Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Opening the Gates...

I've been reading Jane Hirshfield's remarkable book of essays, Nine Gates: Entering the Mind of Poetry. She is one of my favorite poets and the Buddhist spirituality that lies beneath so much of her work really resonates for me right now.

I don't claim to be a poet, and yet I have written poetry mostly to help open some of my own gates, to make me a better writer. There is something writing poetry does to you, if you are willing to plumb the depths, go to the depths fearlessly, or, if with fear, bravely, to see what you find there. The poetry that changes everything is the poetry that does what Buddhism invites us to do: it looks deeply. And, as Thich Nhat Hanh has written, "Looking deeply requires courage."

The poet must have courage.