February 20, 2005
In ZEN MIND, BEGINNER’S MIND, Shunryu Suzuki says, “This is also the real secret of the arts: always be a beginner.” One of my dearest friends in the world, a Chicago minimalist painter who goes by the blognomen of lhombre, is taking Suzuki up on it by starting a poetry blog, entitled LUZ, as a complete neophyte in the midst of a long and successful career as a visual artist. Lhombre would be the first to say that from the technical standpoint his poems are rough. But a gift for imagery, especially imagery of light and air and liquid and color, comes strongly through in his poems, and his figures of speech are often original and enhanced by synesthesia (mixing of the senses). The poems are interspersed among prose discussions on art, the nature of creativity, the sources of inspiration, and related matters, to which lhombre invites discussants. Perhaps what’s most refreshing is the experience of meeting an artist of this caliber who is so willing to become a student again and to learn from everyone regardless of worldly prestige—who seeks out the genuine, wherever he finds it, whoever has made it. He doesn’t mind seeming like a complete novice in poetry because, he claims, he started out from the same position as a painter. That is the real art spirit.