con·duit (k n d-t, -d t) n. 1. A pipe or channel for conveying fluids, such as water…

welcome, everyone…


there will be other days for telling you about my background, my current projects, or what my intentions are for this blog….today, i just want to start somewhere that’s real to me…


in our very first conversation, Oscar Bermeo and i touched on the subject of being ‘conduits’ for poetry—for the spirit of poetry, the energy of poetry…specifically, we were talking about raulrsalinas (1934-2008)…it’s something i rarely get to talk about with anyone but my brother who is himself a pure conduit of poetry…


….in the midst of conversations with other writers about technique and form, language(s), the implications of gender/sexuality/culture/region, publication and marketability, pooling resources, workshops and conferences, who are work is reaching and what out work is supposed to do in the world, our role as writers, and so on and so on, it seems that there are certain vital conversations i can’t ever get to…but as a poet, they’re what matter most to me…the role of spirit in poetry-making, the role of poetry in spirit/soul-making…


what is the energy/emotion that infuses a poem before it even has words…and where does it come from? what have we made of ourselves—not as ‘poets’ or ‘writers’ or ‘performers’ but as our fundamental selves, whatever it may be that we call it: soul or sensibility or expression—that makes us conduits for the work that flows (sometimes easily and sometimes with great force) out of us?


for myself, i know when i’ve written the poem i meant to write, the poem that tells the truth the best way i can tell it…and every time i read it, it echoes inside me and i remember it, feel it the first way i felt it…there’s a lot of poetry out there that doesn’t speak to me, but what does—i feel it echoing and ricocheting inside me…and i know i wasn’t just ‘touched’ or ‘moved’ by someone else’s work… my spirit resonated with the spirit infused in that work…


i like the idea of poets as stained-glass windows…artworks subject to revision…that as baby poets, we begin with a single sheet of glass…maybe transparent, maybe a solid color…and as we learn all of those important poet-y techniques—but more importantly, as we develop ourselves as that which poetry comes through—we have more colors, more shapes, varying kinds of light…and through time, our poetry is what comes through the stained glass windows of our very selves…


this is what we do every day…empty ourselves out, fill ourselves up, ground ourselves in our bodies, toss out the physical world, birth words and burn them…write and then write even when we’re not writing….i think we are instruments…





12 thoughts on “con·duit (k n d-t, -d t) n. 1. A pipe or channel for conveying fluids, such as water…”

  1. Good Thoughts Irene..ay how I miss writing. But I do love what you said in your new blog. I look forward to reading….if only I could hear a grito of yours on this blog!

    Dolores Zapata Murff
    aka La Dee

  2. I definitely think the role of the spirit in poetry is a topic worth discussing at the next Canto Mundo. I know that I for one, hesitate to discuss spiritual matters with others out of fear. (fear of rejection or that people will think I am crazy) So, I am going out on a limb to share this story about my current writing residency.

    I arrived in Albuquerque, NM on Monday and spent the first four days settling in to my surroundings. I was initially given a cubicle to write in, but finally received an office of my own yesterday. At the end of my fourth day here, I felt dejected about not writing a single word. I could argue that I had to get used to my space, create new connections with my new community here, get my bearings in a new city, and begin some initial reading and research on my project – all true. But at the heart, or more specifically in my spirit, I felt a fear of beginning and an uncertainty of where to begin.

    Then last night as I arrived at the home of my wonderful hostess, I walked into the beginning of a guided meditation gathering. My hostess invited me to join her and the four other strangers in her living room, but she also noted (with a familiar feeling of discomfort of speaking of spiritual matters perceivably in her voice) that if I chose I could remain in my room. I joined them and discovered it was just what I needed. In the meditation I heard many affirmations that I had no idea I was so hungry to hear. At one point our guide spoke of approaching our creations with purity of spirit and driving away the fear and ego which can become obstacles in our creative process. It was as if she was speaking just to me.

    After the meditation, I was full of ideas. I thought back to my initial inspiration for my project and how it was bigger than myself. I block out the ego which wants to succeed and wants to be liked. I immediately started scribbling down so many missing pieces to the puzzle of my project. I found myself waking up several times in the middle of the night with even more scribbling. The ideas would not let me sleep. I cannot deny in my own personal experience that when I am open and unafraid I am a conduit. The ideas that came to me last night were not entirely my own.

    Even typing this right now, I feel the fear of those who will find me “hokey” but I share this for those of you with whom this might resonate. Your post, ire’ne, definitely resonated with me. Thank you for that!

  3. Looking forward to more, ire’ne. This is a good conversation already. We are conduits of poetry resonates with me. It’s the soul speaking through us, forget the technical. It means nothing when it is not real.

    1. exactly…i think people/poets forget the technical is just a means to an end….the technique is not the point of it…neither are the words nor the rhyme nor the sound nor the images…not any of them alone…and i don’t know what is real that’s not the soul…

  4. Here, here, mujer! I feel that spirit speaks to us in so many ways…sometimes it is released for me in a poem other times in a play other times in a communication or conversation I’m having with a person or a simple interaction, caring for a person who needs love in that moment…lately I’ve been focusing more and more on this aspect, this core, of my self. Some of the work has quieted and that is a bit scary but I have faith that when the words want to come they will be there…and maybe they won’t be words, maybe something else. I too hope to talk about this in a group. Thanks, ire’ne!

  5. A lovely post on the writing process. Thanks, ire’ne.

    You might be interested in poet Fanny Howe’s memoir, “The Winter Sun.” In it she talks about Bhartrhari, a fifth century Indian grammarian who, she says, wrote in

    “…what was called the Sphota theory. In a nutshell, this theory maintains that the uttered word has one purpose: to reveal the inner, unspoken word’s meaning. This inner word, which precedes any articulation, is the object of speaking. It has a unity that precedes sound. However, to discover the word’s unity, one must speak it, release it into the air.”

    “…Bharthari described four levels of language, beginning with the least significant:

    *The articulated one (external and audible)
    *The middle one (mental and potential)
    *The witnessing one (latent and formless)
    *The supreme attendant (fundamental to being and transcendental)

    Heady stuff (don’t you want to party with that guy?) , but it sort of maps the conduit you very beautifully describe. Anyhow, thanks again.

  6. ire’ne, i posted the same comment on E’s FB last night… i wanted you to know that i feel the same way about you, but for different reasons. (i could listen to your voice all night long.) It is a beautiful thing to see and know you are doing well… that you are writing. From the very beginning, i too have had a love affair with words. i have my mother to thank for that, but more than words it’s the love affair with people, animales, tierra, self, life, living and learning. i want to inhale it all and then spit it out. I guess that is what knudges me from my sleep on nights like this. i have always loved the process, probably more than i ever cared about any finished product, or publication. I know i’ve said it before and i’ll say it again. I want to give birth too. Perhaps there are things in my life right now that allow for a certain level of creative freedom, raw, uncut, uncensored… with my limited sometime narrow perspective. i don’t take that for granted nor do i discount the fact that others often do not have the same luxuary. I am grateful. In the end, always for the time. Since we’ve touched on spirituality, i would like to leave you with the parting words of Hasaan Mekour, taken from, THE FUTURE REMAINS. “This is not now the moment to falter. I have talked of myself and war and gulls and pain and little flames of hills and lightening and lost seas and of sense and senselessnes until nothing means only itself. Impart on me more means my God… seeking meanings to modulate my moods.”

  7. I notice that to me its not fear but about being uncomfortable I dont want to get up and do yoga and feel the initial discomfort My mind knows it only last a second or maybe a minute then a feeling of bliss euphoria BUT NO I dont even want to feel it one second. So to me like in yoga and in my art and writing, its about going thru feelings FEELINGS THAT ARE FUNKY FUNKY uncomfortable and I avoid them and wanna stay in my warm fuzzy bed of comfort and check out and sleep or do anything to avoid letting out my inside. Also I think we have a heavy HEAVY load of hopelessness and que no valemos una chingada or what we think or write is unimportant to anybody including OUR PEOPLE. oh but it IS! I get a heavy grief when I think of Gloria Anzaldua writing Borderlands and her channeling and sitting with the feeling of who wants to read or care about a poor brown dykes thinking and feelings? Then I know I have to push on for I never thought Id see the day raza in the hundreds would be lined up to see her and hear her read when they used to be 4 of us coming to hear her read ! We matter You matter and Ire’ne y Moises YALL MAKE A DIFFERENCE

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