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Created the Lowell Institute cooperative broadcasting Council resents Robert Penn Warren the writer as Creator as a number 8. And I see no association of educational broadcasters series The creative mind produced by WGBH FM in Boston under a grant from the Educational Television and Radio Center. These conversations explore the creative process as it pertains to the American artist and scientist in the 20th century. And here is our host and commentator for the creative mind. Lyman Bryson. Robert Penn Warren is a poet and a novelist and a playwright and as you will soon discover a talker. He has very vigorous opinions about some of the most debated questions in the whole field of aesthetics and the whole consideration of the creative mind his own creative mind is at work not only on objects of art the
things that he does his plays and his poems and his novels but also upon the problems of the artist and the thinker. And he has doubts about whether or not any theory helps an artist very much. He doesn't think that you can decide how you build a novel for instance as an architect decides how to build a building and then you go out and get the material and fit it into your theory that just doesn't work. The artist is himself. He has his own experience. He has to make things out of that experience and he has to do it in his own way but not in an explicit theory. What he's trying to do is to find truth in his imagination and communicate it just as a man of action finds truth in action. What an artist is trying to do is to give you the imagined lives of men and women and children and in real lives human beings find themselves always in moral problems and moral situations. The artist is
searching for the essential meaning of these imagined lives he's searching for the truth that's valid for him and it will be valid for those people who choose to be his audience. I suppose when we consider all of these pieces of advice that we get out of successful writers like Mr. Robert Penn Warren we have to take them with a word of caution because they have worked for them. They wouldn't necessarily work for anybody else. There are examples rather than models suggestions rather than rules. They're not programs of easy action for the novice. They're somewhat paradoxical but they're the wisdom of a gifted writer who's trying to understand the difficulties the arteries the inspiration of his own spirit. Here is Robert Penn Warren. I don't know why he talked or I thought you know it was all education
and it takes to teach me how to think. But nothing is going to make a rider of him accept His will be wise. Plus there's not enough sense of voters whatever they happen to believe. But he can hire an eye for eye and all writers do learn the amount of land by cultivating their own whereas what limits are right and so far as criticism can be a topic of discussion like you learn I can be told something years that live to lag behind the actual process. During the Battle Hymn of my co-anchor pastor the self-criticism. I know what to look for what feels good off the was bad how to think about a piece of work. It's as simple as how a pilot is taught not taught I mean young man goes in the studio it looks like I was he's a painter painting he looks at the higher lays it all about how desolate on.
That little hole is a craft and I would have said there can be observed as a speculative hope that certain things can't be talked about relation to value as yet another piece of work said Patty or whatever it happens to be. But there is a relation of man to himself and to exercise. Something can be taught. He has this figured out for yourself as well. Whether Jersey this storied hobby division of Seve shooters society world well do you think that the artist bears a direct responsibility to a society that he should function as a sort of conscience. I don't think any of it weighed more responsibly pharmacist or professor or somebody else that his sponsor the is the matter most and he carried himself and later the other people in that meeting which he does there happens to be in
terms of language. And in terms of images of human experience but a fundamental responsibility is a responsibility shared other human beings. And he's been trying to articulate those bars voters in a special way. And act them out in the majesty of way while he would have to act them out in a practical way. With something like that he responsibility is not different and yet the degree or kind. From anybody responsible you don't think it differs in degree in the sense that his word reaches so many people that is the pharmacist may be a small man in his prime goal every day and I need about a more life but this is a great touch. Only the people in his immediate vicinity but I'd rather read or better take their medicine. The bad vibes where you have your jack in the Caribbean but you know I think that it is that's the rider can change his design is that he has a certain
responsibility in life where he made live maybe a matter that he may or may not have a lot of influence probably vary case to case from one to another. But it's almost a production of accidental consideration to distinguish him from other people on the ground as possible. I was a Christian for the response of the writers that their response basically is what about that possibility. There except one thing there responsibility be rightness to be cured of their crime. That's why me to what they're doing is right is trying to tell the truth and then respond with as much as the sun there is possible is to tell the truth in the Cabinet can refuse that there's probably that medium with a weapon. What's the point trying to do what is a boy 10 years away tension when he intends to make a point. As I said only intention he really had was entirely.
That's as I said that's a basic tension. He can't and 10 they mean. Until the thing is finished. Because if he did intend as many have the point you are getting there. He is required to be able to win totally and then the poem in the poem would exist as a process the end point I'm not about L.. There's a process I'm discovering what potentialities are in the germ you start with. You tell yourself you follow you explore possibilities ask cause manner possible has to be realistic bad possible. So you've eaten them out. You say our asteroid Iraqis refuse. What you're really trying to find somewhere unconscious and fruitful sense. Of the day. You know ours ration is going to correspond to your body your feelings about this
original plan. And conform to the material some interest in the material senses business here but what you're telling us to make the poem or to write a play. Actually not to say so as a search or have it means absence. Because if you haven't if your intention were fully realized they don't exist already. It would be there for you said I mean you can only only know what you mean by by creating and then there's the real exploration recreation yourself. Have your own part of what can I what carry me if I am writing up on STARTING POINT what can I me and you know you have options along the way with you but there are options. Hierarchy exercise and I hand them out loud that if you come to this lion that lion or feel you. Get better at world view is wrong. You may stop in arguing the case with you I was a neighbor of yours. Why is it wrong you
can say well it's going to be right. What you said was could be right you got it you can say well why a thing is wrong or used or that's wasting time time time you say about our rejections but rejections are ways of chasing me in a sense another. And the usual explorations of it's a self exploration in that sense I don't mean. Exploration of one's own personality that in that way what I actually said was possible when Kit was capable and actually one of the purposes of driving you right. Find out what you're going to say ask a good actor and then then you have the critic to find out. Because you don't care I don't remember saying his Spanish you care what she said. That's not I don't mean that cynically are you giving to your mercy I mean I think you don't use room. It's all good right I have a price for that. Oh say the same thing on that point they all say that they just don't have any interest or
private interest in you know something has been finished along with this deal so hot you might know the right amount than that sort of paranoia. Yeah right on the head but pretty soon it's different is ours gone was twice I mean I think it was sometimes a good raised with fundamental dissatisfaction that you think about. Do you think that this dissatisfaction no is a constructive thing I mean it's essentially a thing that spurs you write the next thing is that you can assess facts but that's why one can be because you think you say it isn't good. Which he always did and said that he's good hope of going and that innocent hopefully what keeps you going. But today it's not. It's either not good enough or just plain not good. That's one kind of satisfaction need for detachment from oh hell out of that next time. But there over the years it does get us anymore. If you're
going somewhere I even as a little bit away you know him another half the age that doesn't represent you. It's already part of the past you know. That's right that's why you only caught the last of that cell you know. In discussing the next piece of writing for instance where do you start. Do you have an idea that is pending upon a lot who are it does a character possess you or do you simply want to say something anything. The desire to write itself the mechanics of writing were the store. Where we take it in general. The evidence says yes to everything. You can take the same you can take. Well take Coleridge. Well he says that apparently in some years but very clearly there what he wanted to write about the start of it with the U.S. but he couldn't find what then was called the fable. You say you have an ancient mariner and he tried to dig one of two things on the same theme and then lie and it didn't pan
out. Your prose poem about Cain. And then you start the engine mount the subject this the notion of that poem which you might say which is here you have a fairly clear case of an idea of pride. To actually invited the prior cases that a man does have a pretty clearly can see. I did hear you say all you you can look around you and see plenty of cases of that. I mean their ad hoc now was an ad hoc poems all the time you know things written to all go out to talk about how special occasion you all or to express a social or political attitude kind of way. Like they're maybe good maybe bad has to buy a new connection or some deeper level. Theme. Has his own they can actually be chosen at the intellectual property at the state level.
But sometimes I mean I've heard reports say well this phrase got in my head I have had five years just a phrase get going all the way good morning here three years and now and then I realize you know I locked him up. But this phrase and the poem makes the phrase all we know how hard crane posts are is calling us from nowhere process way CD. I was the last thing from a thematic approaches this other and he's trying to find German connections to associations to be Ofra. But there are plenty of cases where the characters forest where you start with a character like subjects the book or a boy and you can see objectively in the forget sound in the page exist outside of the.
Literary question a man's imagine a character before he starts writing he has a pretty good notion would you say that writing is a compulsive thing. Do you have a compulsion to write or do you only write because you train yourself to discipline yourself. Well I suppose you have to go back and say why I just I just in yourself. I just love just a minute. I firmly believe that two kinds one is trying not to. This with trying not to think about writing. That's one kind of discipline this child like about things that other perspectives about private paradoxical I mean that you reading about nonliterary bangs I think things are literary away I mean whatever happens to be a history of human relations. President Eisenhower something. Absent often times had to say too close to writing. That's one just how it is that has our way of thinking about the writing very closely. I mean the reason is what makes you read a book just so you said other books are good or bad. Try to formulate the reason see
yourself as I had all the other guy here those who are kind of just going to type are going out there like the parent the person the paper write sitting on the tree has just put it into a willingness to waste time knows you have to wait a lot of time. And take the responsibility of wasting my time. I know with most days on the bad days. But this discipline stands from the overall desire to write first which has to be that rise feeling that you could not write. That's right I know I can I can. It's the promise to stay away from right not to get mad. If I stay away from it enough that there's some hostile and head back there I have to make it scratching my rich if you don't exercise you know your scratchy kind of letter. That's come so far just yourself. Oh and economic necessity.
That would be bad. Do you do much of your relation after considerable period of time on it and having it get cold. I try to stay with pace lie more or less satisfied with the page I cited that can prove it which are two different banks. But anyway I'm through with the pressure. I don't leave it until I guess and I said as good a job as I can do now but it is a public domain. I could be fatal for me I have to do something some other people do quite differently. But writing a first draft of that I need revising. If I strive. I can pass it without trying to play for keeps on every page. And of course I'm not trying to keep an eye disease most of it has gone wrong. So you have to come back and back. But the other half it's actually pretty clear that the other half of the to realize it as fully as possible at that time in that such in that paragraph in that page in that chapter and stayed in the lab.
This is the best I am our duty to save ever because you'd be there for this book but you have some points here break us as best that possible and I let you in on. Otherwise I can tell you this but for me I'm Celeste 30 with a unit by unit. The revision time comes that no way I can go back that's. That the end is at the end of a big unit. He probably had a whole book and so I don't know how we do it and go back to that presto long run through and then back again. Good point on your point you fool around with points they have today but never very long a time when you know 30 minutes looking for writers to work on. When I've just finished I finished last I want the last poem
when I said Time Live yes. Very few days between last September. Two weeks no past I didn't. Where are the poems in that book. Well we can use an example from a long life but perhaps we can use an example from a poem that you've written which will let us in on the inside. Prose is a revision do you have something like. This is all I have I want to hear. Are witches are trying to remember what they. Did see and I guess it's now one one and a short group of poems called Man in moonlight. And this is called a walk by moonlight small town. It may be too long for this purpose it's probably eight or ten stanzas long lines no five stand alone. Where does how to manage for this purpose.
Coming down through Ohio comes down there's a rerun of another standard a villian in a very different style. I'll leave on my last Friday and we will see this illustrates what I. Have in mind. I read you there. They are under my eyes version. And I shan't give you the visions of the detail niggling how. Basic They may be hoping they were. But I'll take a single year to standers and deal with those independently with the hope of God like this as they are so poor I'm in the firing line. I stand to the western window full of our moon light. It must await me where I lay the. Rumaki Swire and that's who pale day. I rose dressed walked the summer night I had my years
back I had moved in that composite line. Moment's green by the way. Now human like frost. Shadow beasts black in the porches LURD own house rugs window panes moons marred. Past Some people read known the whole list. How quite in the depth of darkness now faces reposed down the main street window dummies blessed. With lifted head it is there that limiting it is I. Absolutely think they do a test. When i hope the day I bought my recently held possessed. Three box cars loud as quiet as cowards. They were so tired they had been so far. SBN k l e n r r. After bumbling banging where God knows they cracked the rust of this we ranks
for their payola poles. But the mainline government trying to pass. Those parallels Moonstruck defied the laws of the space which they applied. I didn't geometry and gas. Plunged on past time in the south. Enjoy at last. Not that bright way the hot ones yearn past daylight past the ninth time. All problems lies and night time. Chime of the wheel on the battle. Eyes Burn toward distance and redemptive leap past all return. I cross the track walked around the school building hold of me is day beyond the night the use the other way. Building and grounds had struck insiders and that predictable fact seen
pitiful to my. Ears. And pitiful was the room the grounds the address. The ground early ruin the role it had changed and then I saw that children were playing with yourself. They ceased their play and as my Drew slow around their eyes fixed on me and I now tried to use pale face to find the name in that hole in my mind. Each small gazing face would light. Sweet is a pearl and silver real silver call to the night sky. But something grew in there. I used to not read probation or surprise not even forgiveness in their eyes but a hobo question dollar that they used a phrase like the siege
was dawning on the empty air. My man but live is truth and might he lived so life by the moon or sun in dusk or dawn would be all one then never. Someone I don't need stand and shake in that blaze up a tiny light. Lest the first version or not of course know that somewhere along the way. Now on this time I believe my feelings here on the margin. I want to first let's take the stance of the two stanzas thrown out. They filled in six dancers coming out of the box cars. We have the S the in the Kadian an hour after the bombing nine where the guard know who's there. Cracked the worst of this reading the ranks of payola problems. Now the cover to stand as your own. But the main line double tracked lean past those parallel lines
Moonstruck defied the laws of space in their time of life and in geometry aghast by past happiness and enjoy life live life. I think you see why in the first place is it's our home our retirement time in Rome wrong itself and wrong to the power and also this kind of dealing with there. Are images that is reminiscent of the metaphysical poets of the parallel with us like that is that in the hour at least distasteful will do to his alibi. So that entire hour just threw it away. This is left to you to read. The next stands up. Oh that bright way. Same trouble. Then past their life past the night whose time that line might be used in another context there is no good here at all we couldn't flash
and night time shall we long battle. Well I'm not going to torture myself going oh that's that's out. But then I was left with this hole in there and the power. And all of those tears I have a very uncomfortable feeling that I was being detected in crime. They were I wrote about them rather was writing somebody else asleep. Well not a mile out of the court might have to go with them because they were poor and couldn't live with something that. Had a fire at the end of something to bridge the gap. When I could get by with anything I am ready Transitional Libyan archery is something I want to point with rather than. Here is what I guess is good for. You know as a filler we go back to Mark's Goddess or any of them are signing this we might explore the next star to Lydia.
Yes long ago at my by that track I watched the poem slash and say then heard you quiet the Beat my heart may but the take is always round trip. Now back I sit in again. Wife's night distance flee up the empty track across the drive walked up the ride itself if you will the heart of this day. Well you can see where they had intentionally Ed as an intrusive rhetoric and the literary echoes you know to stand. We're not going to distress myself looking in that moment. A friend of mine who's done I admired greatly when he was one of our more eminent critics and colleagues has been pleading with me destroy the last stanza too.
I haven't yet crossed. That last half says Yeah. Well that's it. Yeah anyway. Robert Penn Warren the writer as creator conversation number eight in a series exploring the creative process as it pertains to the American artist and scientist in the 20th century. Host for the creative mind Lyman Bryson producer for the series Jackie Summerfield with William cavernous and Eisenberg as production associates next week. John C. Sheehan the research scientist as creator of the creative mind is produced and recorded by WGBH FM in Boston for the National Association of educational broadcasters under a grant from the Educational Television and Radio Center. This program was distributed by the national educational radio network.
Creative mind
The writer as creator
Producing Organization
WGBH Educational Foundation
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University of Maryland (College Park, Maryland)
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Episode Description
This program features Robert Penn Warren speaking on writing and creativity.
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This series, hosted by Lyman Bryson, presents radio essays about the creative process for the American artist and scientist in the 20th century.
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Guest: Warren, Robert Penn, 1905-1989
Host: Bryson, Lyman, 1888-1959
Producer: Summerfield, Jack D.
Producing Organization: WGBH Educational Foundation
AAPB Contributor Holdings
University of Maryland
Identifier: 58-44-8 (National Association of Educational Broadcasters)
Format: 1/4 inch audio tape
Duration: 00:29:05
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Chicago: “Creative mind; The writer as creator,” 1964-04-29, University of Maryland, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC, accessed June 21, 2024,
MLA: “Creative mind; The writer as creator.” 1964-04-29. University of Maryland, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC. Web. June 21, 2024. <>.
APA: Creative mind; The writer as creator. Boston, MA: University of Maryland, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC. Retrieved from