I love writing poetry because it gives me delight. There are no strings attached — publication, money, stance. There is only the freedom of the words singing through my soul at the time of writing. Wow, everyone should do it, experience the freshness of it and more and more people are discovering it, letting it discover themselves.
Poetry is all I can write without pain. Writing a review or any prose is terribly difficult for me. Revising and reworking is not my bag but writing down something that comes to me out of the blue is. That’s enjoyment because of the surprise since I never know exactly what I / it is going to say and if my ego enters into the writing too much it ceases to be poetry and turns into essay or harangue. Poetry for me is a cooperation between the gift of intuition and me.
Who are you?
I am a 74 year old New Mexican born and nurtured in Roswell, New Mexico. My father’s parents came to New Mexico in a horse-drawn wagon in 1916 and settled in Grenville near Clayton. My mother’s mother came to Roswell in a railroad car full of Illinois farmers in about 1902, and my grandfather came from Abilene, Texas to Roswell about the same time. I schooled at University of Southern California in Los Angeles and the University of New Mexico in Albuquerque, and my wife and I have been growing vegetables and fruit organically here in Placitas for 40 some odd years. I play the piano by ear when I play and write poetry at least every other day.
Where are you?
I am now here in the old village of Placitas finishing up Foxhole Prayers, poems 2009, and into some new writings 2010.
Robert Creeley, Robert Duncan, Kenneth Irby, Stan Getz, Charles Olson, Dave Brubeck, Jack Spicer, Philip Whalen, Gertrude Stein, Allen Ginsberg, Dr. Williams, DeKooning, Ann Quin, Lenore Goodell, so many many others.
My worst experiences were in the years I was writing in a vacuum thinking Dylan Thomas was my teacher when in reality I had no teacher. But then I met Robert Creeley who gave me a hand and pulled me out of the morass of closed poetry. Listening to his recordings of poets reading and meeting some of them and hearing them taught me to hear my own voice in the open forms William Carlos Williams presented us Americans.
My best experience has come with the gift of Sobriety, a way of beautiful living and Good Orderly Direction that I never truly experienced till age 60.
Poets responsibility In These Times?
Sing to the heart of peace always, the passion of love, the productivity and fragility of the Earth, the path compassionate humans can take when realizing we are but one of many species living cooperatively on this precious planet.
thanks, Donald, for asking the questions . . .
(photo above provided by the poet, donald levering of santa fe, new mexico) . . .