Have you heard of InferKit? I’ve been using it once in a while, here and there, to create short prose works. Not for anything other than my own morbid AI curiosity. I decided to try and generate a bio note today, which inspired the AI to come up with a (not yet created) book and a brand new, Whitmanesque poem. The prompt is first in bold, and then the generative text.
What type of poetry does Greg Bem write? Let’s get more specific!
Greg Bem is a poet who uses an unusual poetic style to capture his philosophical approach to poetry and the literary traditions. Bem finds poetic inspiration in the surrealistic work of the Middle Ages; in the fifteenth-century thought of Schopenhauer; in the philosophy of Aristotle, Schopenhauer, and Heidegger; in the imaginative poetry of Michael Bakunin, Jorge Luis Borges, Georg Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel, Heinrich Heine, and Robert Duncan; and in the romanticism of Charles Baudelaire, Arthur Rimbaud, Ernest Renan, and Edgar Allan Poe.
The poems in Bem’s first collection Mirrorbox can be read as a quintessentially American poetic vision of poetic grace, mournful longing, and intellectual intensity. Or they may be likened to the philosophical reflections of the ancient Greeks, glimpsed in the eyes of a poet who grasps the abstract mysteries and hidden depths of life, inhabiting a world of timeless contemplation and profound revelation.
As Bem explains in Mirrorbox:
Like Plato, I delight in finding that in the midst of the maelstrom of history and circumstance, the most intimate of human situations is contained in a limited span of space and time. And while Plato seeks that extended vision, I use my limited vision as a poet to gain an expanded view of human existence, to express a rational self-understanding of the hidden truth of our existence.
Bem has sought that transcendent understanding in a poetic world full of words and sights, a world he has created to help us connect to reality and to share his revelations about who we are and how to live in the world.
Greg Bem is one of the most original and innovative poets of his generation, one whose inventive thinking and utterance of beauty has been helping other people realize what may be hidden in the world.
For more information on Greg Bem, see his website or visit his blog.
Here are a few samples of Greg Bem’s poetry.
The Hidden Image of Man
A wounded soul on a solitary road;
Man bleeding, bent, crawling, hiding, looking, needing.
That image of man, the hidden image,
whose face is marked with a bleeding wound,
the body bent on one side, a broken spirit on
the other, holds within its grasp a subtle,
artistic beauty; and despite the darkness,
refracts light; its depths are tempered,
a subtle beauty that is subtle,
revealing the nobility and the glory
that is man.
It is the nobility and glory of man that I speak
to, the beauty that heals.
It is a delicate, fine beauty,
which heals the mind and the spirit,
the hidden beauty of man.
Songs of the Living
Many mysterious beings gather to me in the dark,
searching for answers to their mysteries.
Only the living need listen; only the living need
feel. This they will hear as they sit beside me
on the shores of mysterious stones,
learning from the person who speaks,
but does not say.
The stars have left their paths.
Faces have vanished.
We live in mysterious ways.
Only the living need listen; only the
living need feel.
I speak of the lost and of their sadness,
and of their lost faces.
I ask what has become of those who were lost.
As if by enchantment, a message comes
from the stars, a message from the dark
eyes of the living, and of the strange faces of
the lost. And a hidden melody, a song of the
life, beckons to me.
I hear that song and it comes as a song
of longing, sorrow, longing,
dreaming, of joy, longing,
the hope of darkness, of loneliness,
of lost faces, of moonlight, of living,
of longing, of dreaming.
Faces are hidden in darkness.
Thrice I have searched the ground and
once again I hear that hidden melody
The song beckons me to visit,
that song of longing.
With every trip I return.
Every time I hear the song
beyond the light of night,
the song of longing.
I have searched the heights of the skies.
This is the space
of night; this is the darkness.
The song of the living
caresses the depths of my soul.
Gentle sounds are heard,
rhythms, grace, mystery.
Unmistakably the music
of life comes, and I hear it.
Beams of moonlight dance on the vastness
of the moon.
Gods love the moon.
Songs of the Living
I rise each morning in the dark.
I sit on the ocean shore.
I hear songs of the dead.
I see faces and bodies turning in circles.
I hear the song of living dying.
This is the song of the living.
It beckons to me.
That song beckons me to go.
That song beckons me to take what I have discovered
and remember the beautiful.
The beautiful, the hidden beauty of the living.
I stand on the shore, but now the lonely,
the restless, the unwilling have left their paths,
even as I long to gather the hidden beauty.
The voice of a friend rings through my ears.
I see a cloud shining from a hidden place.
I see the vastness of the space of the universe.
And I hear the hidden song of the living,
the lovely sound that beckons me to visit.
We are the hidden image of man,
secret, beautiful, hidden.
We must look.
We must feel.
We must feel.
We must live.
Oh, what a blissful bliss,
Oh, what a melody,
beautiful, and sad,
beyond darkness, beyond the stars.
To my children:
Protect what you know of the world.
Guard what you are, and of the words.
Protect the beauty of the living,
that invisible beauty that heals and heals.
Protect those who are alive,
breathing, living, shining.
Guard those who are not yet dead.
Guard those who are inside the darkness of the mind,
by the glitter of moonlight.
Guard those who do not know yet of the beauty.
Guard the loving of the living.
Guard them by glory of man,
that the glory of man heals the soul,
the beauty that heals the mind and the spirit,
the hidden beauty of man.
Oh, the sound that beckons to me.
This is the space of night