Posts Tagged ‘yunus emre’

Billy Collins discusses the value of getting to the end of a poem and what can happen afterwards

April 2, 2015

As we’ve seen in a recent post about the writing and teaching of poetry, Billy Collins wants the poem he’s writing to complete itself, to come to an end. When he writes a poem, he says meaning is the furthest thing on his mind. He’s just trying to get to the next line, to arrive at the ending. “It’s not a search for insight, particularly. It’s a search to be over with.”

In this interview with Ginger Murchison at the 9th Annual Palm Beach Poetry Festival, Billy Collins reveals more about the ending of a poem, how what happens is even more important than the last line of the poem.

During the interview, Ginger Murchison mentions something Billy Collins had alluded to about the end of a poem, and asks him:

What happens at the end of the poem? I want to know about that white space after the last period, for the poet and the reader. You said your poem goes towards somewhere. How do you see that as being more important than even the last line of the poem, that space at the end?

He answers her by describing the significance of the white space:

Well, the white space at the end is just like the white space around the rest of the poem. It stands for silence. And maybe the white space after the end of the poem is a little more silent than the other silences. I think of a poem as an interruption of silence.

He also talks about how satisfying it can be to find the ending to a poem. The implication being, the silence that follows the ending as something new that is created within the writer and the reader.

Once you find it, it’s incredibly satisfying. You found something that didn’t exist before. That the poem brings, calls into existence, through a series of steps, it gains some kind of ground, and out of that ground, there occurs something that had never existed before. It comes as a sort of gain, surprise.

I certainly can relate to that, and described in the previous post how certain poems completed themselves in ways I hadn’t imagined. When that happens, and when a poem enlivens a silence, within and between both the poet and the reader, or listener, it creates a deep feeling of fulfillment.

After hearing a discussion with Bill Moyers and 3 well-known poets on the Diane Rehm show discussing the creation of a poem and the effect it had on an audience when recited, I was inspired to write a poem about this mysterious creative process as something elemental, transcendental.

Poetry—The Art of The Voice, describes the source, course, and goal of poetry springing from and returning to silence, through a poet’s inner voice or consciousness, to a listener’s heart and mind. It also relates to the notion of a writer finding and expressing his or her own voice as a poet.

Another poem I wrote shows how Silence ultimately speaks for itself. See Telling the Story of Silence by Ken Chawkin.

Creation comes about through sounds and silences, expressions and gaps, within which the dynamics of transformation occur. See Coalescing Poetry: Creating a Uni-verse.

For a more detailed explanation of these dynamics in language and creation, see Singing Image of Fire, a poem by Kukai, with thoughts on language, translation, and creation, and Yunus Emre says Wisdom comes from Knowing Oneself — a Singularity that contains the Whole.

George Plimpton interviewed Billy Collins for Paris Review

As referenced by Ginger Murchison, George Plimpton had interviewed Billy Collins for The Paris Review in 2001 after news of his appointment as the new poet laureate by the Library of Congress. He would go on to serve two terms, 2001-2003. Although published 14 years ago, this interview is definitely worth reading:  Billy Collins, The Art of Poetry No. 83.

The interview opens with Plimpton asking Collins how he starts to write a poem. He says he doesn’t write that regularly, much of his time is waiting and watching; he’s vigilant. But when he’s engaged he usually writes a poem quickly, in one sitting.

I think what gets a poem going is an initiating line. Sometimes a first line will occur, and it goes nowhere; but other times—and this, I think, is a sense you develop—I can tell that the line wants to continue. If it does, I can feel a sense of momentum—the poem finds a reason for continuing. The first line is the DNA of the poem; the rest of the poem is constructed out of that first line. The first few lines keep giving birth to more and more lines.

That makes perfect sense. He doesn’t know where he’s going and hopes the poem is one step ahead of him, holding his interest, leading him down the trail to that elusive mysterious ending. I love the different metaphors he uses to describe the pen as a tool to help him discover that something he’s not yet aware of.

Like most poets, I don’t know where I’m going. The pen is an instrument of discovery rather than just a recording implement. If you write a letter of resignation or something with an agenda, you’re simply using a pen to record what you have thought out. In a poem, the pen is more like a flashlight, a Geiger counter, or one of those metal detectors that people walk around beaches with. You’re trying to discover something that you don’t know exists, maybe something of value.

He explains how he likes to invite the reader into a poem with something ordinary, then take him or her, and himself to a place he hasn’t been to yet.

I want to start in a very familiar place and end up in a strange place. The familiar place is often a comic place, and the strange place is indescribable except by reading the poem again.

There’s a lot more to the interview, but he concludes humbly by saying that he’s just trying to be a good writer.

No matter what I’m thinking about when I’m writing a poem, no matter what is captivating my attention, all I’m really trying to do is write good lines and good stanzas.

There’s a reason he’s called America’s most popular poet. He has made poetry accessible to millions of Americans. He continues to write, publish, sell books, teach, and is in constant demand to give poetry readings.

It is a delight to read his poetry. His subtle sense of humor puts a smile on my face. It’s also enjoyable to hear him recite his poems. Seemingly ordinary, they give you a unique perspective on things that were previously unimaginable, and that’s refreshing!

See the previous post: Billy Collins suggests more creative ways to respond to poetry than analyzing it to death. Enjoy the poetic genius and humor of Billy Collins reading his poem “January in Paris” and Billy Collins humorously disagrees with Heraclitus showing how to go into the same water twice.

The Library of Congress Web Guides: Billy Collins: Online Resources.

For Emily Dickinson the brain is wider than the sky and deeper than the sea—a finite infinity

August 27, 2014

untapped brain potential

The Brain—is wider than the Sky—
For—put them side by side—
The one the other will contain
With ease—and You—beside—

The Brain is deeper than the sea—
For—hold them—Blue to Blue—
The one the other will absorb—
As Sponges—Buckets—do—

The Brain is just the weight of God—
For—Heft them—Pound for Pound—
And they will differ—if they do—
As Syllable from Sound—

See Emily Dickinson’s Solitude is Vedic Nivartatwam and Emily Dickinson succinctly describes the eternal nature of Love in this short but powerful poem.

Read how Emily Dickinson wanted her poems to look on the page, described in Rebecca Mead’s Back of the Envelope in The New Yorker: Poesy Dept. | January 27, 2014 Issue.

See my playful response to this: Poem: For—Emily D— From—Kenny C—.

(more…)

Yunus Emre says Wisdom comes from Knowing Oneself — a Singularity that contains the Whole

April 1, 2012

I tried to make sense of the Four Books*,
until love arrived,
and it all became a single syllable.

(*Torah, Psalms, Gospel, Quran, considered by Islamic tradition to be four Divinely revealed books.)

From #21, page 43, chapter II, The Way of Love, in The Drop That Became The Sea, Lyric Poems of Yunus Emre. Translated from the Turkish by Kabir Helminski and Refik Algan.

This theme of the single syllable, the first letter of the alphabet, containing everything, is reiterated in this poem #26, page 52, chapter III, Necessary Lessons, where wisdom is equated with Self-knowledge.

Wisdom comes from knowing wisdom.
Wisdom means knowing oneself.

If you do not know yourself,
what is the point of reading books?

The point of reading is to know something real.
Since you have read and do not know it,
reading is useless.

Don’t say, “I’ve read, I’ve learned.”
Don’t say, “I’ve worshipped a lot.”

If you don’t accept the Perfect Man,
all other works are futile.

The meaning of the Four Books is clear and complete.
It shows itself in the first letter, aleph.

If you don’t know what aleph is,
what do you know of reading?

You recite every syllable of the alphabet.
You say “Aleph,” but how little it means.

Yunus Emre says:
“Hey Hoja, you’ve made a thousand pilgrimages
but never been welcomed by a single heart.”

(more…)

What Turkish Sufi poet Yunus Emre realized — everything was found within his cosmic body

February 28, 2012

Ever come across a poem that encapsulates what you’ve read lately or thought about in the past? I found one today in a book I was sampling on Amazon, The Drop That Became the Sea: Lyric Poems, a collection of poems written by Yunus Emre, (1240-1321), translated by Kabir Helminski and Refik Algan.

Yunus Emre was the first in a great tradition of Turkish Sufi troubadours who celebrated the Divine Presence as the intimate Beloved and Friend. Called the greatest folk poet in Islam, the songs of this Sufi dervish are still popular today.

He was a contemporary of Rumi, who lived in the same region of Anatolia. Rumi composed his collection of stories and songs for a well-educated urban circle of Sufis, writing primarily in the literary language of Persian. Yunus Emre, on the other hand, traveled and taught among the rural poor, singing his songs in the Turkish language of the common people.

A story is told of a meeting between the two great souls: Rumi asked Yunus Emre what he thought of his great work the Mathnawi. Yunus Emre said, “Excellent, excellent! But I would have done it differently.” Surprised, Rumi asked how. Yunus replied, “I would have written, ‘I came from the eternal, clothed myself in flesh, and took the name Yunus.'” That story perfectly illustrates Yunus Emre’s simple, direct approach that has made him so beloved.

The poem I’m referring to begins, We entered the house of realization. Inside they find the earth and sky, night and day, the planets, the many veils in the body, what the scriptures say, and more. In that realized state, the poet witnesses everything inside the body; the infinite within the finite, the eternal within the temporal. His body is cosmic, an expression of totality.

It reminded me of the work of Maharaja Adhiraj Rajaraam (Professor Tony Nader, MD, PhD), a neuroscientist and Vedic scholar. Under the guidance of His Holiness Maharishi Mahesh Yogi, Professor Nader showed how the individual is cosmic.

The body, he says, is a manifestation of Natural Law—the Veda and Vedic Literature—the underlying blueprint that creates the individual body and the cosmic body, the Universe, a microcosm of the macrocosm. Yatha pinde tatha brahmande. See link to video at end of this article.

One aspect of the Vedic Literature is Jyotish, Vedic Astrology. Dr. Tony Nader shows a precise one-to-one relationship between the fundamental structures and functions of human physiology (Individual life) and the fundamental structures of Natural Law (Cosmic life). These fundamental structures of Natural Law connect individual intelligence with cosmic intelligence — the basic structures of the human nervous system with their cosmic counterparts. In this chart, the nine Grahas (planets), are shown where they are found in the different aspects of our physiology and their influences.

This first book by Dr. Nader, Human Physiology — Expression of Veda and the Vedic Literature, discusses all 40 aspects of the Vedic Literature and their expressions in the body.

Over a decade in the making, Dr. Nader’s new book, Ramayan in Human Physiology, reveals an understanding of the underlying unity that makes us human — the eternal reality of the Ramayan in the structure and function of the human physiology. Surprisingly, the Ramayan is not just a mythic tale assigned to an ancient culture in a distant past, but a description of the universal transformations continually taking place within our own bodies. Here is a book preview.

Yunus Emre expresses a similar understanding in poem #4, page 20, chapter I, The Dervish Way, in The Drop That Became The Sea.

We entered the house of realization,
we witnessed the body.

The whirling skies, the many-layered earth,
the seventy-thousand veils,
we found in the body.

The night and the day, the planets,
the words inscribed on the Holy Tablets,
the hill that Moses climbed, the Temple,
and Israfil’s trumpet, we observed in the body.

Torah, Psalms, Gospel, Quran—
what these books have to say,
we found in the body.

Everybody says these words of Yunus
are true. Truth is wherever you want it.
We found it all within the body.

A related example was highlighted by Dr. Nader in a press conference when he referenced ‘Abdu’l-Bahá [quoting The Imam Ali], from The Secret of Divine Civilization: “Dost thou think thyself only a puny form, when the universe is folded up within thee?”

Speaking of microcosm-macrocosm, here is an interesting saying from The Conversations (Maqalat) of Shams of Tabriz (Hazret Shams al-Din of Tabriz), Rumi’s master, which gives you a different perspective on the internal life of a saint:

The microcosm is hidden in the creation of man
and the macrocosm is the outer universe.
But for prophets the outer universe is the microcosm
while the inner universe ıs the macrocosm.

These two videos of Maharishi Mahesh Yogi answering questions from the press: As is the cosmic life, so is the individual life, and I am the Self, I am the body, I am the Veda, I am the universe, I am totality, explain the cosmic significance of these Vedic expressions and their practical applications in our daily lives.

See this New Video: Dr. Tony Nader speaks about the Ramayana in Human Physiology, which explains how the whole body is made of Veda, which also structures the cosmic body, the universe, and how the activities described in the Ramayana are a scientific description of the growth and evolution of the human physiology to it’s fully developed enlightened state.

See Sufi poet Hakim Sanai says transcend belief to enter into the mystery.

See Yunus Emre says Wisdom comes from Knowing Oneself — a Singularity that contains the Whole


%d bloggers like this: