Friday, February 27, 2009

A good week of training and poetry and people

It's been a great week; I got to do the things I most love: hang out with my girl, train a bunch, engage with some terrific poetry, and talk with really intriguing, smart people.

Monday started the week off well as I trained with the Oakland Buyu group and, as usual, learned a lot with them.

Tuesday, I had off, went out to dinner, and then was off to train again at the San Francisco dojo.

Wednesday I was lucky enough to catch Peter Gizzi at St. Mary's College where I was reminded of the importance of breath to poetry. Hearing Peter's poems is a pleasure; he's a terrific reader! Peter talked a lot about his poetic process, and I was inspired to ditch the laptop for initial composition, and to employ the more visceral pen and notebook.

Thursday night, Ammie and I went for a long walk, ate some delicious food, and then I was off to my martial art class in SF after getting off work. What a night! my teacher, Dale, taught principles relating to disappearing and misdirection, and was damn near ghost-like when I tried launching a few full-speed attacks.

Today, on a walk with Ammie, we ran into Willis and Sarah Barnstone, and had a great talk that included a story about Willis having lunch with Robert Frost (as well as another poet with the last name of Snow). Frost, the great populist, in a discussion about Dante, remarked that he had only once briefly read Dante while taking courses at Harvard and then had only read the great Italian poet in Greek. Talking with Willis is stunning. He is easily one of the most remarkable, open, and thoughtful scholars I am likely ever to meet.

Thinking on all this today, I am reminded of the importance of space in, and to, art. The Japanese use a term, Yugen, to describe a space in poetry and art for the unsaid and unrealized which deepens a piece's tone and allows the viewer an entry point wherein he or she could supply his or her own imagination. This idea of Yugen, different than just simply space, is vital for arts (poetic, visual, and physical) to become alive. Keeping this sort of "space" open seems so vital to any creative endeavor, as it is an invitation of sorts for the dynamic unknown potential of things to breath life into whatever is being created--a poem, a movement, or a conversation.