creative growth. Another phase is to have a divine mind that Rumi achieved; yet not detached from worldly realities. The divine mind is anchored in a heart that sees, understands and feels the sufferings of this world.
Q: Are there any other writing projects aside from the Ten Thousand Lines that you've been working on lately?
EC: I am working on much shorter poems now. Pure bliss!
Q: What is the difference between your writing before – for example on the collection Phoenix and Other Poems – and during the Ten Thousand Lines?
EC: “Prophesy,” that’s what I tell starting poets. Poetry is more than measure, cadence, and rhyme. Like an architect who sketches a building design, a poet draws his destiny with words. Words are very powerful, more powerful than people often think.
My first collection, Phoenix and Other Poems, which I classify as my rock solid juvenile phase, is composed of poems which are actually self-fulfilling prophecies. The second collection, The Occasions of Air, Fire, Water, Earth, accomplishes a similar end, but it is in this col- lection where the reader may see the poet immersing himself in human life and situations. In the non-tradi- tional epic, Ten Thousand Lines Project for World Peace, the poet challenges the limits of language, form and the human spirit.
Q: Few are poets who possess a distinct voice such as yours. Most of them follow the standards dictated by the literary establishment and the prevailing criticism of the day. If you would have to express your own, what do you think should be the definition and purpose of poetry?
EC: Poetry is the soul made visible. Ultimately, it should also be tangible, that’s why I believe poems should be published in a book, to make them tangible. There is magic in holding a book of poems. It is a beautiful expe- rience that should be enjoyed by everyone.
Q: How does reading a poem aloud enhance the value of the piece?
EC: Writing the poem and reading the poem aloud require different processes, as they are two distinct kinds of art. There are only a few poets who can read their own poems beautifully. Maybe the reason for this paradox is most poets are too attached to their poems. One must enjoy a certain aesthetic distance from the work to be able to deliver a good performance. Dylan Thomas and T.S Eliot are examples of two great oral interpreters of their own poems.
Hearing the poem being read aloud definitely enhances the value of the poem. From mere apprecia- tion of its textual dimension, the listener gets to enjoy the sonic qualities of the poem as well.
Q: In a poem as spontaneous as the Ten Thousand Lines have you experienced the temptation of losing con- trol of yourself and violating that appropriate aesthetic distance?
EC: Many times, Alvin, the reason I had to delete scores of lines in certain instances, sometimes even more than a hundred lines. It was always painful, although
Q: Eliot indeed managed to avoid that devouring attachment to his poems but isn't he too impersonal?
EC: Eliot was too detached from his work indeed, one friend even said, “Eliot’s art is so dead.”
It was only recently that I found myself really enjoying his poetry; his superlative independence from his art impresses me.
Eliot’s subtle attack on William Blake came as no sur- prise. Blake has been part of my studies. The latter had a very clear vision of his art, and so was Eliot. I love Blake for his pureness, while I admire Eliot for his wit. Both serve their purposes in the empire of poetic art. Although both poets are worlds apart, both have successfully main- tained and sustained their individual mystic. Mystic is what makes an artist a beautiful fellow creature.
Q: For a poet who has surely expended much of his energies on a work of this proportion, what did you feel when you became finally certain that you had just set down its last line back in March 2012?
EC: Liberation. God’s love was overflowing through me. I knew I just accomplished the first step in fulfillment of His plan. I was tempted to think though that finally I could already start with my own life. But, what life? I have already surrendered my life to the Ultimate Poetic. From the moment I penned the first line of the epic, it was inevitable – I was already His poem.
An excerpt from the the Ten Thousand Lines Project for World Peace
- Lines 1 to 27 -
There into one holy sound The supreme touch quickening Poet magnifique, word-tamer, Projecting the motion-led voice, Into the dawning of ten thousand lines, Such rare treat from the poet-spider, The abstract juggernaut, tip-toeing On the breeze of Zion,
In the tiger year the birthing poem, At blue moons, mapping the paths To ancient lands, as dreams trace Back the footprints of a lost people To the wind-roads of songs.
Bliss vibrates from the sinless temple, Where the written is the unwritten Motion of sky and earth, Love, the impossible kiss of lyrics Upon the impossible lips the verbs Create flowering, flowing the embracing Sea, nectarine by one diamondine Universe. If to the abstract There shall be whirls of emotion, If in the tracks there shall Be whims of Peace, Let this hand, my hand Shape one joyous light From the reversed night.
Copyright (C) 2010, Edwin M. Cordevilla PAGE 42 ∙ Year I ∙ Issue #1
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