Journal
Manjushri, Vajrapani, Angel, Bodhi-Part 1
May 01, 2006 00:03

1. Prologue

In February, I finished the first section of my book Suicide Dictionary. It is the result of four grueling years and represents the end-product of what I deem to be the proper frame. From the first time I read Charles Olson’s Maximus Poems, I was hooked on the idea of continuing the tradition of the ‘Great American Personal Epic.’ Whitman’s Leaves of Grass, Pound’s Cantos, Zukofsky’s “A”, and William Carlos Williams’ Paterson are all prominent examples. Needless to say, my attempts at an epic began with poetry. After years of false starts and thousands of poems, I finally figured out why my AQAL approach to literature wasn’t working. It wasn’t AQAL!! I knew Whitman was too GREEN. I knew Pound and Williams were wallowing in flat-land (Williams famous dictum, “No ideas but in things.”). I found that I, like Zukofsky, was trapping myself into the left-hand quadrants. What I was saying in the poems was truly integral, but the FORM was not working. I spanned the history of poetry writing in STYLES ranging from vers libre to villanelle, trying to force integral thought INTO the CONCRETE FORM of poetry. Then it dawned on me. I had transcended the old left-hand paths of literary thought. But I was attempting to do this without equally transcending the CONCRETE FORMS or right-hand paths of the literary quadrant. Poetry had been DONE. Shakespeare was poetry’s supernova. It’s taken 400 years for this form to fizzle completely (Pope to the Romantics to Browning to the Moderns to the Post-moderns). Today, Anne Carson hangs on (barely). My next thought was to move to prose. I quickly figured out that this was TRANSLATION not TRANSFORMATION. James Joyce had killed prose. What about drama? Nope. Shakespeare nuked this too. The final embers showing up in Samuel Beckett’s Waiting for Godot (Perfect title, huh?). Just for the record, I’m not saying that beautiful poems, novels, or plays can’t be written. What I AM saying is that the ‘common’ collection of poetry, the linear ho-hum novel, or the ‘average’ stage play can not be fully Integral because they use old FORMS. Can this be correct? Can the birth of a ‘trans-literary’ thought be blooming?

My answer is yes. But how you ask. Easy. The CONTENT must transcend and include the two left-hand quadrants while simultaneously the CONCRETE FORM must transcend and include the right-hand quadrants. Put differently, the writer must transcend and include the FORMS of poetry, drama, and prose while doing the same with the CONTENT from beige to yellow (and beyond). My attempt at this has turned into what I call the “Creative Dictionary.” I started using this FORM in October of last year, finishing part one, Shakespeare’s Hazing, in February. I sent this chapter to two friends of mine (both very GREEN professors), via the internet. I received one response: “Is this about religion?” This, as you can imagine, left me wondering what to do with the manuscript. I knew I had tapped into SOMETHING, but who could I send it to just to make sure? Who could I find that would instantly understand an Integral Literature. This was simple. Ken Wilber. I sent the manuscript and a week later, Ken’s personal assistant, Colin Bigelow, called me at home (in Kentucky) and invited me to Denver. I instantly agreed. A month later (today) I sit at Colin’s computer ready to share my first experiences with Ken, Colin and the family.

Michael Richardson

Guest Blogger

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