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Notes from Jim Larwill

Thinking over what Jim Larwill said and putting down things to digest where I can find it again – namely the internet. Works for everything else in existance out here.:P

on poetic voice: Jim was talking about how poetic voice is more than individuality or distinctive style. There’s a physicality to voice. The poet’s voice is the physical voice, the person’s properties of vocal folds and breathing. Poetry has to be made from the body.

on editing: Poetry must be read aloud to form, a dozen, a hundred, a thousand times and the wrong words fall out, the right words appear and the rhythm naturally forms.

on directness: He said if you want to communicate something, don’t pull back into false modesty, say it loud and clear. If you’re not going to do that in a poem, don’t speak.

on medium: Poetry is more gratifying if its performed. If it is published you can imagine it being read by hundreds but what’s the point — you can imagine it being read by hundreds without going through all the work of publishing. Performing, the people are right there, reacting and its real.

on future: he sees poetry going back from page to oral roots with mp3s and youtube.

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6 Responses

  1. I liked these, thanks for sharing them, Pearl. Mulling over notion that poetry has to be made from the body; reminds me very much of Fred Wah’s Music at the Heart of Thinking. Here’s the first bit…to get you going…
    “1. Don’t think thinking without heart no such separation within the acting body takes a step without all of it the self propelled into doing the thing (say, for example, the horse) and on the earth as well picking up the whole circuit feet first feel the waves tidal and even outside to moon and sun it’s okay to notate only one of those things without knowing fixed anyway some heart sits in the arms of”

    Back to me now: I’m not a fan of must be/should be so when I see those I get wary. I know writers who don’t read their work aloud for revision; but the music is in their heads and hearts anyway. I know writers who write the beauty and are never direct. The interpretation is the readers’. I know writers who don’t perform. Performance is a medium like any other. It answers to its own gods and has its own rules and rebellions. I know writers who don’t publish, just perform. On the future…I think we have all this as much as we want and always have and always will. My own answer for me is there are no rules and the only guidelines are the poems, the words themselves.

  2. Thanks for the Fred Wah words.

    It must be nice to have music in the heart. Mostly I have white noise and interference from dif. stations. 😛 😉

    Tone doesn’t come across in print so far as Jim. He isn’t prescriptive so much as oratorial.

  3. white noise and interference could be a type of music, mayhap

  4. biting my tongue over that being an apt description of a certain European musician. (well, was biting my tongue and then it wriggled loose for a bit. )

  5. could be a lot of musicians 😉

  6. i think participating in my first reading made this even more clear to me. there are some poems that just fall flat when read outloud and some poems that don’t fit together on paper but when sounded out is perfect.

    so i’m not sure where that line lies.



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