Mary Mackey charts the paths of her own creativity as she tries to discover an entry point to the magical place where the seed of a poem starts to open.
A meditation on how the sources of creativity emerged from a vast, wordless reality and became available to a poet. As such, it is not only a memoir; it is an exploration of the power and process of becoming a poet. What is creativity? Where do creative ideas come from? What happens at the exact moment a creative impulse is suddenly transformed into something that can be expressed in words? To describe creativity is extraordinarily difficult because the moment of creation comes from a place where language does not exist and where the categories that determine what we see, hear, taste, and feel are not immediately present. In our daily lives we tend to live on the surface, unaware of the complexity and richness of what lies below. Poetry creates itself, bubbling up from the depths until it reaches that part of our brains that transforms consciousness into words. Poetry chooses the poet. The poet did not choose it. This book is a journey to that place where all poems begin.
“Mackey’s vast body of work, and all the unique forms of creativity it delivers, is definitely worth delving into.” — Nasty Women Writers
“Read this book outloud to find out more about where poems come from...Mackey’s style is immensely lucid, readable, and engaging... This book will be enlightening not just to anyone interested in the creative process, but also to creative writing students at all levels, discovering in themselves their own pre-language source.” — Synchronized Chaos Magazine
"[I ] read Mary Mackey’s CREATIVITY: WHERE POEMS BEGIN with giddy pleasure.” — Scene 4 Magazine
Mary Mackey’s CREATIVITY: WHERE POEMS BEGIN is both effervescent and analytical... Mackey finds a world that answers to her need to the uncentered, the unconfined... What I like about CREATIVITY is that it doesn’t pretend to be an explicit work of instruction, a how-to for poets. Rather, it is a crisply worded narrative . . . that puts up a spirited resistance to easy classifying, and that is its consistent lesson for the developing poet or novelist—find your own off-road, meandering route to creativity... This book invites the reader toward open-ended creativity, and is the polar opposite of a paint-by-the-numbers approach. CREATIVITY implicitly urges the reader to stay receptive and persist through all the doubts, distractions, and “failures” to success, whether the rewards are small or big." — Poetry Flash Magazine
Literary Nonfiction. Poetry.
Mary Mackey, New York Times best-selling author, became a poet by running high fevers, tramping through tropical jungles, being caught in volcanic eruptions, swarmed by army ants, threatened by poisonous snakes, and reading. She is the author of 14 novels and 8 collections of poetry including THE JAGUARS THAT PROWL OUR DREAMS, winner of the 2019 Eric Hoffer Award for the best book published by a small press.