Lance Larsen, Utah’s Poet Laureate, came to convocations on February 16th. He gave a presentation entitled “Coaxing the Muse: Thoughts on the Creative Process.”
As the Poet Laureate of Utah, Larsen has several “different hats to wear,” as he put it. He attends many programs, such as Poetry Out Loud, Utah State Poetry Society, and the Mountain West Arts Conference. He also commonly leads workshops involved in poetry.
In his presentation at Convocations, Larsen gave seven tips on coaxing the creative process. Larsen said that simply observing is an easy way for one to get inspiration. “Eavesdrop on the world and take notes”, he said. Larsen recounted how he once heard a five-year-old claim, “Give me liberty or give me pigeons.” A key is finding inspiration anywhere, which often can be done through simple observation.
Another tip of his was to, “Immerse oneself in other fields.” Larsen claimed that if one wanted to be a poet, do not study poetry. Study engine repair or botany, he suggested, then find the poetry within it.
Not only did Larsen give tips on the creative process, he entertained the audience with oranges. His biography stated that he could juggle, and during the question-answer portion of convocations, a student asked him to demonstrate. He quickly grabbed several oranges provided in a basket and showed the crowd a step-by-step process of juggling and then performed several tricks.
After he finished to applause, he then compared his circus trick to poetry in three ways: They’re mildly entertaining, both can be learned, and they require failure. Larsen’s constant reiteration of the ability to find inspiration in daily things kept the crowd focused on creativity throughout the entire program.