Borrowing and Stealing: The Paradox of Finding Your Own Ideas and Voice through the Masters
This session will present case studies (a fund of particulars) in poetry that show how an artist begins with attention and homage to another artist and moves into a synthesis of his/her own voice with that of the master (a father or mother poet). This process has vast implications in terms of the importance of influence, attention, and of the role of reading in our own development as well as the centrality of imitation and of becoming acquainted with the tradition. The hearten- ing news is that we can enter the tradition at any point and make our way forward and back - there is no ONE place to start. The genealogy of poets show us this--Whitman studied the psalms and Hughes studied Whitman. The system works backward and forward, and the voices become a chorus or a cloud of witnesses with whom we can sup.