Posted by: Viola | June 12, 2014

Writing from a place of peace and humor

As a poet, a lot of what one writes about can be quite serious. One might write about something sad, a dire situation. Poets write about wars, about injustice, about loss. So much of what often goes into a poem is very solemn. Also, the place one writes from can be a place of intense darkness and doom, a place within the poet where memories of pain are stored and retrieved but difficult to process. The poem might be the processing of those memories and experiences. Any given poem, even the light and breezy ones can contain a depth of sorrow. However, in order to get that poem on the page, in order to speak about that feeling or memory without being consumed by it, the poet needs to write from a place with a degree of peace. A place of some observable and tangible distance from the subject or topic of the poem. A place where there is the possibility of a little dash of joy and clarity and consideration. A sense of humor helps. A spell of laughter helps to keep one’s sanity intact. Even if the poem one captures and writes down is not a solemn thing, one still needs a sense of humor about the work. Every artist should cultivate the practice of laughter, in my opinion. We can take what we do very seriously but we cannot take it too, too seriously or else it becomes easy to quit and run away from the pressure of it. The act of writing, the work of honing one’s poem, the daily sacrifices made for the craft of writing, the time spent making art–all of these are serious business and deep commitments. To be able to laugh or smile at one’s errors, one’s process of discovery and endurance, is essential. I know I need to be able to say to myself sometimes: “I love this thing I am doing but it’s absurd and crazy!” I will do it, all the same. I will write a book. I will make a poem. But I can do it with a smile and yes, I might frown but not all the time. I can look up from the labor of it, stand back a little, and laugh at all of it. (And then get back to work!)



  1. […] unable to grasp the magnitude of trauma going on. I know that art requires some distancing, some critical space for the crafting of art, some separation of the artist from the immediacy of a crisis or the urgency of a […]

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