Good Pearing: Goodell & Jackson
Here is a quick short and inadequate recap of some of the highlights of P(EAR). There were two speakers, Larry Goodell and Gary Jackson, and about 16 people in attendance at Acequia Booksellers. It was a nice, thought provoking and inspiring time with cookies afterward 🙂
The image Larry Goodell used for getting lines was a slot machine. You pull the lever and get a mix of noun/verb/noun. Sometimes you hit it, and sometimes you don’t. He’s trained himself to write down lines that spark, and then importantly be open to what comes next, where that line leads. He quotes Ann Quinn, “Be ruthless with your own writing,” but also believes as John Cage said, “The best revision is new work.” He views poetry as inclusive and so prefers to avoid limiting classifications like slam, narrative, lyric, language–all poetry is on a continuum. And he says, “To me, poetry is a matter of song and sense.” And, “Poetry is humbling.”
Larry is also driven to ask questions like, what does the back of the poem look like, how does the poem exist in 3-d time and space, what happens if a mask is a part of a poem, or movement. He also talks heartily about poetry as service, even to the extent of publishing other poets, editing, making readings happen, all the good community involvement. There is joy in his presentation and his passion and commitment that’s contagious. It was great to hear him speak.
Gary Jackson, who opened the event, talked about cultivating obsession. However, he clarified that obsession is not “topic,” only the vehicle. For example, the comic book characters he writes about are not the topic. Rather, the context of superheroes allows him indirect access to explore issues of race and loss, adolescence and more–because poetry is capable of talking about many things at once and sometimes less direct ways work better.
Although Gary is driven by story, and narrative, he found a quote which I’ll paraphrase, that says, “A really good poem conveys meaning before it even conveys understanding.” He works hard to be neither blatantly obvious nor purposefully obscuring. He finds beauty in poetry in the way all the rules can be bent and anything and everything can be used at the service of poetry. Essentially, there are no rules. Right now, in his own work, he’s exploring less linear leaps of consciousness. In terms of topic, he maintains work around his obsession, comics, but is also exploring concepts of motherland. I’m looking forward to seeing how these new series shape up.
Thanks tons to both Larry and Gary for speaking today.
Next P(EAR) is June 26th 3:00 with speakers TBA but I believe I’ll be one of them 🙂