It’s vital to draw birds

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.

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