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An extract from Clearing the Space: a why of writing

The word "play". A word used to describe a dramatic performance, a more open and supple word than the word theatre which holds the drama and mystery, but not the fun or the irreverent, anarchic,innocent and childful qualities - the light qualities that rest in the word play.

The polish painter Marc Chagall said, "Painting should never be work". How enlightening are those words. What relief they give us. When I read those words of Chagall I felt relief, and the rediscovery of a truth known, but partly buried as I progressed in life and in writing. By progress, I mean I've produced more and lived longer, which does not necessarily mean progress, a condition that I have doubts about. I have been, and still am, uncomfortable calling the writing of poetry work. This is akin to the discomfort and presumption in calling oneself a poet. Calling poetry my work is putting a limit on Poetry itself. Poetry aims at the sacred, in its fullest sense. Our aim is to make a whole poem, that is therefore holy, full of all the senses, all humanity, all intellect, all spirit, with rhythms that move effortlessly - to be sublime and most fresh. Poetry cannot be limited just by the title work, though work is a necessary part of its creation, but it is only a part. The title poet is an honour bestowed. We aspire and hope to become artists, but all we can achieve in the moment we occupy, is to try to make, as best we can, a poem, a story, a play, a song, a dance, a painting, a sculpture.

When we play we become open to the imagination. We allow our imagination free play - play promotes freedom, engages the heart, prevents us taking our selves too seriously. Play allows creativity to live and loosens our bonds. We lose ourselves and it is then we are most likely to touch the deepest core and find sources we have no knowledge of, in the unconscious that is released by playing.

Plato had this to say on poetry, "The poet is a lightsome thing, a winged thing, a holy thing." Light winged and holy. Poems should not lie heavy on us, but give us wing. They should fly, yet be made whole. Which is holy. Full of themselves. Complete. Themselves.

Anne Le Marquand Hartigan 1996


Bookcover: Clearing the space
Clearing the Space
by Anne Le Marquand Hartigan
Salmon Poetry
1 897648 92 8
R.R.P: £4.99

To purchase this book visit Salmon Poetry.com

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