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in praise of eclectisity

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More than once I have been told I have eclectic tastes. That’s a good thing, right? It’s a compliment. At least, that’s the way I take it.

And nowhere is my eclectic tastes more on display than when it comes to my tastes in poetry. I would be hard pressed to list all my favorite poets, but the top ones are automatic. Bukowski, Basho, Buson, Issa, Rumi, Forche and Atwood are among the favorites, but my number one has to be Hafiz.

All of them influence my writing, but I consider that a good thing.  Who has the most influence your poetry?

I love Japanese poetic forms and have thousands of haiku, and notebooks full of senyru, tanka, haibun and renga. When I travel, and I travel a lot, I write a lot of Bukowski-style stuff. What attracts me to the Buk is his no-nonsense, matter of fact, grittiness. He’s a big shot of reality. What you get isn’t always pretty, but it’s definitely alive.

Then there is Hafiz. No one touches me like he does. He has a grasp on divine love that is heart-deep and born from being totally open to the spirit. Each of his divans is a tiny pot of honey just waiting to be enjoyed. (My latest project is a book-length collection of ecstatic poems modeled after the mystic works of Hafiz, Rumi and other Sufi poets.)

Is anyone else out there in cyberspace marching to several tunes of a number of divergent poetical percussionists? Who else knows the true joy of being a poetic eclectarian? It would be fun to compare notes.

Maybe it’s time for poetical eclectarians of the world to unite. Let’s get the discussion started.


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