Thursday, June 26, 2014

Great Audiences

To have great poets, there must be great audiences, too.
- Walt Whitman

Yesterday, I had one of the most wondrous experiences of my life. Someone approached me while I was sitting in the park and the first statement this person made was asking a simple question, "Would you read me a poem?" I could have wept. I could only say, "I will read you poetry until you ask me to stop."

Photo by Jerry James
From thereon ensued a wonderful conversation where the reading of a number of poems was interspersed with some of the most engaging and exciting conversation. We spanned topics ranging from ponderous issues of cognitive theory to the gems of the most simple considerations.

I have been enjoying a particular number of wonderful exchanges with people lately. The other day I had a fascinating conversation with two young students in mathematics. - I still hold the position that if a person really wants to be a member of the avant-garde, they should study math, because people in that field are so ahead of the curve most of the world doesn't even know they exist. There is no doubt that people in the field of mathematics are in the forefront of broadening the intellectual and imaginative horizons of humanity and I have made note to a number of people that the some of the ideas of French mathematician Everiste Galois on the symmetry of polynomials served as an important inspiration for one of the most important angles of many of the syntactical formulations in my poem Martha.

As a parting comment, I told them both that I will look for them in the years to come as recipients of the most distinguished Fields Medal. One of the students modestly dismissed this and said that his friend would probably win the medal but he doubted that he would. I told him that there is no question that he is capable of winning the medal. I told him, "That potential is within us all. Never deny yourself your potential for greatness."

Monday, June 23, 2014

For the Last Romantic

My favorite labyrinth, the Seed Labyrinth by Sara Jones

There are some who believe poems are writ
from the sophisticated theories we invent
as if inspiration was the conscript
of a very specific determinant
that was made with formulas and instruments
so that the unexpected was from intent
and surprise was merely mismanagement
from a factory of ambiguousness.

Then reading your verse earlier today,
listening to the words and all they say,
I began to float on the music they made
from the melodies in every phrase
along the correspondence you arranged
with the chords inlaid and delicately played
and carried by a cadence sustained
by the beat of your heart upon the page.

Poems are not contrived from designs,
they are released from within, deep inside,
and the deeper one’s concentration dives
the higher one’s inspiration flies,
making brazen leaps to span the divides
in the endless potential of our lives
from the wonder of a child’s awakening mind
to the timeless kindness in a grandmother’s eyes.

Garrett Buhl Robinson

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Literature and Life

Mt. Hood, over a sea of clouds
At a local bookstore, in your neighborhood,
nestled in the comforts of your familiar town
an author was visiting to sign the book
Literature and Life, for a modest crowd.
The night moved courteously as it should
but unexpectedly an uproar was aroused
as the people demanded with scowling spite,
“We see the phrases on the pages bound,
and the table of contents’ proper nouns.
We see the literature but where is the life?”

The author said, “These words are dead until they’re read.
You, the audience, are the life. May these
words awaken the wings of your mind
and lift your thoughts into heavenly skies.”

Garrett Buhl Robinson

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

The City of Inspiration

Sometimes I feel this
     mystifying town
is built more from the sky
     than from the ground.

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

For Marianne Moore

The New York Public Library
Ms. Moore, I have read your work from place to
place, hunkering over the pages to savor
the way your nimble feet tip toe across
the page with every step as light as it is sure.
The poems are a guiding line of lanterns
extending through passages of detailed grandeur
where the protean shapes that you portray
are a lively menagerie, not exhibiting
human qualities, but revealing virtues
essentially and effortlessly natural.
And now for the first time in my life
I am reading your poetry in Brooklyn
to find the greatest paradox you ever penned
is your numerous versions of perfection.

Garrett Buhl Robinson
June 9, 2014