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Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Angry Poets

I was just listening to the Lannan Foundation's sponsored reading by and interview of W. S. Merwin with Michael Silverblatt (of the podcast Bookworm, which I listen to religiously). In this reading/interview, I heard W. S. Merwin say something about anger. Quickly skiming through the program I can't find the part I want right now, and I haven't got time today to listen to the entire program again, so I will just paraphrase. Basically, W. S. Merwin said that of all the passions, anger is the one most dangerous to poets, to poetry; that poetry written in anger tends to be bad poetry.

For me, this is true. I don't even think I can write when angry. My thoughts enter into their self-spooling loops and I can't think straight when angry. And so, another motivation for me to learn to give up my anger, to forsake it.

What about you? How does anger affect your writing?


Tressa said...

I agree, I can't do much when I'm angry, at least not anything even remotely productive.

I cannot let go of my anger either. If what is making me angry cannot be fixed or changed I have to attempt to refocus my anger, turn its energy in another direction (this is like trying to change the direction of an out of control car with broken brakes going down a hill the wrong way in traffic).

This of course takes a bit of time as anger keeps pulling me back (anger is an emotional hair grabber - it just wants your face in it) but usually I can get refocused to the point that the "anger alien" doesn't feel like it's going to burst out of my chest!


Jessica Goodfellow said...

Thanks for your encouraging comments. I'm relieved to know it isn't just me. I read that 90% of our thoughts are recycled thoughts--thinking the same things over and over, and not thinking new thoughts. I notice this keenly when I'm angry. I think the same thoughts over and over, and have such a hard time getting out of that loop to a creative space.