Risto Ahti: A three course poetry banquet

Risto Ahti (Lahti, 1943) is a Finnish poet who has been noted as a sort of a Jedi master by his most faithful EACWP followers. During our II International Pedagogical Conference in Orivesi (October, 2014), Risto Ahti offered «A three course poetry banquet» in a twelve hours workshop served to some of our European-wide teachers who have devoutly become Ahti’s life time pupils

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From left to right: Rubén Abella, Javier Sagarna, Lorena Briedis, Risto Ahti, Erik Vanhee, Mariana Torres, Jesús Pérez Saiz and Terhi Forssén

 

If by any chance someone happens to meet Risto Ahti in the street, that person could clearly tell that has come accross with a poet out of two feelings that rise up immediatly only by looking at him: his lively, full of growing energy and a slight inspirational spark in his glance. He walks into the classroom at 10 o’clock in the morning at Oriveden Opisto and looks around his students. It is the 24th of October 2014 but, at that moment, he could actually be standing there from anytime between past and future and, however, he makes everything come certainly and powerfully present.

Risto’s «Three course poetry banquet» workshop cannot be anyhow reproduced as it were. The experience of listening to him somehow captures the spirit of an entrusted  and instilled secret that cannot be fully revelead because it touches something deeper, speechless, that seemingly furthers a vision.

What have been boldly written down and comprised from the experience of Ahti’s workshop does not expect, as it is, to make any sense at all, nor even attempt to reproduce eloquently what we have seen, and we have heard during this life lesson. At most, what has been recorded relies on spontaneous phrases captured because its sole, poetic energy and its ressonance. Also, perhaps, they were also compelled to be written down now and here because those are some of the phrases (lines, mantras) that are still chasing us after, unnerving, troubling us and, maybe, if we are lucky enough, enlightening us at any moment.

Hence, the compilation of this twelve hours workshop experience resembles more, as it is, a fragmentary memorial. The sense, if any, might be likely found in those crossing paths between the lines, in that speechless, silent glow. I think they might be also read, sometimes, with the quality of a manifesto and, some others, as a bewildering thruth thrown and scattered somewhere and everywhere.

Thanks to Risto Ahti for this, at once, fasting and ravenous banquet.

A three course poetry banquet. A few free notes

WHO SPEAK WHEN I SPEAK

Every time I speak of emotions I play a role because emotions belong to esthetics and all esthetic experience is a pretension. Then, we ask: are real emotions speechless?

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Do not react. Not reacting is a way of receiving everything and that means being awake. Something strange and frightening might happen with language, then.

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When it comes down to words and in order not to fake your emotions, either do not react or be quick. Complete silence and extreme spontaneity are still free from any attempt of emotional pretention.

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Hear more than listen. See more than look. In both first cases, we have intentions and, hence, reactions. You are what you see, you are what you hear. The magic relies on not fully understanding.

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Are we ready to let real words come? Then, only hear and see.

APPETEIZER

Poetry is not a dream but a reality dream, a dream that is even more real than life.

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Either when you dream or when you have a daydream vision, you cannot change the elements of that vision you have had: those elements are real. That vision is a reality.

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We have to see things until we can remember them. We need to look until we see in order to accept the world into our pupils.

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Be astonished, don’t react. Don’t give any kind of judments.  Morality (an not reality) is the real danger zone.

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Once you have seen something to the extend you can remember it, what you saw, then, is something that actually existed. This is something you cannot change. Reality is something you cannot ever control. As writers we have to look for texts full of reality.

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Don’t run away when that vision arises. Reality always is or seems to be out of place.

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The poet is one who takes responsability for his/ her words.

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The responsability of the poet relies on accepting what he or she has seen in his/her own dreams and visions. You cannot avoid what you have seen. Otherwise, you might also start lying.

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The artist is that one who carries his/ her truths. The only thing that changes and cannot be controlled  is energy.

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You have also to write the energy in order to wake up the reader.

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One of the great things of poetry is meeting someone.

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You have to find your own inner reasons. Those things that deeply awaken you. Being awake is being in danger. The poet has to be in danger.

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The poet knows by feeling. The poet don’t try to be clever. The poet exercises stupidity.

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Value something that no one else values. Do it because we are always told to value things that everyone values.

MAIN COURSE + DESSERT

You are what you call everyone else. Don’t call anybody an idiot.

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Be aware of the energy you are giving to what you are doing.

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If you are free, your energy is positive. If you are not free, your energy is negative.

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If you don’t have your own heaven, you’ll have other people’s hell. Working alone is creating your own heaven.

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From who do we get our energy to write? Who may we rely on?

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I get my energy from the long history of people who have had that canddle in their eyes, people who have felt something.

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I’m looking for my own, my feeling, my strenght.

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You cannot have everything in you but you can increase your energy with the help of your friends.

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Understanding feelings and emotions is a way of dreaming a better world.

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Feeling is not something about somebody, it is about every body. Feeling is energy.

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The more energy we have the more we change the world.

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In order to create a dream we need time to think. We need poetry.

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Esthetics is an energetic way of organising reality.

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We only remember things that have a lot of energy.

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We wake up the reader in order to give him/her something he/she really needs.

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You cannot give real energy to anything if you don’t make it your own.

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You have to love on purpose. Love must be intentional.

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Feeling means not reacting. We have feelings and, then, as an opposite vector, we have reactions.

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In all poems there might always be something stolen.

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When you steal something you have to be responsabile for it and make it your own in order to receive certain redemption for what you have stolen. Then, tell to yourself «how valuable it is» as it would be something no one else values.

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If you have something that for you is valuable, don’t tell, don’t name it. Because when you’ll remember that in silence, you’ll be also remembering yourself.

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We have to be responsible for the thruths we have discovered.

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Keep your solitude because by keeping your solitude you will understand what you can do. And then, you’ll understand who you are.