Not knowing, we proceed—Zen saying
The Cloud of Unknowing is an anonymous work of Christian mysticism written in Middle English in the latter half of the 14th century. The text is a spiritual guide on contemplative prayer and the esoteric techniques and meanings of late medieval monasticism.See Fannie Howe’s essay, “Bewilderment” from The Wedding Dress
The book counsels a young student not to seek God through knowledge but through what the author speaks of as a "naked intent" and a "blind love."
"Our intense need to understand will always be a powerful stumbling block to our attempts to reach God in simple love [...] and must always be overcome. For if you do not overcome this need to understand, it will undermine your quest. It will replace the darkness which you have pierced to reach God with clear images of something which, however good, however beautiful, however Godlike, is not God."
In a follow-up to The Cloud, called The Book of Privy Counseling, the author characterizes the practice of contemplative unknowing as worshiping God with one's "substance," coming to rest in a "naked blind feeling of being," and ultimately finding thereby that God is one's being.
The Cloud of Unknowing draws on the mystical tradition of Pseudo-Dionysius the Areopagite, which has reputedly inspired generations of mystical searchers from John Scotus Erigena, through Book of Taliesin, Nicholas of Cusa and St. John of the Cross to Teilhard de Chardin (the latter two of whom may have been influenced by "The Cloud" itself).
The practical prayer advice contained in The Cloud of Unknowing forms a primary basis for the contemporary practice of centering prayer, a form of Christian meditation developed by Trappist monks William Meninger, Basil Pennington and Thomas Keating in the 1970s.
"And so I urge you, go after experience rather than knowledge. On account of pride, knowledge may often deceive you, but this gentle, loving affection will not deceive you. Knowledge tends to breed conceit, but love builds. Knowledge is full of labor, but love, full of rest."
Zen Buddhist version of "Unkowing"
Shoshin (初心, also pronounced nyuanshin) is a concept in Zen Buddhism meaning Beginner's Mind. It refers to having an attitude of openness, eagerness, and lack of preconceptions when studying a subject, even when studying at an advanced level, just as a beginner in that subject would. The term is especially used in the study of Zen Buddhism and Japanese martial arts.
The phrase was also used as the title of Zen teacher Shunryu Suzuki's book: Zen Mind, Beginner's Mind, which reflects a saying of his regarding the way to approach Zen practice: In the beginner's mind there are many possibilities, in the expert's mind there are few.
Shoshin also means "Correct Truth" and is used to denote a correct or perfect signature on art works Shoshin Mei. This is opposed to fake signature, "Gimei" (bad Mei). The term can be used for any thing or person who is perfectly genuine.
noted by Garcia Lorca. My definition “raw presence”
El duende is the spirit of evocation. It comes from inside as physical/emotional response to music. It is what gives you chills, makes you smile or cry as a bodily reaction to an artistic performance that is particularly expressive. Folk music in general, especially Flamenco, tends to embody an authenticity that comes from a people whose culture is enriched by diaspora and hardship; vox populi, the human condition of joys and sorrows. It is thus as universal in its meaning as it is immensely personal and culturally contextual by its nature.Some contemporary artists/singers/writers whose work possesses the spirit of duende
Drawing on popular usage and Spanish folklore, Federico García Lorca first developed the aesthetics of Duende in a lecture he gave in Buenos Aires in 1933, "Juego y teoria del duende" ("Play and Theory of the Duende").
According to Christopher Maurer, editor of "In Search of Duende," at least four elements can be isolated in Lorca's vision of duende: irrationality, earthiness, a heightened awareness of death, and a dash of the diabolical. The duende is a demonic earth spirit who helps the artist see the limitations of intelligence, reminding him that 'ants could eat him or that a great arsenic lobster could fall suddenly on his head'; who brings the artist face-to-face with death, and who helps him create and communicate memorable, spine-chilling art. The duende is seen, in Lorca's lecture, as an alternative to style, to mere virtuosity, to God-given grace and charm (what Spaniards call 'angel'), and to the classical, artistic norms dictated by the muse. Not that the artist simply surrenders to the duende; he or she has to battle it skillfully, 'on the rim of the well,' in 'hand-to-hand combat.' To a higher degree than the muse or the angel, the duende seizes not only the performer but also the audience, creating conditions where art can be understood spontaneously with little, if any, conscious effort. It is, in Lorca's words, 'a sort of corkscrew that can get art into the sensibility of an audience... the very dearest thing that life can offer the intellectual.'. The critic Brook Zern has written, of a performance of someone with duende, 'it dilates the mind's eye, so that the intensity becomes almost unendurable... There is a quality of first-timeness, of reality so heightened and exaggerated that it becomes unreal...'" (Maurer, In Search of Duende, pp. ix-xx).
Lorca writes: "The duende, then, is a power, not a work. It is a struggle, not a thought. I have heard an old maestro of the guitar say, 'The duende is not in the throat; the duende climbs up inside you, from the soles of the feet.' Meaning this: it is not a question of ability, but of true, living style, of blood, of the most ancient culture, of spontaneous creation."
"Everything that has black sounds in it, has duende." (ie emotional 'blackness').
"This ‘mysterious power which everyone senses and no philosopher explains' is, in sum, the spirit of the earth, the same duende that scorched the heart of Nietzsche, who searched in vain for its external forms on the Rialto Bridge and in the music of Bizet, without knowing that the duende he was pursuing had leaped straight from the Greek mysteries to the dancers of Cadiz or the beheaded, Dionysian scream of Silverio's siguiriya."
"The duende's arrival always means a radical change in forms. It brings to old planes unknown feelings of freshness, with the quality of something newly created, like a miracle, and it produces an almost religious enthusiasm."
"All arts are capable of duende, but where it finds greatest range, naturally, is in music, dance, and spoken poetry, for these arts require a living body to interpret them, being forms that are born, die, and open their contours against an exact present." 
— García Lorca, Play and Theory of the Duende
Ginsberg’s Howl and Kaddish
Sylvia Plath’s “Daddy” & “The Bees”
To name a few
See Ed Hirsch’s book, The Demon & the Angel
See Garcia Lorca’s, Deep Song and Other Prose Pieces NDP 503, 1975
SOME SURREALIST TECHNIQUES
“OLD WEIRD AMERICA”-
coined by Harry Smith who compiled the Anthology of American Folk Music produced by the Smithsonian
Old Weird America was a term used to describe the often eerie country, blues and folk music featured on the Anthology of American Folk Music. Maybe an American version of duende.“ONE STROKE” is derived from traditional calligraphy
Japanese calligraphy was influenced by, and influenced, Zen thought. For any particular piece of paper, the calligrapher has but one chance to create with the brush. The brush strokes cannot be corrected and even a lack of confidence will show up in the work. The calligrapher must concentrate and be fluid in execution. The brush writes a statement about the calligrapher at a moment in time (see Hitsuzendo, the Zen way of the brush). Through Zen, Japanese calligraphy absorbed a distinct Japanese aesthetic often symbolised by the ensō or circle of enlightenment.
Zen calligraphy is practiced by Buddhist monks and most shodō practitioners. To write Zen calligraphy with mastery, one must clear one's mind and let the letters flow out of themselves, not practice and make a tremendous effort. This state of mind was called the mu-shin, or "no mind state", by the Japanese philosopher Nishida Kitaro. It is based on the principles of Zen Buddhism, which stresses a connection to the spiritual rather than the physical.
Before Japanese tea ceremonies (which are connected to Zen Buddhism), one is to look at a work of shodō to clear one's mind. This is considered an essential step in the preparation for a tea ceremony.
See Gary Snyder’s poem Mountains & Rivers Without End—
The space goes on
But the wet black brush
tip drawn to a point
lifts away is how he ends his long poem
LIMINALITY or “Betwixt & Between” comes from anthropological theory about the ritual process. First defined by Anthropologist, Victor Turner
Liminal - Pertaining to a threshold or entrance; Relating to a beginning or first stage of a process; inceptive; inchoative; marginal; insignificantSee Jane Hirshfield’s essay entitled "Writing and the Threshold Life," Nine Gates
The condition of being on a threshold or in a 'betwixt and between space' (Victor Turner, Forest of Symbols).
Liminal - (Latin limin, "threshold"): A liminal space is a blurry boundary zone between two established and clear spatial areas, and a liminal moment is a blurry boundary period between two segments of time. ...
In a ritual—Turner noted, the initate often is removed form their daily life, wears special clothes, eats special food or fasts, undergoes tasks or hardships before reintegrating to their “new” status in their cultural context. Straightforward limens include doors, passages, windows and window-sills.
Entering the Mind of Poetry
Poets/writers who lived a liminal life:
Chinese Cold Mountain Poets
BARDO—Tibetan reference to the period between death and rebirth
The Tibetan word Bardo means literally "intermediate state" - also translated as "transitional state" or "in-between state" or "liminal state". In Sanskrit the concept has the name antarabhāva.NEGATIVE CAPABILITY – defined by Keats
Negative capability is a theory of the poet John Keats. Keats' theory of "negative capability" was expressed in his letter to George and Thomas Keats dated Sunday, 28 December 1817.
“I had not a dispute but a disquisition with Dilke, on various subjects; several things dovetailed in my mind, & at once it struck me, what quality went to form a Man of Achievement especially in literature & which Shakespeare possessed so enormously - I mean Negative Capability, that is when man is capable of being in uncertainties, Mysteries, doubts without any irritable reaching after fact & reason.
Keats believed that great people (especially poets) have the ability to accept that not everything can be resolved. Keats was a Romantic and believed that the truths found in the imagination access holy authority. Such authority cannot otherwise be understood, and thus he writes of "uncertainties." This "being in uncertaint[y]" is a place between the mundane, ready reality and the multiple potentials of a more fully understood existence.”
Keats expressed this idea in several of his poems:
La Belle Dame sans Merci: A Ballad (1819)
Ode to a Nightingale (1819)
The Fall of Hyperion: A Dream (1819)
Ode on a Grecian Urn (1819)
Negative capability is a state of intentional open-mindedness paralleled in the literary and philosophic stances of other writers. Much has been written about this. Walter Jackson Bate, Keats's authoritative biographer, wrote an entire book on the topic. The footnote to the negative capability letter in the 1958 Harvard UP edition of the Letters of John Keats references the work of Woodhouse, Bate, C. L. Finney, Barbara Hardy, G. B. Harrison, and George Watson, all prior to the edition’s printing in 1958. In the 1930s, the American philosopher John Dewey cited Keatsian negative capability as having influenced his own philosophical pragmatism, and said of Keats' letter that it "contains more of the psychology of productive thought than many treatises."   Additionally, Nathan Scott (author of a book titled Negative Capability), notes that negative capability has been compared to philosopher Martin Heidegger’s concept of Gelassenheit, “the spirit of disponibilité before What-Is which permits us simply to let things be in whatever may be their uncertainty and their mystery."
Walt Whitman---from Leaves of Grass
“Do I contradict myself? Very well, then I contradict myself, I am large, I contain multitudes.”
POETRYMIND - coined by Russell Edson. See front sidebar for my definition/inspiration---
PROJECTIVE VERSE-Charles Olson
A form of free verse in which the poet's breathing pattern determines the lines of the poem.
1) A poem is energy transferred from where the poet got it (he will have some several causations), by way of the poem itself to, all the way over to, the reader. . . . the poem itself must, at all points, be a high energy-construct and, at all points, an energy-discharge. So: how is the poet to accomplish same energy, how is he, what is the process by which a poet get in, at all points energy at least the equivalent of the energy which propelled him in the first place, yet an energy which is peculiar to verse alone and which will be, obviously, also different from the energy which the reader, because he is a third term, will take away?
(2) This is the problem which any poet who departs from closed form is specially confronted by. And it involves a whole series of new recognitions. From the moment he ventures into FIELD COMPOSITION--puts himself in the open--he can go by no track other than the one the poem under hand declares, for itself. Thus he has to behave, and be, instant by instant, aware. . . . . . . the principle, the law which presides conspicuously over such composition, and, when obeyed, is the reason why a projective poem can come into being. It is this: FORM IS NEVER MORE THAN AN EXTENSION OF CONTENT. (Or so it got phrased by one, R. Creeley, and it makes absolute sense to me, with this possible corollary, that right form, in any given poem, is the only and exclusively possible extension of content under hand.)
(3) Now (3) the process of the thing, how the principle can be made so to shape the energies that the form is accomplished. And I think it can be boiled down to one statement (first pounded into my head by Edward Dahlberg): ONE PERCEPTION MUST IMMEDIATELY AND DIRECTLY LEAD TO A FURTHER PERCEPTION.
See full text of his manifesto “Projective Verse” at: http://www.angelfire.com/poetry/jarnot/olson.html
“FIRST THOUGHT, BEST THOUGHT” slogan created by Allen Ginsberg and Tibetan master, Chogyam Trungpa
See Ginsberg’s Mind Writing Slogans
Visit Miksang page for quotes on perception by CTR
Narrative poems shaped by investigating connections to the body and mind. Poet Charles Olson said history is a complex organism in which an individual connects to his locale through "what he knows, what he really knows." Poetry that is part documentary, part research into artifact of place, part imagination, and part biography helps us map some of our greatest personal stories.See Olson’s Maximus Poems
William Carlos Williams, Paterson
Eleni Sikelianos,’ The California Poem
Anne Waldman’s 3 vol. Jovis poem & Manatee Humanatee
THE GREAT FAILURE
Title of a book by Natalie Goldberg from Zen concept
Tons of poems originate from an experience of failure
My favorite—William Carlos William’s “Rain”
That has no hope
Of the world
cannot change the world
to its delight
RHISOMES—tubers that grow laterally without beginning or end
“ Rhisomic “ is a metaphor favored by post-modern theorists, new media scholars who perceive hypertext (ex. internet) as being non-heirarchial, laterial and interdependent & interconnected across multiple disciplines instead of vertical/linear.
Listen to Anne Waldman's lecture: "Rhiommic and Radical Poetry: The Beat Lineages and Beyond," delivered at New England College MFA Program
WABI-SABI --Japanese aesthetic term hard to define
Pared down to its barest essence, wabi-sabi is the Japanese art of finding beauty in imperfection and profundity in nature, of accepting the natural cycle. Wabi-Sabi represents a comprehensive Japanese world view or aesthetic centered on the acceptance of transience. The phrase comes from the two words wabi and sabi. The aesthetic is sometimes described as one of beauty that is "imperfect, impermanent, and incomplete." See Leonard Koren in his book Wabi-Sabi: for Artists, Designers, Poets and Philosophers). It is a concept derived from the Buddhist assertion of the Three marks of existence (三法印 sanbōin?), specifically impermanence (無常 mujō?). Note also that the Japanese word for rust, 錆 is also pronounced sabi (the borrowed Chinese character is different, but the word itself is of assumed common etymology), and there is an obvious semantic connection between these concepts. Characteristics of the wabi-sabi aesthetic include asymmetry, asperity, simplicity, modesty, intimacy, and the suggestion of natural processes.
PRAJNAPARAMITA-The Heart Sutra—translated by Allen Ginsberg
MA KA HAN NYA HA RA MIT TA SHIN GYOTHE RAW AND THE COOKED—
Great Prajna Paramita Sutra
KAN JI ZAI BO SATSU GYO JIN HAN NYA HA RA MIT TA JI SHO KEN GO
Avalokitesvara bodhisattva practice deep prajna paramita when perceive five
UN KAI KU DO ISSAI KU YAKU
skandas all empty. relieve every suffering.
SHA RI SHI SHIKI FU I KU KU FU I SHIKI SHIKI
Sariputra, form not different (from) emptiness. Emptiness not different (from) form. Form
SOKU ZE KU KU SOKU ZE SHIKE JU SO GYO SHIKI YAKU
is the emptiness. Emptiness is the form. Sensation, thought, active substance, consciousness, also
BU NYO ZE
SHA RI SHI ZE SHO HO KU SO FU SHO FU METSU FU KU FU JO
Sariputra, this everything original character; not born, not annihilated not tainted, not pure,
FU ZO FU GEN ZE KO KU CHU MU SHIKI MU JU SO GYO
(does) not increase, (does) not decrease. Therefore in emptiness no form, no sensation, thought, active substance,
SHIKI MU GEN NI BI ZETS SHIN NI MU SHIKI SHO KO MI SOKU HO MU GEN
consciousness. No eye, ear, nose, tongue, body, mind; no color, sound, smell, taste, touch, object; no eye,
KAI NAI SHI MU I SHIKI KAI MU MU MYO YAKU MU MU MYO
world of eyes until we come to also no world of consciousness; no ignorance, also no ignorance
JIN NAI SHI MU RO SHI YAKU MU RO SHI JIN MU KU SHU
annihilation, until we come to no old age, death, also no old age, death, also no old age, death, annhilation of no suffering, cause of suffering,
METSU DO MU CHI YAKU MU TOKU I MU SHO TOK KO BO DAI SAT TA E
nirvana, path; no wisdom, also no attainment because of no attainment. Bodhisattva depends on
HAN NYA HA RA MIT TA KO SHIN MU KE GE MU KE GE KO MU U KU FU ON RI
prajna paramita because mind no obstacle. Because of no obstacle no exist fear; go beyond
I SSAI TEN DO MU SO KU GYO NE HAN SAN ZE SHO BUTSU E HAN
all (topsy-turvey views) attain Nirvana. Past, present and future every Buddha depend on prajna
NYA HA RA MIT TA KO TOKU A NOKU TA RA SAN MYAKU SAN BO DAI
paramita therefore attain supreme, perfect, enlightenment.
KO CHI HAN NYA HA RA MIT TA ZE DAI JIN SHU ZE DAI MYO SHU
Therefore I know Prajna paramita (is) the great holy mantram, the great untainted mantram,
ZE MU JO SHU ZE MU TO DO SHU NO JO IS SAI KU SHIN JITSU FU KO
the supreme mantram, the incomparable mantram. Is capable of assuaging all suffering. True not false.
KO SETSU HAN NYA HA PA MIT TA SHU SOKU SETSU SHU WATSU
Therefore he proclaimed Prajna paramita mantram and proclaimed mantram says
GYA TE GYA TE HA RA GYA TE HA RA SO GYA TE BO DHI SO WA KA
gone, gone, to the other shore gone, reach (go) enlightenment accomplish.
HAN NYA SHIN GYO
NEGA WA KU WA KO NO KU DO KU O MOTTE A MA NE KU ISSAI NI OYO
What we pray, this merit with universally all existence Pervade,
BO SHI WARE RA TO SHU JO TO MI NA TO MO NI BUTSUDO O JYO ZEN KO TO
we and sentient being all with Buddhism achieve
this (What I pray is that this merit pervade universally and we Buddhists and all sentient beings achieve
JI HO SAN SHI I SHI HU SHI SON BU SA MO KO SA
Ten directions past, present and future all Buddhas The world honoured one. Bodhisattva, great Bodhisattva,
MO KO HO JA HO RO MI
Another anthropological term coined by Levi Strauss—cultures are defined by whether their food is raw or cooked.Most Definitions from Wikipedia but you can research further
In anthropological terms the concept of "the raw" verses "the cooked" has long been associated with the dichotomy between the natural world and the world of human culture. In a broad-based empirical study of native mythologies, Claude Lévi-Strauss proposes a structural and thematic link between the opposition of the raw and the cooked in mythological thought and man's attempt to establish a balanced relationship between natural and cultural forces.
Lévi-Strauss postulates that the raw/cooked axis is characteristic of all human culture, with elements falling along the "raw" side of the axis being those of "natural" origin, and those on the "cooked" side being of "cultural" origin - i.e. products of human creation. Symbolically, cooking marks the transition from nature to culture, by means of which the human state can be defined in accordance with all its attributes. In mythological thought, the cooking of food is, in effect, a form of mediation between nature and society, between life and death, and between heaven and earth. The cook, in turn, can be viewed as a cultural agent whose function is to "mediate the conjunction of the raw product and the human consumer," the operation of which has the effect of "making sure the natural is at once cooked and socialized."
Conversely—in the Buddhist tradition, one’s mind is defined
as “cooked” by the meditation process or “raw” and untamed.
Make up your own manifesto or ars poetica whatever serves to inspire your work
Jacqueline Gens-October 2009 for a workshop on Contemplative Poetics