About the Poems
by Francis Raven
(1) Man, it's difficult to write a poem that you'd want to read.
(2) Why We Write? Why Did I Write These Poems?
Writing should be thought of and taught as the expression of an answer to the philosophic question "How should one live their life?" You ask, why shouldn't every field of inquiry be thought of in this manner? And I answer, well, in a certain sense they should, but in another sense writing is unique because it is an articulate answer to the question. Writing articulates why one would choose the writing life out of the many possible lives there are, whereas other fields do not articulate this answer fully. Since writing articulates this choice, it also, in a certain sense, articulates why anyone would choose any life out of the many. So, writing articulates not only why one would choose the life of a writer, but why one would choose any particular life. This fact intimately links writing and philosophy because philosophy articulates the question that writing hopefully answers.
The question is, "Why do we write?" Although, any answer we may choose to give is, at best, provisional and incomplete. But just because this is true it does not follow that we do not need to answer.
On the contrary, we need to answer this question more than any other posed to us because in answering it we may begin to understand the related questions: "Why do we create?" and "Why do we become?"
(3) First Reader
Every writer needs a first reader who will be more honest than the rest of all the best. It is this reader who determines the structure of the literary with the original writer. One must attempt to think of every other reader as yet more determinates of the structure of a piece. It is not that the author is dead; it is merely that it is now acknowledged that he begets with many in much the same way as in every other profession; it is merely that now the author must see himself as everyone else does, as a piece of the work of knowledge; it is merely that the cult of individuality has shown the roots of its hair and cannot flourish without a common form of life.
(4) Philosophy and the Self-Referential Poem
Since writing poems is an act of creation, writing poems about the nature of poetry and the nature of the poet is necessarily a dialogue about creation with someone who is in the act of it. Since we did not get to speak to God while he was creating the universe, this is the closest that we will ever get to speaking with a creator while he is in the act of creation. Heidegger uses two terms which will illuminate my point here. For Heidegger 'Being' is the ground or source of all being, including mind and world, whereas 'being' is merely existence. So, when the poet writes about the nature of poetry he is exhibiting and attending to the conversation between 'Being' (the nature of poetry and the creation of it) and 'being' (the poet himself). This is why the conversation inherent in the self-referential poem best helps us to understand what it means to be.