Mark Strand and his take on creative action


Mark Strand was one of the most celebrated American poets. He had a very dynamic career, where besides writing poetry, he was accomplished editor, translator, and prose writer.

With very distinctive style in most of his work he dwells on the position of human consciousness, exploring the ideas of the self and life purpose in general.

In 1990 he was named the U.S. Poet Laureate, and along his career he won numerous prizes like  In 1999 he was awarded the prestigious Pulitzer Prize for Poetry for his collection Blizzard of One.

During his 5 decades long career he worked as a Professor at many Universities, encouraging young generations to take the leap and find their career in creative writing and poetry. (source:

But what’s mostly interesting about Strand are his responses in an interview he had with with psychologist Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi, who during the 1990s interviewed 91 people dedicated to intellectual pursuits about their take on the creative process. Strand believed that creativity is an expression of consciousness itself; that speaks and communicates through human spirit and search for the most exquisite ways to be delivered and brought to daily light. In each and every act of creation Universe is mirroring and proving its own existence:

We’re only here for a short while. And I think it’s such a lucky accident, having been born, that we’re almost obliged to pay attention. In some ways, this is getting far afield. I mean, we are — as far as we know —the only part of the universe that’s self-conscious. We could even be the universe’s form of consciousness. We might have come along so that the universe could look at itself. I don’t know that, but we’re made of the same stuff that stars are made of, or that floats around in space. But we’re combined in such a way that we can describe what it’s like to be alive, to be witnesses. Most of our experience is that of being a witness. We see and hear and smell other things. I think being alive is responding.

[When] you’re right in the work, you lose your sense of time, you’re completely enraptured, you’re completely caught up in what you’re doing, and you’re sort of swayed by the possibilities you see in this work. The idea is to be so… so saturated with it that there’s no future or past, it’s just an extended present in which you’re, uh, making meaning. And dismantling meaning, and remaking it. (source:

Here Strand’s offers us a different view on the act of creation and that  aligning ourselves with who we truly are, is the only way to find our place in the world – where we can express our full potential. There is no wrong or right, good or bad – we only need to be fully aware of who we are and that moment creation speaks and lives through us.

Keeping Things Whole

by Mark Strand

In a field

I am the absence

of field.

This is

always the case.

Wherever I am

I am what is missing.

When I walk

I part the air

and always

the air moves in   

to fill the spaces

where my body’s been.

We all have reasons

for moving.

I move

to keep things whole.


13 thoughts on “Mark Strand and his take on creative action

      1. Rilke, I think it is, says something similar: “The stars need us to see them.” The idea of witnessing, of bearing witness..only then can perhaps something worth the while actually be created—an idea which is at loggerheads with what I’ll dub as the constituent reality of the day at hand. Or, ack!

        Liked by 1 person

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s