In My Email Today….Paranormal Poets

The following article is from the Academy of American Poets.


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.

William Blake Blake’s Angels Besides his dream visitations from the prophet Elijah, William Blake also believed his dead brother could communicate with him from beyond the grave. Victor Hugo Hugo’s Table Tapping Victor Hugo’s first memorable encounter with a spirit while table-tapping was a visitation from his deceased daughter.
W. B. Yeats 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. Federico Garcia Lorca Lorca’s Duende The word duende literally translates into “having goblins.”
Fernando Pessoa Pessoa’s Hysterical Heteronyms “The origin of my heteronyms,” writes Pessoa, “is basically an aspect of hysteria that exists within me.” James Merrill Merrill’s Ouija Board James Merrill’s conversation with an otherworldy fruitbat, via Ouija, garnered him the National Book Critics Circle Award.
Jack Spicer Spicer’s Martian Transmissions Jack Spicer described poets as “radios,” who pick up transmissions from “Martians.” Nathaniel Mackey Mackey’s Dogon Elders Nathaniel Mackey’s serial poem “Mu” gives voice to the elders of the Dogon tribe of central Mali.
Alice Notley 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. Kamau Brathwaite 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 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.”

Special thanks to Max Ritvo for his research and writing contributions to this suite of articles.


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