On Being a Poet, and a thanks to Chen Chen

poetry  Something the poet Chen Chen wrote on his Twitter feed (https://twitter.com/chenchenwrites) really struck me.

being a functioning person while being a poet: i am simultaneously trying to be less overwhelmed by the world & more.

(Quote used with his permission.)

As a highly sensitive person, a true HSP, I completely relate to his idea that we are sensitive, it helps us be poets, but we can be overwhelmed by the world! How do we function while being a poet?  It’s our sense of wonder, our amazing joy in small delights that are NOT small to us that can help us so much as poets.  I know for me, nothing is small.  I feel all deeply and personally.

How I survive is partly having a career in teaching, where I must be grounded, deal with students’ issues and concerns, grade those papers promptly, listen deeply, plan great lessons, and more.  Teaching has truly grown my heart and mind.

But as an HSP, I have been so deeply disturbed by some of my students’ stories of trauma and loss.  Can that go into my poetry too while not being exploitative or disrespectful? May I write in their voices, for I do listen so closely to my students.

This is another issue I need to and want to learn more about: how to respect the voice of others, share it, and not be appropriating their voices?

I’m learning, for I do have some small gift writing persona poems and dramatic monologues.

Right now this HSP is checking her class rosters several times a day, hoping her classes run!  I’m also thinking about the lessons learned from being in the Rocky Mountains for nearly a week (oh! I am so weak is one big lesson!), and thinking about how much I missed my trees here, back in the flat land.

And I am SHOCKED that I handled the heights of the plane ride and the tram ride up to 9000 feet. In fact, I am more afraid to go downtown by myself than I was of the plane ride or the tram! And I am afraid of heights.

But that’s another story, a story of being OVERWHELMED by all the sights and sounds of a big city, the sights and sounds of a great cultural city that can also truly overwhelm an HSP like myself.  I notice how tall the buildings are, how many people are on the streets, etc. etc. and feel overwhelmed sometimes. Sometimes just so alive by the hum and activities–so much to see, to do, to hear, to experience. The great museums, the great music, all that LIFE!

Best to you all, and thanks for reading.

Charles White: a Retrospective at the Art Institute of Chicago

soldier

(Soldier, Charles White)

A Charles White retrospective is at the amazing Art Institute of Chicago right now through September third.  The Art Institute, on its web page Charles White at the Art Institute of Chicago, states:

Charles White, born and educated in Chicago, was one of the preeminent artists to emerge during the city’s Black Renaissance of the 1930s and 1940s. A passionate mural and easel painter and superbly gifted draftsman, White powerfully interpreted African American history, culture, and lives in striking works that nevertheless have a more universal resonance

I’m not an artist, nor am I an art critic.  But what comes to mind and to heart while viewing his works was all of this: dignity, pain, suffering, caring, compassion, strength. These are not art words, and I cannot speak about what White used to create such art. But I can speak to how White;s artwork affected me, a highly sensitive poet.  I would like to find words deserving of the near reverence I felt in the presence of art that is not only great, but art from a great person. White felt people were basically good and his works are imbued with love and respect as well as with a painful knowledge of social injustice, racism, poverty, separation, loss.

I almost feel I should step back, use few words, and just show the photos, simple photos taken by my little phone camera. You can see I am not a professional or even a good photographer, but I believe you can sense the greatness of White’s art work even from my phone photos.

If you can get to the Art Institute of Chicago, I would highly recommend seeing this retrospective.  I will go again, and perhaps find some words. If you cannot get to the AIC, look here for insights and images: http://www.artic.edu/exhibition/charles-white-retrospective.

White’s creative compassion stays with me.

Charles White, a retrospective, now at the AIC through September 3rd. 

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http://m.artic.edu/node/7905

— from the blog of Fred Klonsky  Please note: this is NOT my original blog, but reblogged 

 

— from the blog of Fred Klonsky

It is not something we often see on Michigan Avenue. Hanging over the entrance of the Art Institute of Chicago is a giant banner with a monumental image of Gideon, a Black portrait drawn in black and white, with glowing black skin, wide nose and wide lips. It’s style is classical realism. The banner announces the […]

via A Charles White retrospective on the centenary of his birth in Chicago. — Fred Klonsky

ChicagoReader.com article on CPS scandals

pexels-photo-459846     I felt sick reading this article: Chicago public schools scandals

Behind the scandal are kids, living, breathing kids in schools.   Heartbreaking that kids are denied needed special ed. services and that all are denied clean schools.  Oh, let’s not forget the safety aspect of sexual abuse scandals!  Are we creating a generation of traumatized youth from our schools, when schools should be a safe place?

Read more if you can stomach it.  If I feel sick just reading this, what is happening to the students, faculty, and staff that work in these schools?