"How to be a (Photographer)"
This morning I went out for a quick shooting session in the morning fog along Lake Michigan. On the way home the program "Living with Faith" was airing on National Public Radio and featured a poet named Wendell Berry, who read the following poem:
How to be a Poet
(to remind myself)
Make a place to sit down.
Sit down. Be quiet.
You must depend upon affection, reading, knowledge, skill-
more skill than you have-
inspiration, work, growing older, patience,
for patience joins time to eternity.
Any readers who like your poems,
doubt their judgment.
Breathe with unconditional breath
the unconditioned air.
Shun electric wire.
Live a three-dimensional life;
stay away from screens.
Stay away from anything that obscures the place it is in.
There are no unsacred places;
there are only sacred places and desecrated places.
Accept what comes from silence.
Make the best you can of it.
Of the little words that come out of the silence,
like prayers prayed back to the one who prays,
make a poem that does not disturb the silence from which it came.
While listening to the poem I was struck by how perfectly it translated to photography, and likely to many other arts. I am finding it profoundly inspiring and wanted to share it with you all.
Thanks for sharing this, Dan.
I enjoy reading that. Thanks!
Thanks Dan, I like it. A very APUG sort of poem.
Yeah, I read it and I would say that it could be the epitomy of what is needed to be any sort of artist.
The inspiration comes from the quiet places. We all need to have the patience and peace to hear it, the courage to follow it and the skill to take advantage of it, to both use and be used by it.
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Wendell Berry is a wonderful man; I am extremely fortunate to have met him a few times. He is very wise. And because of his interest in the culture of place and its new relevance to the (new) local foods movement, his work is finally enjoying the prominence it deserves.
Thanks for posting the 'how-to' poem.
Copy this poem and carry it. If you get a chance to get to the "Grand Portal" in the near future...stop, rest and read it again on the "beach".
I think a whole University course could be based on these few lines.
(not so much of a stretch... I once taught three weeks on the 23 or so words of Sarah Norcliffe Cleghorn's The Golf Links :rolleyes: That was the same year I labeled the door, window, walls, ceiling and floor of my classroom and made my juniors write papers on the metaphorical significance of each. I was a brutal lit teacher)
Last edited by Toffle; 06-13-2010 at 10:37 PM. Click to view previous post history.
Tom, on Point Pelee, Canada
Ansel Adams had the Zone System... I'm working on the points
system. First I points it here, and then I points it there...
That talks to me as well, but one can't miss the irony of line six and seven of the second stanza being posted to an internet forum. Obviously, we're all not there yet.
Indeed However it is an inspiring poem. Much food for thought.
Originally Posted by phaedrus