A few days prior to my leaving for my two dot five weeks in Vancouver at UBC for the Poetry Summer Residency initiating my first installment for the Creative Writing MFA program, I had a lovely dinner with a few friends to celebrate the beginning of a new cycle, a dear friend of mine, Carri (who, after assisting me and reading my preparations for the presentation I had decided on making in the workshop: Love poetry as I had chosen that as part of my presentation for the course. Susan Musgrave requested students of the workshop choose a topic listed among a dozen or so in the course outline, some being Revision, Accessible Poetry, Prose poetry, Form in Poetry etc. I chose Love Poetry) knowing I had already studied the Love Poetry and Literature of the Ancient Near East, Ezra Pounds translations as well as the Papyrus Chester Beatty translations of the Love Poems of Ancient Egypt, and the Song of Songs that were commissioned by Solomon to write for Ancient Isreal, Carri not only suggested but insisted I devote myself to specializing specifically in holding workshops on Love Poetry and Erotic Poetry. No hesitation on my part as these works fascinate me. They indicate to me, the expertees and the superior intelligence that a civilization epochs before ours with scribes whom already had claimed within their grasp the marriage between musicality, language and communication something that we continue to do today however; poetry is not in this present day space time continuum, which boggles my mind a bit but save that conversation for another rainy day, a mainstream form of communication or a ritualistic performance made at a weekly ceremonies that celebrate sexuality and/or deities. It is a sub-culture that remains at its core or attempts to remain avant-garde. As I said earlier, Carri suggested I teach Love poetry or specialize in that aspect of poetic form by running workshops and I’m actually going to pursue the idea, hopefully soon, because, once I did my presentation at the residency the specialization of Love Poetry and once I handed out my 12 page essay from 2004 on Ancient Egyptian Love poems and literature of the Ancient Near East as well as my power point presentation on the topic, I was aglow! Now, tonight, after watching the YouTube video of Derrida’s comment of ’empty head’ on Love ‘in general’ I couldn’t help but laugh at the satirical nature of his intense, passionate, yet genuine words while put on the spot by two women interviewers and made to discuss …”tell us about Love”… What he said was he simply could not just talk about Love without being given a particular context and inevitably he blurted out “I have an empty head on love in general…” Hahaha! How cute. How perfectly apt and sweet! Well, I think I could have been a lot less neurotic if it were me but, that’ just my ego talking. ; ) By the end of our 10 days in workshop at UBC, Susan Musgrave thoughtfully, kindly and sweetly presented each of us students with a wonderful gift: A special book. The one I received, I shall treasure forever, Oriental Love Poems by Michelle Lovric. Thank you Susan! for taking me back home to where it matters most. I hope to be writing more of this soon in the coming weeks!
When I wake up alone
At dead of night,
And muse on verse-making,
Even I am a god.
Ochi-ai Naobumi, 1861-1903 Japan
translated by Miyamori Asataro
Oriental Love Poems, Michelle Lovric