Blogging offers a forum for musing about the craft of writing and the events that surround us in a very frustrating and yet exciting time, as we are faced with many issues similar to those of the 1960s: A government that lies to us, neo-colonial incursions into other countries, repression of ideas and serious threats to the well-being of the human race, while offering bread and circuses at home in the form of rampant materialism. A groundswell of protests against authority again reflect the response that was given by youth in the 1960s. Writing once again can explore those moods and present an alternative.
I am looking at the galleys for Chalcedony’s Second Ten Songs and I am totally gassed by the reader’s responses to Chalcedony’s First Ten Songs! Now selecting a few for the new back cover. What in the world what was Chalcedony doing right?
Just received the first in-depth response to Chalcedony – here it is!
"I’m one of those people who never reads the preface, and it took me a couple of references to breasts to realize my perspective was definitely skewed. Back to the preface and… ahhh….
I love how this archetype, as Matson describes Chalcedony, pulls the poet into a lower world of her own deeper wisdom, an initiation almost, into the ancient rites of love, magic and expanded consciousness. Matson’s mind can’t fathom the wild ranges of her awakened senses, and so she has to drag the poet there with images and tastes and smells. I love the story about how Matson couldn’t resist her.
Some of Chalcedony’s First Ten Songs has the exalted flavor of Rumi, who is one of my all-time favorite writers, using the tangible flesh of sensuality to describe the incandescent Mysteries.
Lines I especially loved were:
You think you can put your heart
back in your chest
I’m eating you with strawberries.
I’m sipping you with black tea.
We say "Yes" to the love buried
in a thousand thousand languages.
Do we need
bigger holes for our eyes?
loving you with both her hands.
(which is really what this collection is about, to me)
This is the nothing behind the nothing
from which everything arises.
(… and what more can one really say?)
Sink into the lullaby
flowing between us
deeper than a thousand rivers.
That’s what Matson has written: a lullaby of mystical musings, salted (as it should be) with the grit of the mundane and the human: blackheads and pores and cleaning ladies’ knees. Great juxtapositions, daring journey”
— Cynthia Moore, Berkeley, April 2008
Honesty, I think, was the link common to the very different writers at the Literary Death Match. I listened to every word with moment-to-moment renewed respect, and heard an honesty I aspire to. Andrew’s crystal clear, compact glimpses, Rupert’s passion and brutal pictures of political ca-ca, Justin Chin’s irony and razor humor. Is Sky a genius? Does she have an inspired committee? Superb choices. And the judges were not what they might sound like: they appreciated what they heard, and their analyses gave us easy opportunities to re-experience the work. As layered as poems are, this is a gift. A rare gift. And the "Intangibles" guy, hey, he competed with us, coming up with those surreal stories in response – on the spot! He should have won the prize. An exquisite evening. And I haven’t mentioned how good the MC was.
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