Art, in the broad sense, occasionally acts upon me like a key, opening up my creative life to some as-of-then undiscovered landscape. Usually, it acts upon me in music (the smashing pumpkins and asian kung-fu generation are two notable examples), but lately, the key has been carved from poetry.
Last semester in my poetry workshop, the wonderful Kendra Kopelke introduced me to Li-Young Lee. His Book of My Nights felt like how nights use to pass for me: quiet, peaceful, contemplative, or perhaps meditative. In the flurry of this semester’s workship as well, i was propelled back to Li-Young, to learn the way of precise imagery in the midst of so much dream-like introspection.
That class, or more specifically my revisions for that class, lead me to my dust-covered anthology of haiku, the result of which is fairly evidenced by this blog.
And in one of our sessions, the insurmountable Ishion Hutchinson, my workshop teacher this semester, turned my attention to Bei Dao (one of my poems reminded him of Bei Dao’s work, and i now believe that that is the second highest compliment i have ever been given).
Bei Dao writes with the heart and inventiveness of haiku. I read his "Notes from the City of the Sun" and felt somewhere inside the fresh and gleaming teeth of a key slip into the lock of a still obscured door. I bought his collection The Rose of Time without hesitation; i had to: it was inevitable. I began reading it today during the lulls of my cafe shift.
His poetry is dismantling. Like watching the impossible beauty of the sky transition from evening to night. Like a sudden gust of wind tearing a letter from your hand, and on the letter is written your breath.
His poetry is the poetry of revolution, a forbidden voice crying out into darkness. And, he was not alone. He called out with his fellow Misty Poets, all startling roses growing out of the salted Chinese earth, all seeds flung far to take root in distant lands.
I am eager to take a seat at the foot of Masters.