Poetry from Three Minds

Les Murray, poet of the Outback, in a whacky interview with the Paris Review, describes the three "minds" that are necessary for a good poem.

We have three minds, I reckon, one of which is the body, while the other two are forms of mentation: daylight consciousness and dreaming consciousness. If one of these is absent from a work, it isn't complete; and if one or two of them are suppressed, kept out of sight, then the whole thing—whatever it is you've created—is in bad faith. Thinking in a fusion of our three minds is how humans do naturally think, at any level above the trivial.

This makes sense to me, especially as I think about the poems that I love. (Not so much the poems I try to write.) There ought to be an idea or concept to the poem that I agree with, a little kernel of verisimilitude. But there should also be an element of mystery, or the poem shouldn't exist at all. Why not just write down the concept in prose and save everybody a headache? And of course, the best writing misses your brain and sticks in your gut, so the body element must be there, too.

Murray goes on:

The questions to ask of any creation are: What's the dream dimension in this? How good is the forebrain thinking, but also how good is the dream here? Where's the dance in it, and how good is that? How well integrated are all three; or if there is a dissonance, is that productive? And, finally, what larger poem is this one in? Who or what does it honor? Who does it want to kill?

This guy talks like a mechanic with a PhD with a tongue of fire above his head.

In another part of the interview, Murray recites the pledge of allegiance he wrote for the Australian government.

(Under God) from this time forward, I am part of the Australian people.
I share their democracy and freedom.
I obey their laws.
I will never despise their customs or their faith
and I expect Australia to be loyal to me.

The public servants didn't much like the last line, and it was cut from the final product.

And lastly, here's a poem that gives a taste of Murray's wildness, exuberance, and affinity for language.

On Removing Spiderweb

Like summer silk its denier
but stickily, o ickilier,
miffed bunny-blinder, silver tar,
crepe when cobbed, crap when rubbed,
stretchily adhere-and-there
and everyway, nap-snarled or sleek,
glibly hubbed with grots to tweak:
ehh weakly bobbined tae yer neb,
spit it Phuoc Tuy! filthy web!

Accessed here.