WHAT IS INFLUENCE?

MARCUS SLEASE POETRY, NOMADIC SURREALISM, the green monk

Super happy to have my poem “Feedback” in Poetry magazine. It is part of my manuscript The Green Monk, forthcoming from Boiler House Press in November 2018. It was composed while ingesting everything written by the great Lydia Davis. I can’t help wondering if some of her approach to writing leaked in there, but also other writers of course, there are always others, and also whatever was happening around me, the influences, how can we frame them. What is influence anyway? It accrues and accrues, but does it disappear? Who gets to decide who is influenced by whom? Readers feel some influence of maybe something else they have read or watched or experienced, the writer feels the influence of some writers. We need an audience to hold up the mirror. And also the artist is a mirror. We are all mirrors reflecting each other’s influences. Of course art, like everything, never occurs in a vacuum, it is interdependent. You can choose how you want to frame the influences. Forget about the isolated romantic genius. Originality is a collaging of influences.

It seems maybe there is red hot writing and there is cool writing, and then there is lukewarm. Or maybe a better way to think of it is some distance. This poem “Feedback” has some distance, via the style and framing of feedback, although the content has some fire, some lyricism. It was partly collaged from feedback on a friend’s slipstream novel in progress. William May and I met in Greensboro, North Carolina, during our days in the MFA programme, and have kept in touch, on and off, since 2005. His novel in progress is a nomadic surrealist journey, with many great mysteries. Without worrying about creating a poem I collaged some of the feedback I wrote for his novel, added some more layers, allowing for some chance operations, and called it feedback.

Isn’t feedback a kind of influence. I am also thinking of feedback in terms of sound.  That rumbling, whining, or whistling sound resulting from an amplified or broadcast signal (such as music or speech) that has been returned as input and retransmitted. As in a feedback loop. Our brains are a feedback loop. How do we get out of the loop. That wheel of samsara, as Buddhists call it. And what about the connection between the inside and outside. We have a brain. It goes and goes. And also there are various stimuli happening outside of us, all around us. What do we do with it? Does all it get in there, either into the so-called conscious or unconscious brain. The surrealists, inspired by the breakthroughs of Freud, wanted to tap into the unconcious and create a holistic person. It was an optimistic avant garde movement. How many layers does it take to get to the centre of the onion. I don’t know what is behind our layers, or our words.

Feedback” is out there in the world now, echoing, maybe reverberating with all the other sounds of poetry, and I hope some folks find some use with it. I hope the words are touchstones for the creation of a reader’s journey.

And yet, how much time do we have, really, to read words. It is my main activity, in terms of my art and life, and yet I get so tired of them. These words. They are never enough.

 

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POETRY MAGAZINE Reading List: November 2017

MARCUS SLEASE POETRY, the green monk

My poem “Feedback” (part of my manuscript The Green Monk forthcoming from Boiler House Press) was published in the November issue of Poetry magazine. Nice!

Folks published in the Nov issue of Poetry magazine were asked for readings lists.

I’ve added mine.

Some Tim Atkins, Jeff Hilson, Colin Herd, bill bissett, Victoria Brown, Isabel Waidner, Judson Hamilton, Richard Brammer, Joanne Kyger, Edouard Leve, Diane di Prima, and Ben Lerner. Check out the reading lists over here:


https://www.poetryfoundation.org/harriet/2017/11/reading-list-november-2017

#timatkins #jeffhilson #colinherd #billbissett#victoriabrown #isabelwaidner #judsonhamilton #richardbrammer#joannekyger #edouardleve #dianediprima #benlerner #boilerhousepress#dostoyevskywannabe

EILEEN MYLES AND GETTING PAID

NY School Poetry

Eileen Myles gives me hope. Not necessarily for money for poetry. Although I did get paid £50 for my poems in Tin House and that felt somehow a little validating. Even more than the money was having poems in Tin House and the generosity of poet friends. Eileen Myles, like many I would imagine, gives me hope with her openness. And for feeling less ashamed and guilty for being a poet from working class background etc. etc. I want to feel less guilty for writing and art and to stop thinking I should be doing my real paid work when I am writing and doing art yadda yadda. Working class ethos. I can’t afford to slum it and be a radical East or South London art school hipster (no safety net or backup whatsoever) but I feel the radical ideas of the middle class artists and thinkers and art school graduates. At least some of it. It is nice to see someone with a similar working class background get some cultural capital. Although I am realising it is not common. Still seems there is a hard to climb class system in publishing and the art world. But also grateful, somehow, to end up going to university and to have time, minus the guilt and feeling unworthy, unentitled and like an imposter, and via very simple living with no children, car, pension, property, and piddly savings, to do the art. I want to feel less guilty abut taking up space in the world. It all depends where you are looking and what you are comparing yourself to. I am lucky.

http://www.poetryfoundation.org/harriet/2016/04/times-ive-got-paid/