Poetry for me is above all reading. Keeping my own verses to a minimum, since no sea shores wash upon it, entire days in a chair or bed, the texts & sacred music. And because one lacks so much, to get to which encyclopedic resources.
"Me know some DJs get them flow from the radio
Me know some poets get them flow from the bibliotheque"
I'm mid-way through Francisco Goldman's The Divine Husband, where José Martí is in the backdrop, a presence more talked about than seen. I've also begun reading Fredric Jameson's recent book on Science Fiction and utopia, Archaeologies of the Future (Verso, 2005). Jameson is one of the reasons why, for me, poetry exists more often in reading than it does in writing. My notebook & this page are mostly the result of listening to others, how one interprets what sound. His books Brecht and Method (Verso, 2000) and The Cultural Turn (Verso, 1998) have helped slow my writing down, keep most of it for the notebooks. His essays take me longer to decipher and the texts he reads are never limited to the page, forcing one to read widely and carefully.
In the introduction to his new book, Jameson lays out a tentative hope for the idea of utopia as inherently unreal and uncomfortable:
"Marcuse argues that it is the very separation of art and culture from the social—a separation that inaugurates culture as a realm in its own right and defines it as such—which is the source of art's incorrigible ambiguity. For that very distance of culture from its social context which allows it to function as a critique and indictment of the latter also dooms its interventions to ineffectuality and relegates art and culture to a frivolous, trivialized space in which such intersections are neutralized in advance. This dialectic accounts even more persuasively for the ambivalences of the Utopian text as well: for the more surely a given Utopia asserts its radical difference from what currently is, to that very degree it becomes, not merely unrealizable but, what is worse, unimaginable." (xv)
The "Utopian text" one carries in a back-pack across the river to drink coffee, across the country to sit beside a bed. The poem built of apartments, rooms, the angled moving trees I don't need to fully understand, peerless texts.
"with impressive grace
harmonies I find
in the first lines"