The Muse

(An International Journal of Poetry)

Volume-1††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††† June-2011††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††† Number-1

 

 

An E-Interview with Al Beck

††††††††††††††††††††† (Interviewed by Pradeep Chaswal)

 

(Al Beck is a popular poet, academician, curriculum developer, professional American Folksinger and Korean War veteran, who resides in Monroe City, MO. He is Professor Emeritus at Culver-Stockton College. He continued to exhibit internationally as well as regionally (1956- 2011 ) with diverse media including-  Clay, Papercasting, Glass Fusion, Photography, Printmaking, Painting/Assemblage. He has 17 books of poetry to his credit- Gnomes & Poems  -  Lorien House Press, 1992; Sight Lines -  Lorien House Press, 1996, Songs From The Rainbow Worm - LHP,   1997, Beaucoup Haiku - Lorien House Press,  1999, God Is In The Glove Compartment, LHP,  2000, Survival Weapons,  Lorien House Press, 2001, Warm Verse, Cold Turkey  - LHP, 2002, Rapping Paper, Mythic Thundermugs, LHP, 2003, Conversations With Lizard's Bones and Wizard's Stones, Lorien House, 2003,     Lifepsychles,  Lorien House Press,   2004, Beyond The Scars and Gripes, LHP, 2005, Eclectricity, Lorien House Press, 2006,   Carpe Needs A New Diem, 2007, Right Brain's Bloomin' Again, 2008, Lessons From An Open Mind, 2009

Curiosity's Cushion, 2010, An Awesome Possum Shares Wild Wisdom, 2011. He has published numerous articles, poems and drawings in national and international Journals and magazines.)

 

 

 

 

 

1. At which age you wrote your first poem? Were there any incidents in your life that made you want to write?

There are a number of recollections which might be the answer to your question.

First, I was a very young lad as I began to enjoy the actual sounds of words. When I first discovered the word BooHoo (for crying) I also remember making the words which also sounded like it: Moo (cow) You (pointing a finger Do, Sue (a friend's name) Zoo (animals lived there). And this kind of word-connection by sound was quite influential in my singing songs as a child. I am certain I must have added a line or two...of my own to a popular folksong...."Row-Row-Row-Your-Boat Then I'll Row some more...until I get to shore" And by the time I was given my first guitar as a very young teenager, I already knew many songs by heart because I was locked into enjoying rhyme. At this point in my life I have written over thirty songs of my own and have played the banjo (my more recent instrument over the past 40 years) while singing my own songs.


2. Almost all your poems are published with a drawing why is it so?

The thin line between my day-drawing and daydreaming leaves little else to be desired. Itís an active grooveís depth of inspiration which does have its admitted limitations.


3. How will you define the creative and poetic process in you?

The image will tell you what it wants to be. By thinking too much, an artistic adventure becomes an intellectual exercise. There is a re-emerging consciousness in art of the mystical connection between the Visceral and the Visual.  It transcends Reason and touches Aesthetics at its primordial roots. It is true that once we become less judgmental, our sense of† assessment rises quickly.  Then, as we move away from assessment, our ability to discern develops more keenly.  And as our discernment is left behind, we inevitably find our deepest  strength in curiosity. A person may have certain unique sensations through primary senses  - feelings which, in fact, exist outside of conscious  events. This phenomenon has often been described as "reality" beyond reason. Art is a vehicle for this powerful dimension of human experience.  The paradox is that Art is also an elusive and fragile truth.



4. Apart from being a poet you are also an artist, teacher and a curriculum developer. What are your views on the role of poetry in curriculum?

There is so much more to the learning process that we have not dealt with in our school systems (Developing Curiosity, Inspiring Creativity, Introducing the Language of Innovation,

and so much more connection to the right brain than merely stuffing information into their brains).  In the 50 years I taught on the High School and College levels, I was the odd fellow

giving students an out-of-the-box approach to pedagogy. Growing up is a very challenging life-activity. The introduction of Poetry into the character of human communication must begin

even before pre-school programs have lured young people into the learning process. Folksongs, (I am an American Folksinger, by the way) and other word-fun must be introduced

as soon as communication is connected. The role and responsibility of the poet in the world today must reach into a bag of entertainment and help open up the young mind to this mental

game.

 



5. Which poet you have liked the most? Why?

Your question is a bit too tight for a fair response. There are a few poets which inspire and entertain me: Here they are....

Lawrence Ferlinghetti, William Shakespeare, Robert Burns, Mary Oliver, Lord Alfred Tennyson, Anne Sexton, John Ciardi, Billy Collins, Edward Lear, E.E. Cummings, Noel Coward, Robert Bly, Emily Dickinson, Percy Bysshe Shelley, Ralph Waldo Emerson, Robert Frost, Shel Silverstein, William Wordsworth, Walt Whitman, Kenneth Koch, and I could go on for another dozen or more. Every poet I have mentioned is a unique and entertaining artist. He or She has a very special facet of inspiring the reader (me). We begin to taste life together in his/her comfortable, yet

creative voice. I continue to look forward to more poetic "friends" even now



6. What was your first favourite book?

However, I do remember the thick, slick pages with both drawings (in color) and verses which accompanied them. I spent many hours flipping through it.

BUT, I cannot remember the name of the fun-filled book.  Sorry, but Age does sometime run away from Recollection.



7. According to you what is the role and responsibility of poet in the present day world?

There is so much more to the learning process that we have not dealt with in our school systems (Developing Curiosity, Inspiring Creativity, Introducing the Language of Innovation,

and so much more connection to the right brain than merely stuffing information into their brains).  In the 50 years I taught on the High School and College levels, I was the odd fellow

giving students an out-of-the-box approach to pedagogy. Growing up is a very challenging life-activity. The introduction of Poetry into the character of human communication must begin

even before pre-school programs have lured young people into the learning process. Folksongs, (I am an American Folksinger, by the way) and other word-fun must be introduced

as soon as communication is connected. The role and responsibility of the poet in the world today must reach into a bag of entertainment and help open up the young mind to this mental

game.

 



8. What advice you wish to give to the young poets?

Imaginationís power is essential to any young personís future success.  Reaching into oneís dreams is only rewarding when both interdisciplinary and innovative activities are constantly encouraged. The delusion of merely good grades for a post-graduation filled with lifeís great opportunities is an academic bias. Itís learning misread.



9. Readers have observed that majority of your poems are full of humour and positive energy. What is the inspiration behind it?

Being bright, while emotionally blind, is a living limbo of a different kind.

insight is a form of understanding where information is a blend of

acumen and inspiration.

All aspects of communication are alert, including intuition and insight.

Understanding must also include empathy and compassion.

Aesthetics is also an essential characteristic of wisdom. A forsaken

emotional focus can interfere with understanding.

The Friends of Understanding are: Entertain, Enlighten and Educate

(the 3-Eís).

I have urged my students to have two thoughts as they focus on

their education program: the first is to "have fun" and the second

is to "work hard".  It is essential that both of these continue inspiring

them during their entire lifetime.

Humor is an essential aspect of having fun. And Positive Energy

is essential for working hard. Every human being needs both of these

to feel (and be) successful



10. What message you wish to give our readers and poetry lovers?

THE HUMAN BEINGíS THREE POWERS

 

The complexity of human connection to the earth evolves from the nature of their three unique powers: Spiritual, Affective and Cognitive. Although these three often blend in positive as well as negative circumstances, each has its own characteristics and needs to be equally addressed in the development of a more perfect human race. Each aspect of humanity must be equally respected and the future of the species will have the opportunity to not only survive but give life a richer, more effective meaning. The present situation on earth has created some difficult and

dangerous connections between these powers. Cognitive Science tends to encourage an aspect of intelligence which focuses on Competition, Political Power and Greed.

Affective Attitudes  deal  with Aesthetics, Creativity, and Collaboration.  The nature of Spiritual Power, ideally, should be bringing these two other human attitudes into a relationship

which permits the Brain to become a force of Reason, Resolution and Restitution.

 

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