This is in response to the author of ‘War of the Foxes’, one Richard Siken in which he pontificates on the relevance of drawing a bird.
A man saw a bird and wanted to paint it. The problem, if there was one, was simply
a problem with the questions. Why paint a bird? Why do anything at all? Not how,
because hows are easy–series of sequence, one foot after the other–but existen-
tially why bother, what does it solve?
-The Language of Birds, War of the Foxes, -Richard Siken
This struck in me righteous fury, for if anyone hasn’t ever read Le Petite Prince, then it is impossible for them to fully fathom the desperate importance of drawing a boa constrictor with an elephant inside of it. And if you cannot realize then the vital importance drawing a bird can be, you are truly lost. You are in a prison of pure intellectualism but haven’t any real poetry on the inside. For a poet, or even masters and teachers of it cannot simply hide behind technical brilliance and clever one-liners for long. Eventually, they have to get naked on stage. Both in their bodies and baring their soul. Poets are according to me nude models for art classes in a community college, being the subject matter of amateur students of varying ages and backgrounds. Some of them are neighborhood residents, and others taking this course to eliminate a general. They will overtly discuss the fact that they drew a naked adult in a class full of strangers, and the silent discomfort that can seem to generate at first. Yet the poet as a nude model, their bodies are their work, and it inspires onlookers to create their own distinct variations. Before long the nude model is immaterial, whether they’re attractive or misshapen is immaterial. The capturing of their form is all that there is.
I’m a grown-up now, skilled in both art and writing. In today’s world, I cannot stress enough the crazy relevance of drawing both a bird or a boa constrictor. Richard Siken, you have a great deal of growing up to do.