Learning From the “Masters”

Personal, Prose

Edit: I fucking hated poetry again for a short time lately, I forgot its value, I looked on it as a poor excuse for a few chatted sentences, and then, again, Dylan Thomas saved me and my sense of poetic value, of betrayed and crushed romance, breathing under the boot in rebellion.

I’ve been watching a couple of documentaries on distinctive artists recently: (google image them if you don’t know them) Francis Bacon and Stanislaw Szukalski. And while their personal moralities and lifestyles may seem, may in fact be, highly problematic to most people, you have to admit they have a talent for creating evocative imagery. I mean images that aren’t just what they seem. Images that refer to other feelings and experiences in the viewer, about which the artist probably only had a distant inkling…some feeling based on their own understanding of how deeply the image effected them on their imagining it, or the parts of it. I mean these images startle something crawling around in your head and in your body. Creatures climbing the ladder of your spine etc.

So I’ve decided I need to try and put some more of that into my own use of imagery in the poems. These guys from the documentaries go to town imagining and communicating what they’ve imagined. Lately, I’ve just been wanting to produce something that a reader somewhere might like. And I don’t think that’s the way to go about it. I still firmly believe you need to have a sense of what different readers think of your work, and that you need to interact with your readership, but you can’t really let them determine what you’re making. They can help with formulating the ideas that inform your creative work, but the work itself, unless you’re starting it as a collaboration, has to be yours. From your own private brain workshop, manufactured using the tools of your emotions, instincts, your fingers, your sweat. With art anyway. With that kind of art that you immediately say is “art”, because it’s so fucking artsy.

I guess that’s not always what I want to write/make, actually, now that I think about it.

There are exceptions, but work that comes from your soul really seems to be work that’s worth the creation going into it and that’s worth people seeing it.

At the moment I’m at a bit of an impasse. Whenever I try and start out on something new I get caught not knowing whether to go for smooth shapes or hair and dirt and rough. Maybe both are the way to go. After all, how can you really talk about one without having the other at least as a reference point, if not an immediate contradiction.

I’m trying to put aside time and space to dream out landscapes. This is something I used to do regularly when I was more of a romantic, and when I engaged less with the world anyway. I’d hide away from my surroundings even as they encroached on me with increasing meaning. I was the kid wandering on his own or standing in the group not saying anything and clearly daydreaming about something else. And that fed nicely into weird and extreme romantic landscapes streaming through my head…but being at school and stuff I never really spent much time fleshing those out into words. Or pictures I guess.

Since some harsh but enjoyable waking up to reality I’ve cut myself off from that place for a while, and now it feels like the right time to scavenge there for remnants, time to rebuild some clearer sense of romance again…I mean the passion’s bled right out of me. I need to rediscover the source from before and approach it again, with more care and self-knowledge this time, and use it for the poetry. For the sake of the poetry.

Yeah. So that’s what’s happening with that.

Also if I’ve not mentioned it before then have a look at this: https://hackhastings.home.blog/. It’s the other non-poetic project I’m working on at the moment and will occasionally show some of my writing that’s not turning up anywhere else. Also various other Hastings locals doing their thang. Check it out.

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