Thursday, April 17, 2014

Keats and Lacarrière on Stripping Conditioning

As to the poetical Character itself (I mean that sort of which, if I am anything, I am a Member; that sort distinguished from the wordsworthian or egotistical sublime; which is a thing per se and stands alone) it is not itself - it has no self - it is everything and nothing - It has no character - it enjoys light and shade; it lives in gusto, be it foul or fair, high or low, rich or poor. . . . It has as much delight in conceiving an Iago as an Imogen. What shocks the virtuous philosopher, delights the cameleon Poet. . . . A Poet is the most unpoetical of anything in existence; because he has no Identity - he is continually in for - and filling some other Body. . . . I am ambitious of doing the world some good: if I should be spared that may be the work of maturer years - in the interval I will assay to reach to as high a summit in Poetry as the nerve bestowed upon me will suffer. . . . All I hope is that I may not lose all interest in human affairs - that the solitary indifference I feel for applause even from the finest Spirits, will not blunt any acuteness of vision I may have. I do not think it will - I feel assured I should write from the mere yearning and fondness I have for the Beautiful even if my night's labours should be burnt every morning, and no eye ever shine upon them. But even now I am perhaps not speaking from myself: but from some character in whose soul I now live. - John Keats

No knowledge, no serious contemplation, no valid choice is possible until man has shaken himself free of everything that affects his conditioning, at every level of his existence. And these techniques which so scandalize the uninitiated, whether they be licentious or ascetic, this consumption and consummation of organic and psychic fires...these violations of all the rules and social conventions exist for one single, solitary purpose: to be the brutal and radical means of stripping man of his mental and bodily habits, awakening in him his sleeping being and shaking off the alienating torpor of the soul. - Jacques Lacarrière

Thursday, April 3, 2014

Why publish poetry?

Poetry is the oldest established form for the written word, and it is a necessary embodiment of language, a vehicle by which we are able to express and explore even the most complex concepts and emotions. Poetry is a mode of expansion and play, a mode of questioning and affirming. It allows for discovery and meditation. The quiet and most intimate act of holding and reading a collection of poems - especially these days when our brains are overworked and we are inundated with noise - should be protected and kept sacred. - Carey Salerno