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Laurie Keim
Location: Brisbane Australia
Gender: Male
Interests: I am a published writer of fiction, poetry and literary criticism. I am currently working on two novels.
Member: Standard
Joined: October 2012
We work in the dark--we do what we can--we give what we have. Our doubt is our passion and our passion is our task. The rest is the madness of art. (Henry James)
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Laurie Keim: I am an author, writer and poet and have been for some years. Now these three monikers are self-chosen for a particular reason. It is an attempt to differentiate a practice that occurs in the one mind, my mind. They are not distinct personalities or marketing ploys or even literary genres. They are in fact one word descriptions of what I do.

I am an author of books, a composer of stories and poems and essays, an originator of literary artefacts. Some of the books I‚??ve authored were in fact anthologies. I also answer to the wider and more culturally active definition of the author as beginner or prime mover of anything, but particularly ideas and forms of activism. The author is an efficient cause of social change.

Between novels and stories and poems I write all sorts of things. For example yesterday I rewrote The Stations of the Cross by St Alphonus with the expressed aim of including it in a novel. The day before that I wrote for two hours in a coffee shop overlooking the forecourt of a shopping centre. I wrote about the people I saw, lightning descriptions, little mobile profiles, sharpening my senses, responding to real people in real time and noticing how the shoppers respond to the mall furniture and their interior purposes and the excitement and imposition of others.

I write novels and stories and poems. I write and rewrite as a matter of course, backwards and forwards over the page, refining, clarifying, embellishing, tightening, as water might lap a shore. Eventually the volume of the work expands like the force of the in-coming tide. I keep a journal and a diary at all times and I am forever writing short instructional pieces for my own benefit to guide my work. Therefore I‚??m a writer of all sorts of things at all times, including most importantly when I‚??m reading. I read like a writer and I write like a reader. I write as if I‚??m interpreting the world for the first time, afresh. A writer who doesn‚??t read is like a song-writer or a composer who doesn‚??t listen to music: an absurd relation. The other obvious reason why a writer might read is to learn the craft of writing. A less obvious reason is that if you‚??re going to be original you must have some idea of the field out of which your originality will glow in all its fullness. You wouldn‚??t want to repeat ideas of others out of ignorance.

I‚??ve been a poet longer than I‚??ve been a fiction writer. I had poems published as a teenager. In my early twenties I bought two anthologies for every novel. I read extensively. Poetry is a great base to construct fiction from. The poetic impulse is at the source of my originality. I even refer to poetry in the wider sense as creation, original literary creation. Poetry derives from metaphor and a new metaphor borrows known meaning from its constituent parts but by passing the expression through the forge of the mind it produces something new that is neither of its parts but somehow has leaped beyond the premises of the parts.

I write poetry one day a week on Friday, cleaning day. I clean the house in the morning, incubating the poem that I write that afternoon and evening. The poem is recognized by the poet in terms of emotion and idea, but the actual shape of the poem, the phrases to which it belongs and gains reality is actually a flow of psychic energy from the recesses of the self. The flow is continually interpreted into words. Too much manipulation cuts off the inspiration and yet at all times a poem is a literary artefact requiring shape and form to reach its threshold of intelligence and beauty. Between the pattern and the flow of language the happy accidents of the composer and originator happen. The pattern provokes the unconscious, keeping the door open so that the howls and songs of stone, the illumination and the vision can escape and be secured by the poet in words on the paper.

So perhaps, I‚??m a poet overtly one day out of seven on cleaning day and incidentally a poet every night of the week when I dream. Writing poetry is dreaming in reverse. I don‚??t mean to suggest that when writing a poem that the dream runs backwards. Dreams may return perpetually but they don‚??t run backwards; they might be characterized by weird spatial shifts and displacements but they still follow time‚??s arrow, which would suggest and provide evidence for the theory that time is the first reality of human perception, interminable and ceaseless. What I mean to say is that writing poetry is dreaming in reverse in the following sense that when we dream we experience a sense of out-of-bodiness-other-worldliness and then bring it to reality by trying to make sense of it with words. Poetry starts with the words trying to make sense of it and ends by producing a language artefact and artefact of thought that when read leads us out-of-the-body-into-other-worldliness. The landscape inhabited by the author, the writer and the poet.
July 29, 2013 at 9:52PM
    watergirl: Ah, yes, it all comes from the great beyond.
    I write it even when I know not what it means. Someone does. Time is a dimension, we think an unchangeable quality of the world, because we have been taught that way. Thinnk of the questions that children ask; before that is, becoming overly conditioned by the thought doctors. Interesting. Fresh, and without too many restrictions on their mind and body; young children express themselves, unconsciously, like animals; without self analysis. Only freedom of being in the moment.
    October 15, 2013 at 9:32PM
    rama devi: I've been enjoying everything you write, Laurie--including this! :) And your reviews are top-notch too. Your presence is a great asset to Fanstory.
    November 1, 2013 at 7:03AM

Laurie Keim: How do you evaluate a poem or a story? The wonderfully inspiring critic, Harold Bloom said that he goes in search of three things: aesthetic splendour, cognitive power and wisdom.

Aesthetic splendour involves the beauty of the language being used, that ranges from the cadence to the patterns of language like alliteration or metaphor. What do I like about the language of this poem?

The cognitive power involves the depth of thinking which includes everything from the closely observed detail to the analysis of situations and events and the people involved in them. Is this original thinking or propaganda? It also involves the synthesis of ideas into literary conclusions. What do I like about the ideas in this piece?

Wisdom, which is rare and what we all seek, involves values applied to life-styles; and advice applied to life-stages; and observations applied to the universe and the life it hatched. What do I wish to remember from this piece?

To review,well, means to read well, which in turn requires skills of analysis and synthesis but most of all it requires a receptiveness of mind. Questions help: What do I like about the language in this piece? What do I like about the ideas? What is worth remembering? If the work is deficient in any of these areas, you are free to comment, too.
March 2, 2013 at 2:25AM
    catch22: Hi Laurie! These are some great issues you raise. I personally have no problem with anyone commenting on the content of my work--as the message is kind of the whole point of self expression. Some people around here mind more than others though, so I suppose it gets back to why each person is here writing and what they wish to get out of the process...
    March 2, 2013 at 7:21PM
    Mad man: Hi dr keim you might remember me it's JACKSYN from your class last year it's took me ages to track you down hope to see you soon remember to visit and that promise you gave us " you said you'll write a book about us" so keep your promises and visit us soon at school
    Your always the best teacher
    C u soon
    May 4, 2013 at 8:26AM
    Mad man: Bye for now
    May 4, 2013 at 8:26AM
    Bicpen: Hi Poet Laurie ...

    ... the essence of the poet is I feel in the minds eye to concieve of fact and fiction mingled together to produce a reality of poetic escape ... but it is only an escape as far as the words will allow or the voice of the page where the transmission of thought is developed. I find that ideas are best formulated when observing a situation and then the poetic voice can develop the idea into a facet of description.

    The rhyme and rhythm of the poetic voice I feel differs with each mood that this facet is trying to create and therefore to some there is no rhythm or rhyme but to others there is.

    The minds eye is the incubator and the pen is the originator ... !
    September 2, 2013 at 1:29PM
    watergirl: An eye for mineral glint and texture, the geologist exclaims! A feel for faith and humble prayer, the priest nods in approval and paint that speaks to art goers makes for wine glasses to be raised. But poets cry and beat their chest, the word that conveys this
    angst......where? A passion worthy of entrance to the gates of heaven....write!
    October 11, 2013 at 2:43AM

Laurie Keim: W. S. Merwin in his poem "Berryman" talks of the advice Berryman gave Merwin as a young poet. This is the great Berryman before the beard, the booze and the mental illness; the same Berryman who was such an inspiration to Saul Bellow and other great writers of the time.

Berryman said that the great presence that permitted everything and transmuted it in poetry was passion. Passion was genius which led to movement and invention.
Invention, original thought expressed in a unique diction. To speak in an original voice.
There is no better advice for a young poet.
November 5, 2012 at 9:22PM
    DIS-illusioned: ... Fascinating stuff!
    November 5, 2012 at 10:05PM
    William Walz: All passion leads to is court appearances and child support payments.
    November 6, 2012 at 11:47AM
    Bicpen: ... without passion life is a corpse !
    September 2, 2013 at 1:33PM
    watergirl: Ah, but the disappointment and despair when a poem receives a three stars because the reader "doesn't get it!" what would these people say when faced with genius? Applause?
    "I don't get it!"?? Your comment is fill with life.
    October 11, 2013 at 2:38AM

Laurie Keim: In a number of my reviews recently, I have referred to originality, the lack of it. Many poets feel compelled to use cliche and hackneyed phrases more in keeping with advertsing.

Poetry is an art form and one of the major functions of art is to arrest the habitualization of every day perception. We go to art to see the world afresh. As Daivid Lodge so rightly points out art helps us recover the sensation of life; it exists to make us feel things. When we read of stones, they must become stony again, water must again flow and sparkle in our imagination.

There is some onus then on the poet to present the reader with images that vibrant, felt and original.

In art and poetry in particular, it is the experience of the process of construction that counts, the building of image and perception between writer and reader.

November 4, 2012 at 8:16PM
    redrider6612: Agreed! So often the poem is technically sound, but it has no "wow" factor, doesn't make the reader stop and think.
    November 4, 2012 at 8:30PM
    Laurie Keim: A list of abstract nouns listing one's emotions doesn't do much for the reader's perceptions either.
    November 4, 2012 at 9:26PM
    DIS-illusioned: There's really nothing new under the sun. :-p
    November 4, 2012 at 11:47PM
    Laurie Keim: Where have you been in the last thirty years, dis-illusioned? Are you telling me that computer systems haven't had an effect, or air-travel or surgery? Art must strive to keep up.
    November 5, 2012 at 3:49AM
    DIS-illusioned: I did have a few peeping holes in the rock I was hiding under in the last 30 years. :-p
    At the core of it all, computer systems, air travel and surgery are still simply about human communication/interaction, migration and healing--all, issues that art has been dealing with from antiquity.
    I appreciate the sentiment of your declaration, though.
    November 5, 2012 at 6:07PM
    Laurie Keim: There have been times too, when I've wanted to get under that rock but somebody keeps lifting it on me.
    November 5, 2012 at 9:09PM
    Bicpen: ... for all the talk of computers, air travel and surgery there is nothing that compares to the mind and its ability to create ... these "things" are not new they are just advances created my the ability to think further and produce a compatable appliance for the era we live in ...

    ... take your computer for communication ... smoke signals and flashing lights. Air travel ... all centred round a birds wing ... they used to use them to send messages. Surgery ... instead of sawing of a leg in a barbers shop you get a bed in a hospital.

    Through the advancing of progressive thought all of these "things" become possible, such is poetry ... it must be progressive and complete with a voice to communicate, albeit, in pictures ... just like your Television, DIS-illusioned !
    September 2, 2013 at 6:22PM
    watergirl: Do you think contest entries further creativity or distract from it? It seems that my own work feels crowded or limited by conforming to rules of contest - I don't know if I'm doing myself any favours by entering. Just a thought. I guess different people react differently to such challenges.
    November 28, 2013 at 12:23AM

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