Posts Tagged ‘Keanu Reeves’

Discover Ada Limón, the 24th U.S. Poet Laureate

October 25, 2022

I recently discovered Ada Limón. I found her refreshing and her poetry accessible. She is the author of six poetry collections and is the recipient of fellowships from the Guggenheim Foundation, the New York Foundation for the Arts, the Provincetown Fine Arts Work Center, and the Kentucky Foundation for Women. This past summer she was selected as the 24th U.S. Poet Laureate for 2022-2023.

Here are 3 related sequential videos: a Library of Congress interview, followed by a PBS interview and announcement, and Ada Limón giving her inaugural reading as the 24th Poet Laureate Consultant in Poetry at the Library of Congress. I added a bonus video at the bottom, from 2019—Life of a Poet: Ada Limón.

1. July 12, 2022: Ada Limón: 24th Poet Laureate (19 min)

Ada Limón talks about her poetry and her appointment as U.S. Poet Laureate with Library of Congress Chief Communications Officer Roswell Encina, in the Library’s Poetry Room.

When asked how she writes, Ada explains that composing a poem is an all-body experience for her. She involves all her senses, not just her mind. She is asked what inspires her, and replies: “I find inspiration in so many different things. I always say the muse is, or my muse is the world. It’s everything.”

At 6:45, she expresses the essence of what it means to be a poet.

But I think I’m always amazed by how deep attention can turn into a poem, that deep looking is a way of loving. And it can transform the smallest thing into something of great importance. And no matter how many years I’ve been writing poems and no matter what I’ve done, that is the thing that brings me the most joy, that gives me shivers, the way that looking and attention and really giving your all to something can transform it.

I’m always amazed by how deep attention can turn into a poem, that deep looking is a way of loving…can transform the smallest thing into something of great importance…the thing that brings me the most joy, that gives me shivers, the way that looking and attention and really giving your all to something can transform it. (edited)

Ada Limón, 24th U.S. Poet Laureate

The other side of the equation, of course, is how the poet is also transformed by this process. It is obvious that Ada Limón was meant to be a poet, and now a poet laureate.

But what she said reminds me very much of what Rainer Maria Rilke wrote about this experience. I discovered it in Jane Hirshfield’s book, Nine Gates: Entering the Mind of Poetry, in the chapter on Poetry and the Mind of Indirection, pages 119-120. Rilke gets to the essence of what that deep attention, deep looking (and loving), can bring a devoted poet. Hirshfield writes:

Both readings of Novalis’s aphorism—that an awareness in the things we wish to observe and know, and that the way we come to them matters—enter into a letter from Rilke, sent in the winter of 1920 to Baladine Klossowska, a lover and fellow writer with whom he shared a passionate correspondence.

This next paragraph, translated by Stephen Mitchell, reveals that essential art of deep seeing, and its surprising hidden reward of spiritual transformation.

These Things whose essential life you want to express first ask you. “Are you free? Are you prepared to devote all your love to me . . . ?” And if the Thing sees that you are otherwise occupied with even a particle of your interest, it shuts itself off; it may perhaps give you some slight sign of friendship, or word or a nod, but it will never give you its heart, entrust you with its patient being, its sweet sidereal constancy, which makes it so like the constellations in the sky. In order for a Thing to speak to you, you must regard it for a certain time as the only one that exists, as the one and only phenomenon which, through your laborious and exclusive love, is now placed at the center of the universe, and which, in that incomparable place, is on that day attended by angels.

These Things whose essential life you want to express first ask you. “Are you free? Are you prepared to devote all your love to me . . . ?” … In order for a Thing to speak to you, you must regard it for a certain time as the only one that exists, as the one and only phenomenon which, through your laborious and exclusive love, is now placed at the center of the universe, and which, in that incomparable place, is on that day attended by angels. (edited)

Rainer Maria Rilke in a letter to Baladine Klossowska

Mary Oliver also reiterated this truth: “Attention is the beginning of devotion.” It was her essential message for living a full life. She emphasized: “To pay attention, this is our endless and proper work.” She formularized it in this succinct 3-line poem, Instructions for living a life: Pay attention. / Be astonished. / Tell about it.

Even well-known Canadian actor Keanu Reeves said something similar: “The simple act of paying attention can take you a long way.

For John Keats, this experience of reverse deep seeing was to inhabit a state of being perceived outside himself. It involved negating his Self to become The Other, what he described as ‘negative capability’.

2. Jul 27, 2022: PBS NewsHour: Ada Limón on becoming the new U.S. poet laureate (6 min)

Ada Limón has been named the nation’s new poet laureate. Jeffrey Brown recently met with Limón to learn more about her life’s path, one that includes backyard groundhogs, Kentucky bluegrass, pokeweed and plenty of poetry. It’s part of our arts and culture series, “CANVAS.”

3. Sept 29, 2022: Live! at the Library: U.S. Poet Laureate Ada Limón Opening Reading (56 min)

Award-winning poet Ada Limón will give her inaugural reading as the 24th Poet Laureate Consultant in Poetry at the Library of Congress, with an introduction by Librarian of Congress Carla Hayden. The historic reading marks the beginning of Limón’s laureateship, and it traditionally launches the Library’s literary season.

4. January 30, 2019: Hill Center poetry series, The Library of Congress. (63 min)

Poet Ada Limón discussed her work with Ron Charles, book critic at the Washington Post. It was a rich interactive and intimate conversation, introducing and then commenting on her reading certain meaningful poems from her life. Enjoy Life of a Poet: Ada Limón.

PS: These posts share similar experiences described by Limón and Rilke: Being written—how some poems come through us and Karen Matheson sings ‘Crucán na bPáiste’ with a Gaelic band. Brendan Graham tells how the song chose him as a conduit. Truly beautiful and sad. Also see negative capability, reverse seeing, beauty & the desire for transcendence & unity in life & poetry.

In this post, New York poet laureate Marie Howe reads “Annunciation” to Krista Tippett On Being, she describes how the poem came through her. In another interview included there, she is asked if she thinks of writing as a spiritual act at its core, and answers:

“I do, because it involves a wonderful contradiction, which is, in order for it to happen, you have to be there, and you have to disappear. Both. You know, nothing feels as good as that. Being there and disappearing—being possessed by something else. Something happening through you, but you’re attending it. There are few other things in the world like that, but writing is pretty much a relief from the self—and yet the self has to be utterly there.”

New: What the Living Do—Marie Howe’s ‘letter’ to her brother—an elegy to loss and how she lives with it.

I later discovered this February 16, 2023 interview (71:40) On Being with Krista Tippett: Ada Limón “To Be Made Whole”.

David Lynch on His Lifetime Achievement Award at Plus Camerimage’s International Film Festival

December 15, 2012

Plus Camerimage: David Lynch on His Lifetime Achievement Award

Source: Silas Lesnick | November 28, 2012

davidlynchcamerimage1An attendee of the Plus Camerimage’s International Film Festival of the Art of Cinematography since 2000, legendary filmmaker David Lynch is, this year, the recipient of a Lifetime Achievement Award for now-classic works like Eraserhead, The Elephant Man, Blue Velvet, The Straight Story, Mullholland Dr. and many more.

On location in the town of Bydgoszcz, Poland all this week, caught Lynch shortly after his awards ceremony and had a chance to speak with the artist on a wide range of topics, including factories, nude women, Transcendental Meditation and sparrows. Check out the interview below and, if you missed yesterday’s report, click here to check out a conversation with Keanu Reeves and the fellow filmmakers behind the recent documentary Side By Side.

I’ve extracted the TM-related excerpts from this interview with David Lynch at the Polish International Film Festival on his receiving a lifetime achievement award. It’s a very interesting article on film, the digital revolution, and that sparrow story. The ending is particularly sweet. URL:

CS: What are you working on now?
I’m working on painting and music, lithography, drawing and… [long, long pause] …maybe some other things.

CS: In terms of balancing all of that, what’s a normal day for you?
Get up. Have a coffee. Have a smoke. Then I do my Transcendental Meditation. Then I go to work. It depends on the ideas. I always say, “It depends on the ideas.” But normally in the mornings I work on painting and then, in the afternoon, I work on music. If I’m getting other ideas, I work on those also in the morning and also the afternoon. But I usually end up in the music studio near the end of the day.

CS: I know you’ve been very fond of Transcendental Meditation. What does it actually entail?
Transcendental Meditation is a mental technique. An ancient form of meditation that allows every human being to dive within and experience that deepest level of life. An eternal level. Pure consciousness. The unified field of reality. The Self with a capital “S.” Every time a human being experiences that deepest level, they infuse some of that. They begin to expand consciousness. Whatever size consciousness they had, now it starts expanding. Every human being has consciousness, but not every human being has the same amount. Qualities of consciousness in that deepest level, offer unbounded consciousness. Unbounded creativity. Unbounded happiness. Unbounded love. Unbounded energy. Unbounded peace. You start transcending, experiencing that deepest level, whoa, it’s such a beautiful feeling. You infuse that. You grow in that. The side effect is that negativity starts to lift away from the human being. Anxiety. Stress. Traumatic stress. Sorrow. Depression. Hate, anger and fear start to lift away. You start to work in more and more freedom. Gold coming up from within. Garbage going out. And you are unfolding your full potential as a human being. The full potential of every human being is called enlightenment, which total fulfillment. Total liberation. Infinite bliss. Happiness. Totality. It’s the full potential of a human being and it’s every human being’s birthright to enjoy enlightenment. Transcendental Meditation is not concentration. It’s not contemplation. It’s a unique form of meditation which is easy and effortless. You dive within through deeper levels of mind and intellect. At the border of intellect, you transcend and you experience this eternal level. It’s very, very beautiful. A ten-year-old child can do it and a 110-year old adult can do it. If you can think, it will work. Life gets better and better and better.

davidlynchcamerimage2CS: Would you compare the effects of Transcendental Meditation in any way to seeing a film or experiencing another piece of art that truly moves you?
No. You see a powerful film, it’s like seeing a powerful experience in your life. People have an idea that, number one, all meditations are the same and they’re not. There are surface experiences that can be beautiful. Seeing a great film is a thrill. Some films, I think, can enliven deeper levels just like some music can enliven deeper levels. When you feel, “Whoa, man. That took me someplace.” It was so beautiful. So powerful. I don’t know how it happened, but I felt deep. But Transcendental Meditation takes you to the deepest. The first time and every time. It’s so beautiful. It’s so blissful. It’s so profound. It’s a cosmic experience. In brain research they see that, when a person truly transcends. Experiences the transcendent. The big self. The unified field. Ocean of consciousness. They see a wonderful thing on the EEG machine. The full brain lights up. It’s the only experience in life that does it. Any other thing we do — if we play the piano, it’s this little part of the brain. If we do a math problem, it’s this little part of the brain. We paint a picture, it’s this little part of the brain. But here’s an experience that lights up the whole brain. They call it “total brain coherence”. So it shows you the relationship of the human being to this deepest level of life. This is that level of life what they say never had a beginning. It is and it will be forever. That’s the definition of eternal. It’s not a religion to practice Transcendental Meditation. It’s just a technique that will get you there. It’s like being handed a key to the treasury. It will open that door to the treasury within easily and effortlessly. It’s such an important thing for the human being. So that’s the deal.

CS: Coming out of it, do you know what you’re doing with the rest of the day?
You come out feeling refreshed, happier and more energized. That’s the normal feeling. This thing of bliss is a strange feeling. Bliss takes up where happiness leaves off. Bliss is physical happiness. Emotional happiness, mental happiness, and physical happiness all rolled into one. It’s thick happiness. It’s intense happiness. Every human being was meant to feel that. Mankind was not. made. to. suffer. Bliss is our nature. The individual is cosmic. To have a human physiology is a great, great blessing. It has a full potential. It’s just not taught in schools. More and more people are realizing this. They’re called seekers. They’re looking for something and they don’t know what it is, but they know it’s there. It’s built into the human being. It’s very, very beautiful. When they have this experience, like the Maharishi said, when they transcend, more often than not, the first thing they say is, “Thank you very much.” It’s so beautiful.

The Hollywood Reporter also interviewed David about his win and the debate over digital cinema versus analog: David Lynch: ‘Feature Films Have Become Cheap’ (Q&A).

The Hollywood Reporter: Clips from your films were shown before you received your lifetime-achievement award. What was going through your mind while you watched?

David Lynch: First of all, I think I’ve gotten some lifetime-achievement awards before. But I thought it would be something I’d be kind of separated from. I don’t know what happened, but I was overwhelmed with emotion. I couldn’t believe that I’d done it; it was pretty impressive, really.

THR asks him why he isn’t making anything for television anymore and David gives his quintessential answer. Read the short interview:

%d bloggers like this: