This inspiring collection comes from Poets.org, the Academy of American Poets fabulous website and email newsletter. Here are many versions of the muse and the channeling writer — a fun read and an interesting sidebar to the lives and inspirations of poets! The links lead to more detailed descriptions, and some interesting poems.
FROM THE EMAIL:
“Many poets claim an inspiration beyond their conscious mind as a vital part of their writing. This channeling of creative force manifests in a variety of ways—inspired by gods, God, aliens, deceased spirits, “something out there,” or by a psychiatric condition.
Explore the varied tradition of poets’ channeling—and what happens when the muse takes over.”
Besides his dream visitations from the prophet Elijah, William Blake also believed his dead brother could communicate with him from beyond the grave.
|Hugo’s Table Tapping
Victor Hugo’s first memorable encounter with a spirit while table-tapping was a visitation from his deceased daughter.
|Yeats’s Spiritus Mundi
W.B. Yeats’s marriage was held together by the fact that his wife’s sleep-talking happened to come from the spirit-world.
The word duende literally translates into “having goblins.”
|Pessoa’s Hysterical Heteronyms
“The origin of my heteronyms,” writes Pessoa, “is basically an aspect of hysteria that exists within me.”
|Merrill’s Ouija Board
James Merrill’s conversation with an otherworldy fruitbat, via Ouija, garnered him the National Book Critics Circle Award.
|Spicer’s Martian Transmissions
Jack Spicer described poets as “radios,” who pick up transmissions from “Martians.”
|Mackey’s Dogon Elders
Nathaniel Mackey’s serial poem “Mu” gives voice to the elders of the Dogon tribe of central Mali.
|Notley’s Automatic Writing
What would a dead mother tell her daughter if she could communicate with her from the afterlife? Notley answers this question.
|Brathwaite’s Madwoman Défilée
The poet channels forces as diverse as his recently deceased girlfriend to the mad girlfriend of a slain Haitian Emperor.
|CAConrad’s DIY Séance
“It’s true to say the poem is there, it’s right there, it’s always there, and it’s waiting, actually waiting for us.”