My big stack of essays came from a class I took once at Sarah Lawrence College back in the 1990s, a class on reading and writing poetry essays and we also did a Wen Fu project, which is basically a set of ars poetica poems or poems about writing poems, essentially a poetry essay in poetry form. Suzanne Gardiner taught the class and I loved it. But not all the essays where technically academic essays. Some were news articles and book chapters.
Here is an example of one of the pieces that defies categorization, a more creative pieces about the creative process, almost a memoir about process. It’s short and I probably find it more interesting now than I did back then when I first read it in my 20s. What an unusual way to explain poetry, of being “tired of beauty” and then falling for it anyway or like a rezzcipe…and how its all delivered almost like from a barfly bending your ear over a night of regrets and hard booze. The best part:
“I’m kind of a conceptual storyteller. In fact, I’m kind of a conceptual liver. I prefer the cookbook to thee actual meal. Feeling bores me. That’s why I write poetry. In poetry you just give the instructions to the reader and say, “Reader, you go on from here.” And what I like about poetry is its readers, because those are giving people. I mean, those are people you can trust to get the job done. They pull their own weight. If I had to have someone at my back in a dark alley, I’d want it to be a poetry reader.”