Wednesday, October 1, 2014
Expansive Poetics - 119 - (An American Place)
So, actually, what we're all talking about in terms of spiritual revolution is, in a way, continuing the tradition of person - democratic person, taking his own life as sacred, and being treated sacredly by neighbors and by state, which Hartley pronounces, after (Walt) Whitman, and (about) which he agrees with (William Carlos) Williams and that whole group, looking for an American place, looking for a place for themselves.
And that terminology of "place", you'll see continual in (Charles) Olson and (Robert) Creeley - that's one of Creeley's favorite words - "place". And, for him, it's not only just the American place but it's his own psychological place - "When we get to heaven, there will be a place for you and me and we'll all sit there in chairs..", or… I'll find it. It's a little (Creeley) poem. ["Oh No" - If you wander far enough/you will come to it/and when you get there/they will give you a place to sit/ for yourself only, in a nice chair,/and all your friends will be there/with smiles on their faces/and they will likewise all have places"]
And in his critical work, Creeley constantly talks about the word "place" also (meaning the same thing the Buddhists here (Naropa) mean by "space", which is to say a particular appreciation of the intimate immediate surroundings that you're in , not ignoring your own backyard, your trilliums (sic), your own dress, your own vocation, your own shoes, but actually paying sacred attention to the glass of water that you hold in your hand). By sacred there - Buddhists even eliminate the word "sacred", they say just pay attention - take it - be there with it - Don't reject it, don't put it down, don't say, "this glass is just material glass, it's nothing to do with me, I don't want this material world", but, actually, treating the material world as a sacred place in order to make it a sacred place. Because, when it's treated off-handedly, as a convenience for us to chop the trees down off of, or devastate for fish, then it becomes a polluted sinkhole.
[Audio for the above can be heard here, beginning at approximately thirty-nine minutes in, and concluding at approximately forty-and-three-quarter minutes in]