No way out but through and no way through but in.
Poetry, Thought, Word Magick is Magus Magnus’ invitation to enter into the pursuit of meaning. A tricky proposition from the start. For sustenance, you’ll be alongside the poet himself who has spent decades following the winding path of a vision, an inspiration – perhaps merely a dream, one of infinite corridors and out-of-nowhere dead ends. Then, sudden openings where all is possible again and everything makes ecstatic sense.
I’m Magus Magnus and I welcome you into my labyrinth. It’s the substructure of a pyramid of my own making, hardly finished, maybe only the first foundational levels have been squarely set after all these years: a Life-Task body of work. Now at least “Halfway Along Our Life’s Path,”1 I’ve decided to unlock a secret passage and give access to what goes on beneath.
I create individual works according to my – and their – calling and, once existent, they ultimately have to abide in their own light and clear their own space. Such is art’s timeless purpose. Yet, the work is done in real time, amidst mundane joys and toils, long-suffering struggle whatever successes or failures, whatever the circumstances and state of the world. What’s it to you? The process, the in-between moments of thinking and doing, conception and execution – there’s where the action is.
For your own action, towards your own purpose.
For me, it’s living out a lifelong dedication to glorying in the word, drinking from (and sometimes too long languishing by) the Enchanted Spring, sucking in divine breath from the Muses’ lips, distilling Kairos from Logos, recognizing markings and blazes from the greats, and leaving my own such as they are. Know me grateful for breadcrumbs and manna.
Nel mezzo del cammin di nostra vita – opening line of Dante’s Divine Comedy. Poet and translator Allen Mandelbaum renders this “When I had journeyed half our life’s way,” and in his notes makes a particular point of the strange universalizing “our” in di nostra vita.
My orientation to the writing life is so old school it’s new. I organized my life following an ineludible inspiration at the age of twenty and I write in accordance with that inner calling. As I age, I’m more and more experiencing the dangerous sense that the light of being is more real than our omnishambles “world,” although I’m also invariably finding myself on the side of facts and science in confrontation with the relentless lies, disinformation, puerile fantasies, and ideological delusions marking our era of strife: in short, there are grounds for truth.
Published books include: The Re-echoes, Idylls for a Bare Stage, Heraclitean Pride, and Verb Sap, and exclusively on Kindle, The Free Spirit. You can find my work in online and print journals, zines, and anthologies, including Pearson Longman’s university-level textbook, Literature: An Introduction to Reading and Writing.
On the Front Burner: forthcoming from the Mute Canary, The Killing Joke, a hybrid poetic-philosophical tracing of the history and concept of the “Killing Joke” in gleeful dazzlement of ancient archetypes and contemporary pop cultural arcana – a work to echo the laughter that outpaces doom.
Born and raised in Los Angeles, then fled: I now confess to having recently developed, with partners, a screenplay and a TV pilot; I’ll post on each of these projects in order to give you an insider view of our working towards getting the works - or what evolves from them - produced. My theater work (specializing in Poets Theater, poetics theater, and the art of the Idyll, an innovative method for acting and staging the poetic monologue through “a shared imagining”) has been performed in venues across the country, including the Kennedy Center, Washington D.C.’s The Shakespeare Company’s Sidney Harman Hall, and the Capital Fringe Festival for a “Must-See,” 5-Star, “Best of the Fringe”-rated run.
Obvious to note in the imagery of the Poetry, Thought, Word Magick introduction above, Masonic eclecticism: Egyptian pyramid, Greek labyrinth, Dante’s medieval cosmography (implicit). I live in the shadow of the George Washington Masonic National Memorial, after all, with its tower reminiscent of the ancient lighthouse of Alexandria, Egypt, and with its hodgepodge of esoteric replicas and architectural styles inside and out. I admit and am okay with such conceptual patchwork – that’s free-wheeling magick. Take what you can use and build anew: pyramids, labyrinths, fortresses in the desert and castles in the air, floating cities and flying islands, Towers of Babel, Borgesian libraries, space stations, a galactic empire, bureaucracies of parallel universes, a great and grand multiverse simulation we can all live with and evolve through and project onto expanses of space and time, infinity and eternity, accepting and affirming each moment of ourselves in Eternal Recurrence.
Thus, through these Substack missives, I’m bringing you along with me – for old-new mastery of the creative path.
My favorite line in all of Dante is “Non v’accorgete voi che noi siam vermi/ nati a formar l’angelica farfalla” (Purgatorio Canto X, 124-125). Don’t you know that we are worms born to form the angelic butterfly?
Magus Magnus www.magusmagnus.com An ideo magus, quia poeta? - Apuleius