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Poetry
About The Enchanted Voice
By Robert Priest
February, 2006, 22:30

To break out of the vault one must surrender to the magical voice inside.
I
suspect there is a great vault of visions sealed up within me — visions gleaned from radio beams and telepathies, from receptions and inspirations, visions that had been stored and condensed into revelations and fiction.

The problem is how to release some of these crystallized messages.

As everything, and particularly language, is entirely elastic, I determined to go at the creation or unleashing of this inner literature by more fully elasticizing my consciousness.

To do this I sought to stretch all my concepts, to exert the force of my will outwards and whatever boundaries I had ever set up for anything — for words, for locales, for morals, for grammar.

This was, in effect, to transmute everything within my creative reach to something that was loose, indefinable, edgeless and possibly endless.

It also meant nullifying every concept, finding its opposite and bringing the two together, making them face each other in the mirror of life and thus dispersing them.

In short, I wanted to negate all that was soundest of my certainties, to launch a physical and musical and humorous onslaught against standard usage, phrasing, diction, punctuaton, theology and morality.

To let the mouth go crazy, in other words. For what are sanity's two building blocks, logic and preconception, but the very walls to that treasure house inside?  One must be prepared to violate them in every way.

One must have the courage to speak any "atrocity," any truth, no matter how gross.

One must surrender entirely to the magical voice inside, so that the poet by his sense of abandon — by being a criminal, by stretching out all the little gods of language to the furthest limit of their meaning so that one word encompasses and overlaps all the words — makes poems that become tense and snap to let the world in.

For it is the way of an enchanted voice to lunge for the truth and even if it arrives sometimes covered in a mesh of taut, distorted features — even if on seeing it your concepts are shattered — it gives a sign that the great verities are at work

So why do I write?

Being a poet I must do my rounds, checking up on language, finding out the dead words, re-exploding the holy dynamites, keeping the reverberations and musics fresh.

As a Priest it is also my job to let the light in, to be a reflector, to open up curtains. Sometimes a word is too rigid — like an icon — and it blocks the light of its own origin and doesn’t shine through. So I have to soften it up a bit, throw it into the corner and find out where its weak spots are, batter it until it falls way like an empty mask.

I picture myself as a kind of scientist mixing the mental elements, distilling them and exploding them, looking for answers in inkblots, hoping to reveal the roots of certain patterns, strings of words, prayers, curses, hope to take the masks of things. Everything though is totally by chance — I'm mixing chemicals like a blind man with paint, never knowing which colour I will set off next.

Also I am trying to break out of my own silence. So, any violence here is never towards you — it is only towards the language and the ideas… At the same time I am also an antenna and a barometer — a singing barometer, a kind of tenor radar sending out the bleeps with love… with love hoping for best.IN Icon


Robert Priest is a Toronto, Canada poet, singer/songwriter, journalist and children's author. http://www.poempainter.com



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