Tuesday, April 03, 2007

 

Tom Wayman; Work, Wisdom, Wit

If a crush is, among other things, an expression of sensibility, I have a permanent crush on Tom Wayman.

I've loved the man and his work since 1986, when I saw him read at a conference in Edmonton, Alberta. His low-key wit and Whitmanesque honoring of the worker make you want to be Canadian.

Tom is the leader of the New Work Writing, writing that honors the subject of work. We spend massive amounts of time on the job; work is worthy of our contemplation, our creation.

I'll probably have to revisit Tom's poems this month. There are too many that I want to share. Let's start with a sort of credo, from Counting the Hours: City Poems:

For the Younger Writers

Ambition is a kind of greed,
honorable, in the poor.
We start with a word,
not power or money
or fame. The word is angry
but the word is true.

Or nearly true. So after a time
after many words, it can happen
the word becomes about fame
or money. The word that began with a lack
becomes about power over others.

Now ambition
has nothing to do with poverty.
The word may be successful,
or famous, or even angry.
But it is now the anger or success
of those greedy for power over the poor.
The word now lies.

It lies because a word
cannot be rich
or famous or successful.
The words are not even ours.
We are all poor,
except those who are against the poor.
If you write for these, as one of these,
you will be applauded.
But who are you then? What have you said?

Remember the word you began with.
Be ambitious for the poor.


Comments:
Is this Blog gonna become a poetry forum? ':/
 
It's April, dear. I'm on a toot.

I'll be doing other things along the way, but I really dig poetry and want to highlight some really good folks. Poetry is a necessity to me.
 
One of my favorites of his has always been "Wayman in Love"
 
:P
 
Wow,
What a great place to find such beautiful poetry. I always have to read poems more than once to understand them, but once I think I get it, it blows me back. This one was really powerful.
 
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