes me ponder,
    Bukowski makes me sad
    and wonder.

    Thanks for both.

  7. Here's some more advice from Bukowski:

    Somebody asked me, "What do you do? How do you write, create?" You don't, I told them. You don't try. That's very important: not to try, either for Cadillacs, creation or immortality. You wait, and if nothing happens, you wait some more. It's like a bug high on the wall. You wait for it to come to you. When it gets close enough you reach out, slap out and kill it. Or if you like its looks you make a pet out of it.

    --Charles Bukowski

    (Would it be cheating if I lured the bug by dropping a few crumbs on the floor?--KJ)

  8. june-your posts are poems-pretty sneaky! :)

    kass-i never stopped. that black hole out in space, absorbing everything in its path? that's my poetry, sucking.

    tag-that's what i keep reminding myself, when i read kass' brilliance and my black hole stuff.

    kirk-guess i'll just keep waiting, then. nope, i don't think crumbs are cheating. i don't what to use as bait to draw the poetry bugs.