Rusty Morrison
Amplification                        (page 8)

Theodor Adorno tells us that it is in struggling with the problems of ‘form’ that a writer works with her unresolved antagonisms, the unresolved issues of her reality. I have found that in the process of drafting a new idea for a new series of poems, a formal constraint will also arise for that series, which I then use to press against limitations I have not yet fully brought into consciousness. Perhaps I never will fully understand any given formal constraint, even as I attempt to work through it. Helene Cixous suggests that our borders make up the homeland, that they prohibit and give passage in the same stroke. For me, organically created forms are the borders that sustain my life in the poem, and they also create the limitation that I want to listen beside, and perhaps beyond. They create the edge, the unpassable border of the poem’s life in language, which I also think of as death.

When I resolve, or simply work to resolve, a failure of meaning that the form of a poem has unveiled to me, I do feel that I’m moving, very closely, along the borders of my expectations of life, as I have maintained them. Since my experiences of living with death, I’ve become more invested in trusting the very intuitive, often illogical process of writing at the borders of the forms my poems create for me. This seems kin to walking at the borders of the amplification I feel in the natural world. And it remains true for me that the natural world is where I find the energy that continually enlivens my writing practice.

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