Poetry as Bread

Struggling with the daily writing practise, poetry class and getting lost in the forest, I came upon this oasis:

We have been taught that only poetry of extremely high quality is poetry at all; that poetry is a big deal, and you have to be a pro to write it, or, in fact, to read it. This is what keeps a few poets and many, many english departments alive.

That’s fine, but I was after something else: the poem not as fancy pastry but as bread; the poem not as masterpiece but as life-work.

-LeGuin, Dancing on the Edge of the World

This is it

 This is my book, such as it is. I tell people I am writing one. Then, I give some kind of disclaimer. I’m doing my best to put it out there in whatever state, as itself. If I’m honest there’s a lot of editing that goes into it before anyone else sees it. Therein lies the next life goal.

Murakami…a reader who simply became a writer, a solitary international…

I’m a loner. I don’t like groups, schools, literary circles. At Princeton, there was a luncheonette, or something like that, and I was invited to eat there. Joyce Carol Oates was there and Toni Morrison was there and I was so afraid, I couldn’t eat anything at all! Mary Morris was there and she’s a very nice person, almost the same age as I am, and we became friends, I would say. But in Japan I don’t have any writer friends, because I just want to have . . . distance….

During the four years of writing The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle, I was living in the U.S. as a stranger. That “strangeness” was always following me like a shadow and it did the same to the protagonist of the novel. Come to think of it, if I wrote it in Japan, it might have become a very different book.

My strangeness while living in the U.S. differed from the strangeness I feel while in Japan. It was more obvious and direct in the U.S. and that gave me a much clearer recognition of myself. The process of writing this novel was a process similar to making myself naked, in a way….
I think that my job is to observe people and the world, and not to judge them. I always hope to position myself away from so-called conclusions. I would like to leave everything wide open to all the possibilities in the world.

I prefer translating to criticism, because you are hardly required to judge anything when you translate. Line by line, I just let my favorite work pass through my body and my mind. We need critiques in this world, for sure, but it’s just not my job.
Haruki Murakami, The Art of Fiction No. 182