ABOUT THE BOOKWhat would life be like if you knew you were an immortal spiritual being? "It is my viewpoint that each man has his own unique magnificence regardless of race, religion, nation, tribe, station in life, customs and beliefs...," so writes poet, Louis Alan Swartz. Constructed of Magic and Other Poems on the Immortality of the Human Spirit is a refreshing collection of poems that explore the beauty of who we are as spiritual beings. Our ability to love, dream, create futures, even die with dignity are all part of who we are and why we are here. These poems don't pretend to give final answers to any of the big questions about life, but they do help us to look and come to our own understanding.
GUEST POST BY LOUIS ALAN SWARTZ
Thoughts on Writing Poetry
I was asked to write something on the art of writing poetry. At first, I thought - that would be quite presumptuous. I am just a guy who wrote some poems. Who am I to put forth on the art of writing poetry? But looking at it more fully, I realized that I did have some things to say which could potentially be of value and help.
What I have written here is very personal. These are things that have helped me on the subject of writing (and living for that matter) that I feel are worth passing on. I hope some benefit is derived from these thoughts and viewpoints. These are the points I have found important on the subject of writing:
* Write a terrifically large amount. Discipline yourself to write every day if at all possible. This should build up to tens of thousands of words and then to hundreds of thousands. While you are doing this you will develop and refine your way of writing. In my experience there is no better way to hone writing skill than to write in volume. Don't worry if it is good or bad, just continue to write in volume.
* Believe in yourself! Believe in the value of your own ideas, thoughts, perceptions. Believe in your own imagination. Believe in your own personal aesthetic. Have pride in yourself. Never believe it has all been done and said before. There is always more beauty that can and should be created and purveyed. Man suffers from an absence of aesthetics, not an excess. Each individual possesses a unique personal beauty.
When you write you are communicating that singular beauty. It is available nowhere else but with you.
* Writing is communication! Above all remember that wring is communication. You are writing down ideas, perceptions, emotions, imaginings, color, form, drama, character and as well hopes and dreams. It must be understandable by the reader. He must be able to "get" the communication in the context of his own world. No matter what lovely combinations of words you produce, they mean nothing if they are not grasped by the reader. The reader has his own human and spiritual experience. What you write must be real within that experience. The esoteric and cryptic have no place in writing or poetry. Poetry should be illuminating and enlightening. It should be able to communicate to all people, not just a select few. It must reach the reader where he lives. Trust your reader and believe in him. Trust in his perception and his intelligence. Always endeavor to communicate to and to reach the best there is in them, their personal aesthetic and their capacity for astonishment. Respect your reader and speak to him at his highest level of awareness. Think of him as full of wonder because he is. Don't try to entertain or interest him, rather be interested in him, care about him, his dreams, his passions, his magnificences. Endeavor in your writing to draw out these beautifulness in him. You are there to remind him of the angelic creature he actually is.
*Listen! Above all, listen closely. A major source of your inspiration will come from listening. If you listen closely and attentively people will tell you their dreams. They will tell you wondrous things. Listen as you read or see film. Listen to what your wife is saying, your children, your elders, your friends.
If you listen closely and attentively, you will hear the most remarkable things. Things that will knock your block off! Be intensely interested in what people are trying to tell you in any way, strain to understand them. They are a never ending source of wonder. Listen with your eyes. Go out into the world and see what is there. Listen and see on the bus, the train, the street corner, the restaurant. See and hear what's out there and who is out there. Listen to the voices you don't want to hear that are saying uncomfortable things. Listen to them even when it's tough. Listen to the anguish and the beauty beneath it. If you really listen you will never want for inspiration.
Below is a poem from Constructed of Magic on the subject of aesthetics:
Violin resting on credenza
Utterly silent and ready,
Fresh cut roses in crystal vase,
Dawn light dusting the room
From the clearstory* high above.
Morning filled with anticipation.
Unwritten score on the piano.
Through the stained glass doors
Into early morning garden
Beyond the bearded Irises,
Past the Chinese Poppies,
Purple and red beyond comprehension.
We are always and ever
Reaching verges in ourselves.
What magnitude could be imagined
And brought into this world?
What aesthetic could be opened?
The very next turn in the trail.
Gentle music persisting
On the outer edges of my mind
Demanding to be heard and expressed,
Melody from beyond the seeable.
Another verge, another world.
Step you here dearest friend,
Depth of aesthetic beyond memory.
Beyond the trellis of roses,
Beyond the garden wall,
Beyond the hills above.
*Verge — point beyond which something occurs or begins
(Macmillan Dictionary for Students)
*Credenza — a low cabinet
(Webster’s New World College Dictionary)
*Clearstory — also clerestory — an upper portion of a wall containing windows
for applying natural light to a building.
(American Heritage Dictionary)
ABOUT THE AUTHORLouis Alan Swartz has dedicated his life to helping others find their ability as immortal spiritual beings. He has traveled extensively in Africa, India, Europe, and the Middle East. He lives in Los Angeles with Connie, his wife of twenty-eight years.
Connect with the author:
Website | Facebook | Twitter