Awhile ago when I began experimenting with sketching, I also began writing by hand (rather than typing) notes and rough drafts of poems. A habit I had gotten away from years ago. This is another page from my ongoing Poetry Notebook.
For the poet, place provides:
Place is poetry and poetry is place.
ClimbingSky started life as MontanaWriter with good reason. Montana more than any other place influences my poetry. It is where my perspective, sound, space, music, voice, and rhythm come from.
Our family moved to Montana in 1972. I was 12. For the first six years of my life we had lived in California, for the next six we had lived in Eastern Washington.
The perspective, sound, space, music, voice, and rhythm of those years was “Western.” Open spaces, the way people talked, land, sky, mountains….
Hence, when I moved to a small town in Montana at age 12, I was not moving into something “different” than what I had grown up with, I was simply moving into something that was “more Western” than the Westerness I had always been a part of.
Age 12 is also the time I began to read literature worth the remembering: Hemingway, Steinbeck, Frost…. For is not the age 12, the age that we first step through the boundary of Eden into the fallen world?
The themes and language of my poetry flow like a mountain creek from the Western Montana of my youth. Townsend, Montana, and Mount Baldy are my Sligo and my Ben Bulben (Yeats).
Sligo and Ben Bulben are “ancient” and alive with faeries and mythologies. The Missouri River valley of my youth and the foothills and mountains that tower above it are old in a different way. The people who first gave the place its first names and meanings were wiped out a century ago. Their history, as old as that of Megalithic Ireland is largely forgotten by those who now “own” what the indigenous peoples “sold” with their blood.
But the history is there for those who care to look. A buffalo jump, a pictograph, a teepee ring, buffalo bones, a curve in the river that would have been a good crossing point, a clearing that would have been a good campsite. Ghosts and spirits and gods moving through the lodgepole pines, whispering in the high mountain air.