Monday, January 19, 2009

Craft and Artistry

My brother works in wood. It's an ancient craft, shaping the material from other living things into forms, tools, atrifacts that can enhance and change the way we experience living. With his hands, his knowledge of the material he shapes, and his understanding of all the tools available to him, he builds large furniture pieces, small toys and boxes, intricate little puzzles.

I am awed by the things he can create; he is a maker. And yet he doesn't see that what he does is so much like what I do. I am a writer, a poet.

Writing poetry is not that different; much of it, too, depends upon a craftsman's understanding of the materials at hand and the tools he uses. Rather than different types of wood, he depends on ideas and emotions, things that are perhaps more ephemoral bot no less alive. Rather than chisels and saws, the poet uses grammar and imagery to cut and shape.

It bothers me when a new writers entrusts me with some work and I find they have little or no understanding of the materials they are trying to shape, no familiarity with the dance of noun and verb, the rich cloth of adjectives and the swirl of adverbs, the marvelous magic of clauses and phrases. And then to refuse to see that writing, especially poetry, is much more than taking what is inside and putting it outside. That is when the work begins, the crafting and shaping.

Every artist has to know his craft intimately. Especially a poet.

1 comment:

annaken said...

Good Morning Jefferson,

I, too, admire people who can do things with their hands. There are many art forms which enhance people's lives. Although I have never met this gentleman, his art is very tangible and hands on and brings much delight to people who are priviledged to own one of his creations.

In my family group, my son-in-law, his mother, and my nephew are artists. Faith Wood Breen, who has now passed away, has done portrait work of some famous people plus she did artistic rendering of the east coast.

While I love nature, I have no ability to paint these scenes, much to my sorrow. I try to compensate by taking photographs.

Each person has a gift,some find their gift early in life, some in later years. All gifts need to be developed and shaped and perfected and each person is at a different stage of that development, don't you think?

Your brother's gift is his wonderful ability to work with wood and make beauty out of that.

Your gift is the use of words.

All gifts should be used to bring happiness to others on their path of life. That is my opinion.

I enjoyed the pictures and words on your blog today.