12 October 2011

visited by genius

i came across this wonderful ted talk by elizabeth gilbert on creativity. (i need to check out more ted talks, really.) she shared some interesting history of greek and roman concepts of genius, where it was believed that individuals were visited by a ‘genius’, rather than being a genius themselves -like gilbert, i totally dig that!

surely, many people today (artists, writers, all creative people) must believe that to some extent anyways. how many could say that their creative work is 100 percent them, and not a product of circumstances, environment and some kind of divinity (including themselves)?

the talk brought to mind one of my favorite erica jong quotes: “the truth is no one knows where poems come from. especially not the poets.”

and reminded me of the following words by czeslaw milosz in ‘a book of luminous things’ (awesome international poetry anthology, you should definitely check it out if poetry is your thing): "Writing is a vocation but many writers experience it also as a curse and a burden. In a way, they feel as if they are serving as instruments to a force alien to them."

these were an intro to ‘in praise of my sister’ by wislawa szymborska, in which “the word ‘poems’ at the end of the lines serves to enhance the weirdness of that occupation”!!

‘poetry reading’ by anna swir also serves to capture the pressure put on poets to talk about all the mysteries of life, death and eternity.

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