Frederick Seidel, poetry, love

On the weekend, I read an article in the NYTimes about Frederick Seidel, whom I’d never heard of.  He reads six of his own poems in a multimedia piece attached to the article. His six readings, which last less than a quarter of an hour, taught me more about what I do wrong when writing than anything I’ve ever come across.

After hearing the readings, I was moved to almost complete silence.  My only reaction was to send links to the article and readings to the man I love.

Overnight, the readings’ effect percolated into my soul.

Thirty-six hours later, I was writing differently.  The first poem I wrote after reading Seidel’s work is called On a string of hours.   If you click on Seidel’s name in the poem, you will link to his readings.

Seidel’s effect on me has nothing to do with my liking his work or not  (I’m not sure about liking him yet).  It has to do with his readings having shown me that he’s freed himself from convention so completely that he can turn around and use it in his poems as a tool.  His unshackled state means he can turn in any direction and make poetic  sense.

The voice for On a string of hours comes from love, as is the case for all poems I write.  The greater freedom from drama it shows comes from what I learned from Seidel’s readings, coupled with the unvarnished honesty that true love brings to my life.



Filed under finished poems

4 responses to “Frederick Seidel, poetry, love

  1. ed

    I shed one tear for he……

    I reserve on yours Heath….will need to go back to it. It seems foreign.
    Seidel stitches me up. ‘Spin’ is to my particular liking, of course. The rest is enormous!

    Thanks for bringing Seidel to our notice.



  2. ed

    I mean ‘seems foreign’ to me…. in what I thought I knew of you. There’s been a shift of psyche?, perhaps just one of us, but almost certainly both of us. I felt it with ‘Tough Love” but I felt it before the two shared poems. It’s never going to be all about writing poetry with me 😉

    imv, we are reaching out with a poem
    and into a seemingly ‘foreign land.’ We are evolving? We are casting our bread on water. It will return, so they say, but as Seidal says, it may go out of our sight, and, unowned, into the view of others. It may get borne on the whim of the tides, but it is still ours and it will, in essence, bring home, which nicely lands me on your string of hours end-word.
    I don’t feel so foreign after all 🙂


  3. Dear Ed

    Yes, I’m changing all the time, and my writing is reflecting that. But the base of me’s not changing, only the style of expression. Learning to write better is like standing in a heavy wind, with me being a piece of sandstone originally covered with vegetation. The wind is killing the vegetation and eroding away the softer parts of stone so the true me is more visible. What motivates this process for me is a need to express love honestly. That means no drama, no romance, no pleasure, unless it’s innate to the moment. Most of the time, love is void of these things. Love is what endures despite boredom and difficulties. We should teach that, and celebrate it in songs, writing and film, but we rarely do. Love is a heavy wind.

    Seidel said in that article that the poem leaves him, becomes foreign to him. Every poem I write leaves me and goes on a journey for months or years before I know what it was saying and if it deserves to be shared. For me, one of the great advantages of blogging poems is the poem’s journey is facilitated by the immediate audience. And that helps me learn about each poem faster, which helps me learn more about writing.

    love, h

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