Friday, September 18, 2009
Bobby Bly Said
With his mane of white hair,
and his graceful yet purposeful gait,
Robert Bly looks every bit the poet-seer.
He says he has always been drawn
to the richness of non-literal,
non-scientific imagery, and believes
that a poet's life was
the obvious path for him to take.
By the time a man is 35 he knows that
the images of the right man, the tough man,
the true man which he received in high school
do not work in life.
It is surely a great calamity for
a human being to have no obsessions.
The beginning of love is a horror
When a father, absent during the day,
returns home at six, his children receive
only his temperament, not his teaching.
I have risen to a body not yet born,
existing like a light around a body
through which the body moves
like a sliding moon.”
I know a lot of men who are healthier
at age fifty than they have ever been
before, because a lot of their fear
I have wandered in a face, for hours
That's what I liked best about him.
He put his body where his mouth was.
“He gave me a book and said he was going
to give me a quiz on the first 24 pages,”
Oh, for being beautiful, handsome,
[a] good father, good husband
and a good poet ... No, I'm happy
to have lived long enough to do
some good poems.
Whether they're great or not
is not the issue, really.
"There are people who are literalists
and they can only understand facts,"
"but in poetry you use an image.
I did a little stanza recently that said:
'Even though you are literalists,
accept the invitation to go
to Pluto's wedding.
Haven't you learned yet that
the stars are faithful?'
Poetry during the 60's was a kind
of grieving and at the same time
speaking to the students in a way
they could understand.
Sometimes professors would come
and talk to them
and the professors would have no grief,
no real emotion. Poetry is very helpful
in those situations.
The idea is that there is a creative
being inside of you who is just as
brilliant as the creator of a play
like Hamlet. And that one is not
available to you in the daytime
but does all the work at night;
if you really pay attention
to that one, then an incredible number
of gifts come to you that help you
with your marriage,
that help you with your work,
that help you with your emotions.
One of the things we have been trying
to teach in the men's work is to help
men grieve,--grieve for the distance
between themselves and their sons,
grieve for the distance between
themselves and their daughters,
to grieve for the failed marriages,
to grieve for what they have lost
in their life by agreeing to simply
be involved in money and facts.
This is a long process --
learning to grieve --
and poetry is helpful in doing that.
When asked just why we are listening,
Bly quickly answers: "Because we have to
listen to each other! That's what is
really meant by depth in human beings."
When asked how he hopes to be remembered,
Bly answers at first in a light way:
"Oh, I don't care." Then quotes
from one of his more cryptic poems:
"Don't hope for what will never come.
Give up hope, dear friends.
The joists of life are laid on the wind…"
They wrote to me and said something about it,
and I said that if it doesn't involve
any work, I'll do it.
(On being named Minnesota's first Poet Laureate)"
— Robert Bly