Rettig, Poetry of creating in complexity
Marc Rettig

I'm Marc Rettig, and I'm making this mix for students in the MFA in Design for Social innovation at the School of Visual Arts.

I think there's a neglected door into complexity through the personal experience of its challenges. Some people love big ideas and are able to translate them to their situation. Others have a difficult time making the connection between life and ideas like say, emergence.

Experience has its own language. And really I think that's one of the things poetry is for, to help us find language for a true experience. Most poetry doesn't teach. Instead it gives us a chance to recognize. "I've experienced that! At last I have words for it."

Here's the poet David Whyte from a talk he gave to the Association for Clinical Pastoral Education in 2019.

Whyte on identity at our conversational edge
David Whyte

It's interesting to think of your identity lying not within you or without you, but at the very place where you meet the world. And this is what I call the conversational nature of reality. The fact that whatever you desire of the world will not happen exactly as you would like it to happen. But equally, whatever the world desires of you will not happen exactly as it wants it you to happen.

And what actually happens is this meeting between what you think is you and what you think is not you. And actually this is the only place where things are real. Not in the abstract of what I've made up for myself about the world, nor in the abstract of what the world has made up about me, but in the very place where I meet the world. That edge, that physical sense of edge, that psychological sense of edge, the place where I'm actually uncovering and re-understanding both the world and myself at the same time.

Marc Rettig

The place where I'm uncovering and re-understanding both the world and myself at the same time. I find that poetry helps me operate at that place, and that's why this mix is almost entirely made of poetry. And since we can't be in the same room to work with these poems, I'll offer my side of that here. The connection I'm feeling between the poem and our conversations in class, conversations I have with others trying to do the same work.

There are four chapters in this mix: wonder, creating in complexity, and