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Artist Profile

BARBARA RAS

Artist's Statement
As a poet, my desire is to explore questions that cannot be answered any other way—what is the relationship between poetry and society, between words and politics, between memory and daily life, between the individual and community, between the mundane and the miraculous. To me the most successful poetry exists at an unnamable place that fuses knowledge and desire, the known with the unknown. I strive to make poetry that is alive on the page and that speaks to people—not just other poets—but that somehow portrays the difficult balancing act of being conscious in the twenty-first century. We live in a time that assaults anyone who spends more than ten minutes a day paying attention. But attention, as Malebranche so beautifully said, “is the natural prayer of the soul.” Thus, the poet’s job, which I take to be my job, is to transform ordinary reality into something that shimmers with life and spirit.

I have been writing for more than thirty years. I write slowly. It’s not a choice—it’s a life circumstance. For most of that time I’ve worked as a book editor and publisher, and in that role, I spend much of my time bringing forth the imaginative work of others. It is soul-satisfying work, but leaves little time available for my own creative work. It would be a terrific benefit to receive the support of the Artist Foundation to enable me to take time off from a demanding job in order to pursue a writing project that has been a consuming idea for the past year. With more time, I feel confident I could make great progress with the concepts I’ve been wrestling with and want to continue to explore.


Literary Arts Samples

 
Notes for Time
Poetry, 2007

 
It Came Down Ice Last Night
Poetry, 2006

 
Train
Poetry, 2007

 
Nothing Was Ever Better Than Before
Poetry, 2007

 
Only Air
Poetry, 2007

 

 
 
     
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