Oct 302015


by Kirby Congdon…….

When so much of the world has been overcome by a kind of fad that claims that any inheritance belongs to those who overlook civilization. They emphasize their own belief in eternal bliss instead. This satisfies the need for power by the powerful. In contrast, one can worry about the ineffectiveness of essayists who hammer away at the benefits of poetry.

This suggests a conundrum like giving blessings and love to the barbarian whose bomb already has a fuse burning and whose only purpose is the destruction of all meaning. Consciousness, however, operates in more than one dimension. Words like poetry, love or justice aren’t confined to the simplistic. The barbarian’s stance is indeed, however, simplistic because his mind only works in one dimension. It is intelligence, thought, education and experience that provides any depth that actions need. Almost any kind of conversation seeks to come to a reconciliation when ideas differ. It is when a lack of objective thinking controls an argument that chaos wins.

This writer has seen our serious problems in the headlines. The control of events seems to be by greedy egos, and in the enormous conflicts that go on throughout mankind. Poetry, love or justice are not confined to simplistic sayings but require attention on many levels of consciousness such as emotion, experience, reason, history and the news. The corrections that chaos needs to bring the world back to reality are not easy to find or to put into effect, but they come from public decisions at the White House all the way to the private meditation in a seminary. We need to ask, as John Donnelly asked, what is consciousness, whether it gives depth to a poem, to affection, to the authenticity of society, as Jerome Grapel encourages, or even, as now, to the survival of civilization.

These ideas are brought up here not as a guide to action or thought, but only as a survey and as a confirmation of what we already know.

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Kirby Congdon
Kirby Congdon found his calling in the time of the Beat Movement, his poems being published by the New York Times, The New York Herald Tribune and the Christian Science Monitor as well as countless small-press outlets. While influenced by the assertive stance of a new generation in literature, he preferred to set aside the spontaneous approach of his friends and use his work as an exploratory tool in establishing the new identity of his times as well as that of his own maturation. This search was incorporated in 300 works which were compiled in a bibliography by a Dean of the English Department at Long Island University in his retirement and made available in hard-back with an extensive addenda by the literary activists of Presa Press through their skills achieved from the University of Michigan and their own experience which commands a movement in itself of contemporary literary action.

Congdon’s work in poetry covers innumerable treatments of countless subjects in single poems, long treatments on a subject, and many collections of both serious thought and imagination through not only the poetry but through essays, plays and ruminations. Named the first poet laureate of Key West, he received a standing ovation for his reading honoring this position and was the featured poet in a festival celebrating Frank O’Hara in the New York region. He was also asked to read his work as well as give a talk on the country’s national poet laureate, Richard Wilbur, at a seminar honoring that man. Currently, Congdon is working on an autobiography and a collection of complete poems.
 October 30, 2015  Posted by at 12:20 am Issue #138, Kirby Congdon  Add comments

  2 Responses to “Preaching to the Choir”

  1. Kirby, You honor me by mentioning my name. Thanks so much, I appreciate your concise (not my strong point) analysis of the human condition. Poetry comes in an infinite variety of ways, from the movements of a Roger Federer to the words of a Kirby Condon. Anyone who minimizes its necessary role in our lives is doing humanity a grave injustice. In fact, it could be said that it IS humanity. ciao, Jerome

  2. Kirby,

    As always, an outstanding essay filled with beauty and promise. The ideas that you set forth, provide me with the means to explore and know myself.

    If I have no comfort or familiarity with the Thinker of my thoughts, the stress and dysfunction associated with such pain will disable the stream of life, manifesting itself into much of the ugliness found in the world.

    A curriculum providing our children with a Self-Realized & Self-Actualized (experience/awakening) will change the world one student at a time.

    Sincerely appreciate the healing contained in your articles/poems. The ‘butterfly effect’ is a clear and present reality; at work within our consciousness, thoughts, works and deeds; changing the world one vibration at a time.

    Blessings & Respect

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