Projects are about inputs, about putting things into my head that will help define the output: poetry. Here are my current projects:
When the professor introduced our modern poetry class to Rilke it relieved us of the challenges of Celan and introduced me to a poet who would join Wordsworth and Frost as a defining influence. My first project will be an extended study of Rilke’s writing, his influences like Rodin, Ibsen, and Jacobsen, and his friends like Pasternak and Tsvetaeva. I will begin with reading Edward Snow’s translations of New Poems along with Letters to a Young Poet.
My second project will be discovering modern Japanese literature. How many times did I stand in front of the Japanese section at Kinokuniya in Singapore wondering where to start? Too many, until a friend finally pulled one off the shelf and said “Begin here, Norwegian Wood by Murakami.” Having finished that book, I have begun Kawabata’s Snow Country. We shall see what’s next. So far, fertile ground for my writing.
Finally, I am returning to an old friend and mentor, Thich Nhat Hanh and resuming a life long study of Buddhism with The Heart of the Buddha’s Teaching. Interestingly, one old personal journal I brought to Singapore with me included notes from one of the last times I studied the same book back in 2005. I look forward to the spiritual growth that always follows reading the Vietnamese Zen Master’s writing.
How long will these projects last? As they do. Meanwhile, look for a rebooted “The Week in Review” posts next week to talk about what these projects have taught and how they have influenced me.
© Stephen Fuller, 2017