Is Inspiration Dead?


Although everything important has gotten killed off by philosophers, I wonder: do you have a place, a nook, a poem, something/anything that still inspires you? Jazz, for example, by Chet Baker or a passage from Leaves of Grass?

Here’s something that I must admit I get excited about; I love the expressionistic elephant paintings. I find them very moving for some reason.


The pachyderms of this Jackson Pollock type aesthetic that I’ve read about live in Thailand. Vitaly Komar and Alexander Melamid, two Russian expatriates, are credited with the “discovery” that elephants have artistic talent, and they established the Thai Elephant Art School. They found a lot about their new students, for example, that the elephants adore the work of Vasily Kandinsky. As I understand it, all the proceeds of their paintings are used to establish and maintain elephant sanctuaries throughout Thailand.

P.C. or not, there’s something about these designs that I feel and understand, which is, I guess, what it’s all about.


  1. The other night I drove up to Milwaukee with a friend to hear Robin Blaser read his poems at Woodland Pattern.
    Robin Blaser inspires me. He read from his Image-Nation series, and from his long poem on Dante — part essay, part common book, full of hints and recognitions of the poem-of-the-poem. The reading was small: 20 or 30 people. Lord, how quiet it was. Talk about tuning the silence. Blaser will be 80 years old in a few weeks. He is small, maybe 5’5″, and trim, a shock of mid-length white hair, neatly combed, black trousers and a dark brown, clinging turtleneck shirt.
    I asked him to sign my copy of CUPS after the reading. I asked him if he read out much. (When I came up I told maybe five people here in St. Louis I was coming, all poets, none of whom had ever heard of him: So inspiration is to the point.) He said he didn’t, not because he wouldn’t, but because he never asked for a reading, couldn’t, how could he know if who he asked liked his work?
    It occured to me that his saying that was not unrelated to why the reading had been so moving to me —

  2. I know exactly what you mean about the elephant paintings. I don’t know if I can explain the quality about them that strikes me as so beautiful; I think, in part, that it is about the historic plight of elephants as a hunted and abused species. After all they have suffered, they are still willing to participate in creating something beautiful.

Comments are closed.

%d bloggers like this: