Allied Arts Poetry Workshop: February 12th, 2011
Forms of Love
I love you but I'm married.
I love you but I wish you had more hair.
I love you more.
I love you more like a friend.
I love your friends more than you.
I love how when we go into a mall and classical muzak is playing,
you can always name the composer.
I love you, but one or both of us is/are fictional.
I love you but "I" am an unstable signifier.
I love you saying, "I understand the semiotics of that" when I said, "I
had a little personal business to take care of."
I love you as long as you love me back.
I love you in spite of the restraining order.
I love you from the coma you put me in.
I love you more than I've ever loved anyone, except for this one guy.
I love you when you're not getting drunk and stupid.
I love how you get me.
I love your pain, it's so competitive.
I love how emotionally unavailable you are.
I love you like I'm a strange backyard and you're running from the
cops, looking for a place to stash your gun.
I love your hair.
I love you but I'm just not that into you.
I love you secretly.
I love how you make me feel like I'm a monastery in the desert.
I love how you defined grace as the little turn the blood in the
syringe takes when you're shooting heroin, after you pull back
the plunger slightly to make sure you hit the vein.
I love your mother, she's the opposite of mine.
I love you and feel a powerful spiritual connection to you, even
though we've never met.
I love your tacos! I love your stick deodorant!
I love it when you tie me up with ropes using the knots you
learned in Boy Scouts, and when you do the stoned Dennis
Hopper rap from Apocalypse Now!
I love your extravagant double takes!
I love your mother, even though I'm nearly her age!
I love everything about you except your hair.
If it weren't for that I know I could really, really love you.
Let’s start by expanding the word:
The bishop tells me every breath
comes from God. I couldn’t see it,
until I broke the back
of my own betrayal of me. Evil
is an impulse of love breathed wrong.
The flip side of all we are is good.
Every act is an act of love.
From “To My Children: A War Story” by Jim Bodeen (Impulse to Love)
Here’s how PBS breaks it down in “The Mystery of Love”
Friendship, Community, Romance, Divine, Family
Let’s start there with some lists.
Now, let’s add:
Landscapes, activities, animals, times of day
Now let’s add:
Secret places only you know about, months, seasons, years of your life,
Food/meals, tastes, scents, sounds
Writers, books, words
Come back to these lists for inspiration during the workshop and later.
· Introduce yourself and three things from different parts of your list.
· How I got here.
· Blog with links and more to look at.
· Love poems, but lots of ways to see love and even some non love poems.
The poet Marvin Bell says, Learning to write is a simple process: read something, then write something; read something else and write something else. And show in your writing what you have read.
He also says, You do not learn from work like yours as much as you learn from work unlike yours.
The schedule: Something Like This:
10-11: Two sets of prompts (six-eight prompts total?)
Explain prompts, writing time, sharing time x2.
11-12: Two sets of prompts.
1-2: Two sets of prompts.
2-230: Revision tips, polish a piece
230-330: Final two sets of prompts.
330-4: Getting the words into the world.
So, Love Poems. Romantic love. High School. Amy. Now.
It makes me uncomfortable to talk about any other romantic love, but I’m going to try to take some risks and give myself the freedom as a writer to do it.
As a group, we have to pretend we’ve just flown in from hiking the Appalachian Trail.
Good, conflicting advice from Rilke:
Don’t write love poems; avoid those forms that are too facile and ordinary: they are the hardest to work with, and it takes great, fully ripened power to create something individual where good, even glorious, traditions exist in abundance. So rescue yourself from these general themes and write about what your everyday life offers you; describe your sorrows and desires, the thoughts that pass through your mind and your belief in some kind of beauty – describe all these with heartfelt, silent, humble sincerity and, when you express yourself, use the Things around you, the images from your dreams, and the objects that you remember.
But, Rilke, too:
For one human being to love another human being: that is perhaps the most difficult task that has been given to us, the ultimate, the final problem and proof, the work for which all other work is merely preparation.
Therefore, dear Sir, ….believe in a love that is being stored up for you like an inheritance, and have faith that in this love there is a strength and a blessing so large that you can travel as far as you wish without having to step outside it.
(Letters to a Young Poet)
Nikki Giovanni reflects on what it takes to write a love poem:
“5-If I could give just one piece of advice about writing a love poem I would remind the writer that love is about the lover not the beloved. It’s about how you feel not how he responds. That should free you to set your heart on your sleeve; no one is going to knock it off.
“4-Everything about love and life is the simplicity of it. The most important thing to keep in mind is to be clear. The Dells sang Love Is So Simple and I think they are right. Nat ‘King’ Cole sang I Love You (for Sentimental Reasons); clear as a bell. Cole Porter wrote You’d Be So Nice To Come Home To. Classic. All of them. Clear. You can feel the longing.
“3-The most common writing mistake, period, is complication. The reader does not want to figure out what you mean. Neither does your beloved. Prince says I Want To Be Your Lover. Boom. You know where you stand.
“2-There must be an internal rhythm to a love poem; the desire must come out. The mistake a lot of people make is to over-think the poem. To reach out for images when just letting the longing of the heart come through would be sufficient.
“1-If someone writes you a love poem you’d have to be an idiot to say it was not a good poem. That’s like someone saying ‘I love that dress on you’ and you saying ‘What? This ole thing?’ The proper answer is a sweet smile and a thank you. If you have feelings for that person you can always blush.”
Giovanni concludes, “Writing a good love poem is like being a good lover. You have to touch, taste, take your time to tell that this is real. The Supremes say You Can’t Hurry Love and you can’t fake it, either.”
Let the beauty we love be what we do.
There are hundreds of ways to kneel and kiss the ground.
by Jelaluddin Rumi, translated by Coleman Barks