Thursday, July 12, 2012

Officially Official

Okay. It's officially official now and I can speak of it. I'll serve the City of Santa Fe as Poet Laureate for the next two years. 

My thoughts immediately turn to the social purpose of poetry and a quote from Carl Jung that I have carried with me for a while: 

"Therein lies the social significance of art: It is constantly at work educating the spirit of the age, conjuring up the forms in which the age is more lacking. The unsatisfied yearning of the artist reaches back to the primordial image in the unconscious, which is best fitted to compensate the inadequacy and one-sidedness of the present. The artist seizes on this image and, in raising it from deepest unconsciousness, he brings it into relation with conscious values, thereby transforming it until it can be accepted by the minds of his contemporaries according to their powers."

It seems both correct and too large a claim, especially in these days of modest claims, but if it is at least partly true, then I'd propose that one of the "primordial images" I've brought back from the unconscious over and over is the image of the inward person, the contemplative. Our culture is all about performance and action and surface, and I certainly participate in that culture, but I worry about the loss, in myself and others, of quiet and stillness and reflection. So that will be one important theme of my laureateship. 


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