Wendell Berry On How To Be A Poet (and Human)

One/another of my favorite poets, thinkers and inspired humans is Wendell Berry.  Farmer, writer, poet, philosopher, activist, and common-sense man - he embodies and articulates values I hold dear.  Maria Popova - who pens an always inspired weekly blog called Brain Pickings features Wendell Berry in her column this week. You can read it here and also hear Berry reading one of his poems How To Be A Poet.

An excerpt:

Make a place to sit down.
Sit down. Be quiet.
You must depend upon
affection, reading, knowledge,
skill — more of each
than you have — inspiration,
work, growing older, patience,
for patience joins time
to eternity.

Increasingly I am experiencing poetry as the linguistic embodiment of 'fat' moments - those moments that feel round and full and stretched out. Where body, senses, mind and spirit are simultaneously inspired and united.

For more on Maria Popova check out the interview with her from On Being

On Beauty

When you love something like reading — or drawing or music or nature — it surrounds you with a sense of connection to something great. If you are lucky enough to know this, then your search for meaning involves whatever that Something is. It’s an alchemical blend of affinity and focus that takes us to a place within that feels as close as we ever get to “home.” It’s like pulling into our own train station after a long trip — joy, relief, a pleasant exhaustion.

If a writer or artist creates from a place of truth and spirit and generosity, then I may be able to enter and ride this person’s train back to my own station. It’s the same with beautiful music and art.

Beauty is meaning.

I read this quote from Jeanette Winterson this morning on Maria Popova's blog "Brainpickings" (which is a gem of a blog). And it resonated.

Somedays...many days in fact, it can be truly hard to feel that the work one does as an artist has any relevance to the world outside one's own imagination. Yet the impulse to continue making what one feels compelled to make keeps creative types of all kinds stepping up again and again to the studio, to the instrument, to the page.

After a week spent in Toronto at the Interior Design Show, surrounded by a lot of (often beautiful) manufactured stuff - from high end faucets, to lighting and flooring - the relevance of the hand-made, 'small batch', and spirit-imbued 'things' whether it be tables, plates, or songs has never seemed clearer.  Over and over, we (Heidi Earnshaw and I) saw people's faces lighting up as they walked by, and heard what an 'oasis' our booth was. How rewarding.

In an age where machines make and run most everything, people truly seem starved for a renewed connection to the things they live with - the story of where something comes from, an association with the person who made it, and evidence of and care taken by the maker's hand.  I am lucky to be a maker.  it is a privilege. And it is refreshing to feel again a sense of purpose in doing what I do.

IDS - cylinders - detail

IDS - cylinders - detail