Poems of Annie Blake (part 2)

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I really like your tangible imagery and the deep-time feel of these fragments of story that float into view as I read. I hope it won’t be offensive to say that I do find myself frequently confused and wonder if it’s my reading (looking for a narrative line?) or part of your method? It feels in a way like image/concept -floes drift by my mind’s eye, and before they are “grapsed” are gone, and another comes into view. If I take some of the lines as haiku, I can relate to them more deeply. When I try to understand the poem as a whole, can’t seem to do it. I would love to hear about your writing process and your own vision of writing . Thank you!

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Hi Maia,
Thank you for your comment. I think you are feeling my poems very well. These images are deriving from my psyche and so, as in a dream, will be impossible to interpret the way i do. I feel it is wise to look at the poems as a projection of yourself. See which images affect you the most and go with those. My images are designed to unsettle and tie up - because they are meant to weave the feeling and the thinking function. I write intuitively and i am constantly interpreting my dreams and making associations. So, you could look at it as a dialogue between my conscious, preconscious and unconscious realms. I fragment my writing because that is the way i think and feel (the unconscious is nonspatiotemporal) so it differs from the conscious world. So, trying to fit something infinite and chaotic into a conscious space is something non-linear and more pure. i make sense of the world this way and then i feel i can flow. On another level, the work is a moving picture of a fragmented world. It is trying to reveal how divided humanity is and how difficult it is to become unified. On another level, it is analogous to the individuation process. How one must be dismembered (like the crucifixion in Christianity) to become whole. The poems have many undercurrents. I hope this helps.


Thanks, yes! Our “methods” are very similar…except that while I am observing images/embodied concepts scroll by, on another but simultaenous “channel” I hear words making connections between the superficially disconnected image/concepts, then put them together, snipping some things out and adding others, sort of a collage between “conscious” and more than conscious material.
“On another level, the work is a moving picture of a fragmented world. It is trying to reveal how divided humanity is and how difficult it is to become unified.” I really relate to this aspect and constantly feel that what I write is an attempt to “show” how all the fragments connect in the way that the natural connects–mycelia, branch-forms, waves, cycles–hoping for an experience in the reader of this threading of fragments.
While I am reading your poems, my whole psyche is making connections I don’t find in the verbal sequences my eyes see or inner ears hear. And yes, like the human world, I feel disruptions, stairways that break off, “cuts” in the film…
Dismemberment and remembering is also the experience of the natural-world spiritual experiencer—my own— of merging and returning to a human “self”.
Writing seems to me like an act of translation. Many worlds that are really aspects of one fluid and ever-morphing World, each require different languagings capable of being received by different kinds of hearers/readers? And yet, it also seems we ARE each different facets of that merging world, speaking from there and hoping to hear back that we are sometimes and imperfectly heard?

So great to hear you connect with my process. I think many writers are called for this reason. To thread the fabric and to join the dots. Because there is another world which influences so greatly (the uc), and we are driven by it if we don’t confront it. and even when we do, we are still driven by it, but as we evolve we become more conscious of ourselves. And i believe, that it’s through these little works that major changes take place. That is, within ourselves first - and then this energy permeates through to the wider world. I like the way you described ’
mycelia, branch-forms, waves, cycles–hoping for an experience in the reader of this threading of fragments.’ Very true! The psyche is a very interesting place and it takes a great deal of work to even begin to understand it. Every word, action, in my opinion, says so much about oneself. And i don’t think the very bottom will ever be found in one lifetime. I think poetry needs to challenge, as yours does. Each word has its own mouth one must crawl through. And an interpretation from the reader’s own mind may be made. Since our experiences, genetic disposition etc… will mold our being differently, our perception will also differ. That’s why i think it can be dangerous to try to work out what the author has in mind. (particularly, if one is not aware of different realities, symmetrical and asymmetrical thinking etc… (Ignacio Matte Blanco)) - important not to take things literally but to push through the next level. Because what brought the author there may be very different. And all journeys are a very different stepping through. But the collective unconscious is where we can all meet - if we get in that deep. ’
Many worlds that are really aspects of one fluid and ever-morphing World, each require different languagings capable of being received by different kinds of hearers/readers?’ - love this and especially the word ‘languagings’. ‘Dismemberment and remembering’ is also very cool word play. Because i can see that to dismember oneself requires a great deal of ‘remembering’ and painful confrontation. Are you into dreamwork?

Love your reply! I would say dreaming is the substrate and source of any creative thought/act/perception. What I mean by dream is not what we generally mean in this culture, so I sometimes use a capital to distinguish these. At the ultimate level, the process of dreaming is the ever-generative “space” which gives rise to what we call material and what we call immaterial, and so gives rise to dreams and Dreams. It’s so hard to talk sometimes! With all the levels of meanings words evoke. Cultural inertias, which you see as you go and want to disavow, but literally there isn’t time! I’ve always paid a lot of attention to night-dreams (as well as dreaming that goes on awake), from childhood on, and for many many years kept a record of most remembered night dreams, eventually found that unnecessary after learning a great deal from it, and now only record the essence of a very few. They are brief, condensates of dreams I could say, but very meaningful/beautiful sources of creativity and even life-changes.
That’s only the start the thing, of course, but I’m eager to hear what you have to say!

Awesome! i’m reading this great book at the moment called 'who is the dreamer who dreams the dream? by grotstein. which is absolutely fascinating. talks about the dream as a source, but from whom/what? is it an element of the human or other? anyway, i have been expatiating on my dreams for about a year and a half. and it has been a real eye opener. in my case, it has definitely propelled my individuation process. but this is probably not for everyone. i understand what you mean - by words having so many meanings - and you would need hours to explain such a little discussion/ part of a poem etc, sleeping closes down resistances, so it is the raw self which comes up. i have found that dreams are very complex and impossible to fully understand because they go back many lifetimes. but much meaning can be gleaned (that’s what it feels like sometimes). it is often the murky feeling that i used to ignore that gives me the most. that is when all the associations untie. and it is sometimes the dreams which feels so insignificant at night time that sheds the most during the day. i enjoy archetypal dreams the most. because i never forget them and they feel so unreal and numinous. day dreams are awesome too and do you have hypnagogic experiences? (the latter are very clear images and very exciting)

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I spent a couple of decades doing Vipassana meditation (retreats and practice) and a lot of the time I ended up observing hypnogogic/hypnopompic image streams, as well as what is called “subtle talk”, ie verbal pre-thinking, internal sound, plus bodily sensations that arise in response to all of this. I began using this directly while awake and writing. Feels like putting attention into a certain “place” from which ordinary self listens/feels/observes the streams and their interactions, arising and dissolving, merging, splitting apart, kind of like zero point particle dynamics! If I were a fully developed visual artist, I’d be painting dreams, for sure. I did that a few times (watercolor), but am mostly a writer now, not enough time/energy to do everything unfortunately.

This sounds very interesting! I don’t have any experience in meditation, really. I like the idea of connecting body and mind. It reminds me a little of Active Imagination which comes more naturally to me. And I suppose, I look at symptoms in a more analytic way and interpret those to connect mind and body. But that’s a more psychoanalytic approach, which is more occidental than eastern. It is so great that you have painting experience. Dali was an amazing artist who used hypnagogic images. Where can i find more of your work? I would love to read more of you.

Thanks for asking. Rarely paint these days, but I just published a second book called Postcards from Jackson (Cholla Needles Press), which anyone can get through Amazon ( don’t like Amazon and would not choose to promote them, the non-profit publisher required it. ) But the vast majority of my wiritng is, for good or ill, unpublished or in obscure journals.
I was thinking of you when I was editing the other night, a poem called The Maze at Orleans. I think it was especially the first verse of your first poem published here on CC that triggered the feeling of connection. See what you think.

The Maze at Orleans

In the last hour of more-than-hungry,
driven by my demon will,

the call of the owl seduced me
to disobey my mothers’ warning— don’t

cross through fallow gardens, don’t wander
serpentine woods, don’t rouse spirits,

their talons sharpen after dark…

Why don’t mothers urge daughters
as they do sons—go

what you find

bring back for us


No mother no lover no home

I carry my guitar
far from lit houses,

my bare soles trace the maze—
moss-lined, spiraling

between sumac and hollybush
to the darkest place, where I sit and listen.

Stars spring from the well.
Night questions.

Why did you come here?

To know without words—not even
the most beautiful—

anochear como safiro

to know in the owl’s sudden flight,
and the ring of my guitar

when the song has ended.