Wednesday, 22 July 2015

A Prayerful State

"But to poetry — you have to be willing to waste time. When you start a poem, stay with it and suffer through it and just think about nothing, not even the poem. Just be there. It's more of a prayerful state than writing the novels is. A lot of the novel is in doing good works, as it were, not praying. And the prayerful state is just being passive with it, mumbling, being around there, lying on the grass, going swimming, you see. Even getting drunk. Get drunk prayerfully, though."
   Love this quotation from Robert Penn Warren, very appropriate for poets like me who are also teachers just beginning their summer holidays. 'Prayerful state' sums it up beautifully, although I would hasten to add there's invariably a focussed, active work-phase after the initial passive one when you're waiting for the words to emerge.
   Some prayerful drunkenness tonight, then...

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