Wednesday, July 11, 2007

The Commitment to Poetry

While I was in Australia I spent a lot of my time sorting through my father's large library as he has moved into a serviced flat in an aged care hostel. I had also a time capsule stored in his garage of my own possessions left with him in 1996 when I left Australia for world travel. It was an intense experience as I delved back through his past and some of my own childhood reading and memories. One of the main things I got from this experience was a reawakening of my commitment to poetry, something that drove me very hard in my early twenties and late teenage years. Poetry is a source of energy, inspiration and hope for the future for me.
Resonating with this, whilst I was in Australia I heard an address by Miles Franklin Award winner Alexis Wright; A Question of Fear (PDF Transcript), where Wright stated

I want to talk a little bit about poetry because it is the art of defining essential things worth remembering about ourselves. This idea can be found anywhere in the world where people describe the soul of who they are in their stories. Irish poet Seamus Heaney described Joycean ideas in Finnegan’s Wake as ‘eddying with the vowels of all rivers,’ remembering everything at the level of the unconscious, because there is much amnesia in people that they do not learn from their own history.

I have tasted some of my own history over the last few weeks, not always an entirely pleasant experience but very well worth it. More on the Australian trip over coming days.

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