Originally posted on The Global Human: Social Comments:
The Swedish poet and winner of Nobel Prize in Literature (2011) has died, at the age of 83. He was known as a master of metaphors, capturing the corners of the human mind and adding a sense of wonder to the journey of life.
Sometimes we need to land and warm ourselves, even only for a while. “There’s so much we must be witness to,” he wrote in Summer Meadow, “Reality wears us so thin, but here is summer at last: a large airport – the controller brings down planeload after planeload of frozen people from outer space.”
His poems often have a religious quality to them. In Romanesque Arches, we are reminded that we are always underway, constantly creating and recreating ourselves, opening “vault behind vault,” like in a cathedral. “You’ll never be complete, and that’s as it should be.”
Enjoy Romanesque Arches, translated by Robert…
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Originally posted on The Global Human: Social Comments:
On this World Poetry Day, Julius Meinl, an Austrian coffee company, turns poems into currency. Guests in coffee shops all over the world are invited to pay for their coffee with a poem.
Guardian: “What is a poem worth? As authors around the world despair of making a living, a company based in Vienna has finally come up with a definitive answer: one cup of coffee.”
“Poetry is the universal human song, expressing the aspiration of every woman and man to apprehend the world and share this understanding with others.”
Irina Bokova, Director General
Message on World Poetry Day 2015
March 21 was declared World Poetry Day by UNESCO in 1999.
This is brilliant:
Characters you write and then abandon do not disappear, you know. They are always on the move, from one author to another.
My poem about a character I erased from a story: Down the Gutter Avenue
I knew early in life that the written word was my calling. Did I answer the call? Not really.
I loved to write short stories at school, but I resented that they were read aloud in front of the class. At home, family members, including grown-ups, foolishly poked around in my things, read my small stories and made fun of them. Especially my fictitious character Emily took quite a beating. When I confronted my older sister with this, she could, of course, not recall that it EVER happened. Nevertheless, the damage was done, and at the age of seven or eight I came to believe that there was something wrong with me expressing myself, and the words went into hiding.
The words re-emerged as I grew up, and I still hear the calling: the right to express ourselves. My strong belief is that we are born free and do not have to ask for permission to live and speak freely. No one is given property rights to other human beings.
When writers and journalists are killed or imprisoned for revealing the truth about ugly authorities, do I make my voice heard?
When religious fanatics and self-appointed holders of the faith take the religion hostage, praising the Greatness of God, yet making Him so small, where am I? Do I write words that affect the oppressors or inspire the oppressed to ask: Why should I follow you? Do I share my own experiences about how I broke free from a religiously fanatic home, bruises all over my wings, but still free in spirit?
When stories bubble in my mind, do I bring them into life?
I wish I could say that I will not be quiet anymore. I sincerely want to pick up the pencil and make my voice heard.
I admit it, I am not a very patient writer: I sit, I stand up, I walk, I sit down, I get coffee and then some more. Then, once in a while, I get completely absorbed in the task in front of me and ideas and words flow freely. The sun sets and when it seemingly suddenly rises again, I am still sitting there in front of my compute.
Catching the words
What I love most of all to write about, are words. I adore words. The right composition of words can create joyous magic, make you feel as if you are in that smoky blues joint or experiencing the morning atmosphere as the city wakes up and gets ready for a new day. My philosophy is that the words have been travelling alongside us since the dawn of the human race, telling our history. They have inspired great writers, been meticulously stated in ink: guilty or not guilty, been used in declarations of war and peace: hate you, love you. They have made power-greedy small men tremble and order the burning of books, for the fear of the free word and free flowing of ideas.
How do you catch words? In the early hours of the day, the daybreak hours, when you are neither asleep nor awake, when it is neither day nor night, there is a crack between time and timelessness, with free access to raw material fresh from the source. The insight is short-lived, however, and all the grandiose ideas slip away the moment you open your eyes. You might be lucky to bring a package of words with you and store it before the word thieves arrive and take it with them – usually some time between 3AM and 8AM. Then you can unpack whatever you need, much like a Christmas basket with assorted contents: fruit, chocolate, smoked salmon, cheese and salty crackers.
If you fail to catch the words during the opening hours of this source library, they quickly fade away and move on, from writer to writer, always travelling.
I want 24/7 access to this library. Creator, please grant me my own key, I prayed, forgetting that you should be careful what you ask for, you might get it.
Character in search of an author
Early one morning, a split second before I was fully awake, a gentleman appeared before my inner eye. He said, “Write me.”
Despite my explaining to him that I do not write, he keeps buzzing around in my head, a fictitious author and publisher in an epic story spanning more than 150 years. He has the Dual Monarchy of Austria-Hungary written all over him.
I wonder why he appears so clearly to me. Maybe he is the creation of another author, who wrote a precise description of him, mustache and all, and then abandoned him on yellow Post-its or paper napkins in an overfilled drawer.
I already know what the end result will be should I decide to “write him:” an enthusiastic beginning of a story, a half-hearted plot and then a speedy jump to the ending. The core, the book itself, will be missing. It will become yet another unfinished story to be stowed away in the library of forgotten scripts, compliments from a reluctant writer.
She looked triumphantly at me and said, “You could have done better,” as if she was my loss and someone else’s gain.
“I don’t think so,” I replied.
Then she crawled into the limo, inelegantly with an unflattering behind.
That gold-digging bitch is so going into my next book.
Google Poetics is fun. It has nothing to do with Google the company, but everything to do with Google’s search engine and its autocomplete suggestions. Most of the times the suggestions are just, well, suggestions, but sometimes there is more to them – a reflection of the user’s mind, an existential question, a cry in the dark night, maybe combined with a question about how to create paper with torn edges in Photoshop. What they all have in common is that they are created by us, the search engine users, and sometimes the resulting lines look like a little poem – a Google poem. Here’s one of mine:
I tried it a few times and put the results together into one longer poem. I called it Google Love.