WOMEN SHAPING HISTORY 2016
Patricia H. Grodd
Poet, Patricia Grodd Poetry
Prize For Young Writers
Career Path: The novel, “Siddhartha”, by Herman Hesse, was one of my earliest inspirations whose tenets I still draw upon . . . in my work and in my teaching. I was introduced to it at a very young age. Early on I understood its basic teachings. Life is a journey and each journey is sacred. Sacred, because it is a form of self-discovery that brings you to your highest self and your highest potential. Each path is unique and its meaning is so personal as to be beyond teaching by others. It is experiential. This is the way of the true-seeker of enlightenment. These events are the conscious events that show each of us what is, for us all, the unifying spirit within us that connects our spirit to our life’s purpose. Knowledge can be taught but not vision or wisdom. A teacher can only be a guide to the comprehension of what constitutes great poetry, but true art cannot be taught. It comes from a deep and divine well unique to each individual. Teachers of the imagination can only assume the role of a facilitator. This path guides us to our essential self and unveils our true passion. “One must find the source within one’s self, one must possess it. Everything else is a detour”. This is the way of the creative. The true artist re-imagines the world.
Challenges: I am often asked how I changed direction at multiple points in my career with such facile dexterity. I started in designer fashion, went back to school and became a psychotherapist, and then transitioned wholly into the world of poetry - -writing, teaching ,and working with many of the most important foundations and organizations in poetry. The truth is I never felt “challenged”, except to do the very best I could. And to me, these different arenas, where all inter-connected from the start, which to the poet is usually the case.
There’s a “poetry” to fashion, particularly for the designer with whom I worked, Ralph Lauren, who tells stories and visualizes our inner longings for other times and places. Psychology explores the inner workings and desires of the human mind and spirit in order to find deeper meaning in one’s life, which is aligned with many of the tenets of poetry. Poetry is, clearly, the connecting factor, making deeper meaning out of life. All spoke to the creative within .A “job” became about imagination and possibility. This came, I believe, from the power of applying poetry to transform the ordinary . Poetry was my singular passion, my education, my guide and a spiritual connection that infused every endeavor. Consequentially, it made me better, more imaginative and inspired in all my professional life.
Accomplishments: Being a part of a small group in 1979 whose mission was to re-establish the iconic “Kenyon Review”, one of the top literary reviews ever in publication. This was initiated by a book that this group published aptly named, “The Kenyon Poets”, which justly restored these essential and ground-breaking school of agrarian poets to their essential place in the history of American poetry.
The creation of The Patricia Grodd Poetry Prize for Young Writers, an international poetry prize that is widely considered to be one of the most prestigious and most sought after prizes in poetry. This award was specifically targeted to inspire young writers to embrace and nurture their formidable talents. Many of these highly gifted recipients have gone on to enrich the discipline and have become significant contributors to the world of poetry.
Teaching poetry, not only to formal, academic students, but developing a new, highly effective teaching modality for adult education . This modality was more specifically designed for outreach to populations in need to whom poetry would be beneficial and healing. For the most part, these populations would generally not be expected to embrace, understand, and reap the rewards of poetry. However, as W.B. Yeats said, “Poetry is not for the writer, but for the reader”. I have taught homeless schizophrenics, terminally ill cancer patients and prison inmates, among others. The results have proven amazing as each embraced poetry in unique and diverse ways.
Mentors: My legendary father, Clifford Grodd, whose vision showed me that there is nothing you cannot accomplish as long as you possess true passion.
Ralph Lauren who taught me to believe in myself and that I would always find the way.
The philosopher, Mournir Sa’ Adah, who believed I had the gift of insight and inspired me to trust in it.
The many teachers along the way who exhilerated my spirit with the written word and instilled their faith in my own work and ability . . . Dr. Galbraith Crump, Dr. David Rosenberg, and the great Russian poet, Yevgeny Yeutushenko, among others.
TURNING POINT: In truth, I don’t believe that there was a specific turning point in my life. My underlying passion was always the world of poetics and that world, regardless of whatever other endeavor in which I was engaged, was always a constant.
I loved all the arenas in which I have worked and found these other interests called upon me to use my creativity in different ways. Ultimately, however, I always knew that I would come full circle back to the world of writing.
GOALS: My quest is, as it always has been, to enable individuals to experience the transformational power of the written word in its most sacred form. To offer a kind of road map to enable every reader to partake of the spiritual and imaginative truths that constitute a poem. Poetry matters deeply.
I believe, in the end, that poetry strikes something deeper than thought itself and our response is nothing less than the deepening of our humanity. It illuminates our experience of who we are and the world which we inhabit. It is encoded in our very soul and sprit and elevates both.
I wish to send out messages in a bottle . . . gifts to us all of what Robert Graves termed “stored magic”.#