Writing as a transformative art.

March 14, 2009 at 7:00 pm | Posted in poetry, writing | 20 Comments
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One of the best things about writing is that it allows you to fantasise. If I had a child I would read poetry to it before it could speak.  When all there is is bubbling noises, brooks with occasional echidnas chuckling. Before that even. I would say, oh, lie down, my darling. It is time to read The Tempest to the baby. Woohoo,

“On a ship at sea…


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  1. I bought my kids a book of poetry from a very young age. Their favourite was ‘Little Orphant Annie’, especially when ‘the gobble-uns al gits you eff you don’t watch out!’ was rumbled in my broadest Irish accent, haha. The middle line of this sings… love it.
    Cool, I think it’s like music. Poetry helps them to learn how to speak (and think good), maybe. There were two typos, Narnie and they were there all night. How embarrassing. I really must turn the schlepchecker on some day.

  2. “…echidnas chuckling”… transformative art, indeed. I can’t go anywhere else to read things… I’m grateful for your blog and its ideas– but more for its lush, beautiful art.

    PS– I’m also grateful that you’d take the time and space to feature one of my stories. Thanks so much!
    Who else could be the first guest artiste in the new gingatao magazine, Bob. Your writing has given me so much pleasure over the two years we’ve spent following little round ideas down vast fairways and over shallow bunkers.

  3. Ginga-tao
    it’s the latest
    wild fate-twist
    juicy mate-kissed
    it’s the greatest
    … and how!
    Woohoo, thankyou.

  4. I hope that won’t make the baby grow up into Caliban….
    Hopefully it will take after its mother, Crushed.

  5. This sigh comes out as a poem and your poems sound like a sigh sometimes…And what language can do is to bow before you standing between the two…
    Thankyou, Hayat. You are too kind.

  6. What fun you are, if you had a kid the two of you would never be bored!
    That’s true. I think we might prove a handful at mealtimes though. I must not start food fights with the baby.

  7. Hey, my child’s first books were, A Tale of Two Cities, David Copperfield and White Fang. Later, I introduced her to more intellectual writing. lol She was a big fan of Rudyard Kipling though.
    Stories, that’s true, F.G. The best children’s poetry is often narrative. I’ve always found narrative poetry a real challenge. You have a gift for it though.

  8. Oh, and I LOVE the new layout!
    Cool, thanks. It’s a bit quieter and more grownup I think.

  9. Ah, friend, we should be laid upon some snow white sand glistening in our metaphors, talking trash to the passersby and reciting sea faring stories. For we are the kings among men; kings? nay, gods. For the depth of a poet’s heart must be heaven or hell; haven or hollow. What do we leave behind us but our footprints in the sand, save perhaps, the empty bottle? Here, our words, our blood, spit and sarcasm…will lift us out of purgatory or else; throw us headlong into the chasm. No matter, we leave some mark behind.

  10. Oooops I wax poetic, forgive one intoxicated on the effects of whiskey.
    That’s okay F.G. It’s been known to happen to me quite frequently.

  11. In your voice and only in your voice, and no worse than the grimmest of Grimm’s.
    Hello, Ms Squirrel. Is hibernation over?

  12. I love the tie-in of the ship at sea to writing as transformative art. As writers, we can sail, in our minds, to anywhere we wish. And we can live many lifetimes in one.
    Yes we can and often do, sometimes all at the same time.

  13. Verse, rhyme and meter will capture a child’s (or the child-in-us’s) attention more than plain prose, I think: there must be biological reason for that.
    There must be. I would guess at something to do with rhythm, Phil. Boom boom like a heartbeat maybe. You can’t escape the fundamental primacy of rhythm.

  14. I hosted poetry throughout my pregnancy and has a number of featured readings so my child heard me read my own and heard others read also as well as my reading aloud poetry and other works…

    I continued to host bringing my infant son to readings and nursing him, at least once or twice on stage as his needs came first over a poets decision to end before the babe was done!

    My son’s first word was light. He was 11 months old. At 5, his vocab and articulateness catch people by surprise. And he blogs too! Now he wants a twitter account–think people would follow a 5 year old?
    ‘Light’ was also the winner of the worldwide competition for a one word poem a few years ago, AP. I think they would, it would be very interesting to see the world through his eyes.

  15. Fantasies are fantastic, but one word too many when the sounds go silent; babies are unwritten poetry themselves, makes perfect sense to read them to them!
    “Babies are unwritten poetry,” beautiful, Sumedh.

  16. Agree, though you should leave the choice of poetry to the child…yours shall make his own mind at a very young age.
    We had the simplest approach -starting with ol’nursery rhymes and now it is doctor Seuss and such. Not ready for the Tempest yet (I mean the youngest ones , because for the oldest it is already Romeo and Juliet time)
    I think they are never too young for Shakespeare, Ana. He practically invented the language afterall and that’s what they are doing too.

  17. I read my son lots of poetry in the womb. He reads poetry aloud very well and often gets awards for it at school. His favourites are Auden and Shelley. I wonder if his love of poetry and my reading of it to him in utero are related.
    I wouldn’t have any doubt about that, Selma. Nor that it will be something he thanks you for later in life.

  18. Oh Paul! I am that child whose mother read poetry to him daily! Words are music. Words are magic. Words are love, toys, color, dance, joy, and laughter above any momentary pain. It opens the doors of possibilities, and “God” knows, we create our own realities — like 6 children to read poetry to. It’s the end of the world as we’ve known it!
    You are so on-track, so my frequency. Thanks for sharing.
    No problem, Wayne. That is a beautiful comment. I’m starting to think that writing good comments is actually good writing practice.

  19. My poems are my children. I often read poetry to my poems. They adore me for it, and I marvel at their resulting intellectual and spiritual growth.
    Beautiful children they are too, Bryan.

  20. I’d love to see your creative spawn! I also like contrast of how you speak of poetry with such tenderness but speak of a child as an “it.”
    I was just trying to avoid giving the child a gender, M’lady. But yes, I was aware of a certain ‘it-ness’ to my attempt.

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