My new book is available for pre-order here –


  • ..the sum  +++ of all my other books – sine qua non ne plus ultra poema

120 pages

‘Poetry that is classic and timeless.’

‘Vital, intense and uncompromising – singular in clarity, artistry, and authenticity.’

‘Work which illuminates as it informs – a reviving sense of discovery and perspective.’

Dark Earth – ‘Rabelais and Hieronymus Bosch look out of dark chinks in these poems…’‘The most unique set of poems I have ever read…’

Silence Louder Than A Train – ‘Highly recommended…’‘… one would be hard pressed to do better…’‘…savagely introspective..’

‘Dean’s books will someday be required reading…’

©Dean Baker


Contemporary Arts, and Philosophy

what's on your desk

what’s on your desk

Religion has nothing to do with philosophy, such as #Rumi. Either way the free- floating fart cloud of sentiment and bogus goodwill gives me #Rumitism. Such reflective types of philosophy are a substitute for thought on the part of the individual who is basically being kindergartened by being shown pretty pictures of thought concepts.

This is not to say that there isn’t a distillation of wisdom in the works of such figures as Lao-Tse, or Jiddu Krishnamurti, two of my favorites; along with the ruminations of the playwright Witold Gombrowicz, and E.M. Cioran, along with Harold Pinter, Ionesco, and some others.
In their distillations there is more than wisdom, but a direction into which a direction may be discerned with applications of the mind-set, and a fierce determination that would eventually bring a person back to their own solitariness unless they happen to be a fanatic committed to unthinking action.

We are all one irretrievable second away from loss of memory, the imbalance of a mortal shift; whether that proves fatal, or merely discomfiting. Any philosophy that does not take this into account is simply an elision of hope, and thus fakery.

I learned and absorbed more in several disparate evenings of hearing the music and watching the dance and actions of Karen Kain[watch], and Nureyev in a few ballets than in the discussions of who or why or what philosophy had the greater implications for understanding.
Central to those facts are that I absorbed, and in absorbing became.
I did not put out a critical eye or ear, nor chumpingly pat myself on the back with a specialist mindset.

I know this is essential to the true appreciation of poetry, and the arts. Not to surrender, but to give oneself over, almost unwillingly. This I find almost inseparable from being taken over by the art, as long as there is that first innocence of the act of being open, listening.
There is great beauty in that which has beauty but is held to be none-useful in a society of sociopathic equality, which merely amounts to a leveling: the greatest being seen these days on the internet.

And those are the very sources to which attention must be paid if a person is to escape the net of mindset and contemporaneous appreciation which is more like obeisance and itself notably lacking in a realistic and thus broader and more far-ranging appreciation. Something like stepping out of your own shadow of modern times and acknowledging that every ‘modern’ time thought that they knew it all and best – with minor reference of course to what was past artistic achievements.
Most so-called art simply restates the obviously held thoughts and views and thus becomes popular due to its familiarity.
That itself is a signal to start checking on actual achievement of the artist in bringing something new and somewhat startling to the forefront, not simply regurgitating what subconsciously makes its way around the hamster track of the current mindset.

Real art is thus discovery without the need for a false affirmation, or a distant sense of confirmation, though these may follow. And those who merely affirm in their art works what is apparently needed at the time or simply confirm what is in the broader mindset actually stand in the way of discovery, self and artistic.

For that real art I find no substitute for great poetry – whether it is George Seferis, Adam Zagajewski, C.K. Williams, Irving Layton, or any of the aforementioned playwrights.

I don’t mean by that any cerebral convolution of an articulate conjugation of the alphabet and unfamiliar words, but the distillation of the essence of the poet and the times into something strange and new, yet immediately recognizable.
I believe that is why there is such a fascination for the figure of the poet as related not only to the poet, but the outlaw, the gangster, those outside the laws of leveling circumstance. And the costume as such is taken up by the intellectually lazy who do not apply themselves to the study of their forebears with great passion and interest, but proclaim themselves as born from some God’s forehead.

The Birth of Athena
When Zeus married his first wife, the Oceanid Metis, Metis soon became pregnant. According to a prophecy at that time, Metis would bear a son who would pose a severe threat to Zeus. So, right after Metis revealed her pregnancy, Zeus swallowed his child fearfully in order to protect his kingdom.
Nine months passed by and then suddenly Zeus started feeling a strong pain in his head and asked the Gods’ smith Hephaestus to comfort him. Hephaestus obeyed and opened Zeus’ head with an ax without hurting him. All of a sudden, goddess Athena sprang out of Zeus’ head. She was already an adult, wearing armor with a shield in her hands and uttering warlike cries!
From the first moment goddess Athena came into the world, she won the heart of Zeus and became his favorite child. However, she never received a mother’s care. That’s why she inevitably possessed more masculine than feminine attributes.

This speaks to the Gods of Authority being fearful of displacement. i.e. the establishment of artists fearing what is inevitably to come, and thus aligning and distorting those in the first vanguard, praising and raising them up as what is new – rather than recognizing, whether willfully or hesitatingly, that such judgment may not be theirs to discern; or design by such passive sabotage, since they bring to light a product or producers inferior to what has been, which undercuts the new in favor of a looking back in a re-establishing of what has been: the authority of their own achievements.
Of course they may likely not be the great, but false gods.

Of course to discern such things you would need and want to have a great and wide familiarity with poetic achievement, those you admire and those you don’t.

All of which goes to say that you cannot achieve and create newly, the only actual and true creation, unless you have a passionate and intimate understanding and appreciation for what has come before, and what is currently ongoing.

In other words: read. And read again. And keep reading. Great poetry won’t betray you, leave you open to the wounds of the wolves of what-is-current.

Being misled by contemporaneous opinion, a slack attitude toward philosophy, and an under-appreciation of History, or philosophers such as Santayana, without references from great minds and souls learned and absorbed, plus no actual interest in anything but an egotistic advancement of what would say Great Works Ahead! will stuff you full of apparent success leaving no room for the value of truly applicable poetry and great art.
Read a truly wonderful and great summation in The Denial Of Death by Ernest Becker.

What is great about such poetry and the arts is that it cannot be taught, but it is open to being learned through discipline and a fine-tuned absorption. And once that is first conceived and acknowledged you and the poets will be your own best teachers, not opinion not matter how popular in the positive sense or the negative.

Those writers, artists, musicians, philosophers and poets are your true family, our real ancestors who could speak in any and all languages to any and every person no matter their station in life.

Great poetry once discovered can never be taken or replaced; and will continually return the favor of study by the betterment of the mind and humanity of those whose involvement is genuine.


©Dean J. Baker

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