Poemcrazy: Freeing Your Life With Words, by Susan G. Wooldridge
I disagree with nearly everything in this book. For all of that, I still think this book is useful in a very limited sense, and that is demonstrating once again (if it was necessary to do so) that there is a profound problem when it comes to our contemporary world and the view of creativity that commonly exists among many who fancy themselves to be among the creative classes. In this case the author is both a poet and a leftist instructor, and so our opposition is not too surprising when one takes a look at the political and religious and philosophical disagreements between the author and I. Even though the author and I are both poets, we approach poetry a lot differently and thus the common interest is not really all that useful in encouraging a sense of harmony. This book’s use, limited as it is, is in demonstrating the sort of problems that result from adopting a worldview that simultaneously believes in the power of words and in creativity but without a great deal of respect for how we are created to be and the Creator who formed us.
This book is about 200 pages and is divided into five numbered chapters. By and large, this book is more a series of short chapters that resembles nothing more than blog entries where the author shows a sort of cracker jack box sort of philosophy and discusses her own life and background and her own (pretty terrible) teaching and her own experiences and her efforts at encouraging the identity confusion of various subaltern peoples (including juvenile delinquents who are unsurprisingly fascinated by the idea of fashioning new names for themselves that do not have a bad reputation). There are a few examples of poetry in this book but the book is more full of the author’s thoughts about the writings of others, her citation and quotation of poets and other people that the author views highly, and a lot of efforts at making herself out to be some sort of expert capable of providing insight into the creative powers of the self. Like many people, the author encourages a rebellion against having one’s identity set by others, whether God or the justice system or anyone else, and those who disagree with the author’s politics are going to see this book as having a lot of problems.
Indeed, this book has a lot of problems but its problems are thankfully of an instructive kind that is not so bad for honing the thoughts of the reader. The author believes in the magical power of words and seeks to use that power to bring into being the vain imaginings she has. She has no interest in the Jewish law that she was reared in (her grandfather was apparently a rabbi), and she is predictably interested in Native religions with their heathen trickster aspects as well as the kabbalah and its mysticism, as well as other similar traditions. One can see from this author why it is that people who are so insistent in their power to fashion novel identities for themselves are so hostile to being called what they are, because it is a direct threat to their own powers as creators. And yet their desire to have power as creators does not mean that they respect the way that they were fashioned and formed and the beings responsible for creating and forming them, because there is a sense of rivalry that exists between those who wish to be magical and the authorities that wish to limit creation within acceptable and proper boundaries. In reading a book like this one’s sympathies will likely make themselves very obvious and plain.