The Low Down

Tara Mokhtari is a poet, screenwriter, author, playwright, and teacher, based in New York City.

With fifteen years experience as a literary arts practitioner, ten years as professor of creative writing, literature, and communications, and numerous internationally published and produced works, Mokhtari is an expert in narrative and poetics.

Er… an expert in what? In:¬†finding the heart of the story; giving life and light and dark to the words; adaptations of poetry, novels, and films; and, writing that thinks.


28 thoughts on “The Low Down

  1. Miss,

    Please pardon my intrusion. I wish only to say that your sequence of words, the rhythm of cumulative syntax and your prompts of comparisons truly captivate me. Your recurring themes reveal what’s really on the inside. The heart truly is a lonely hunter.

  2. Half cut? That’s great!
    I assume that makes intrusions
    half-ass acceptable.
    My leaves do shake at times,
    but I’ve no need to turn around.

    Hello! Nice to meet you!Uncle Tree

    1. ‘Forbid’ is a bit harsh, isn’t it? I don’t know, I haven’t read the books.
      Two thoughts here:
      1. Art imitates life, and life imitates TV.
      2. Plato and Socrates WERE poets.

  3. How are you defining “poet,” then? I could explode the definition of philosopher to include very person capable of thought, but that’s hardly a meaningful definition. I suspect your definition of poet is thusly exploded if you include Plato and Socrates in your mix.

    1. I believe in the “language distilled” definition of poetry – in that case, to some extent, a person who communicates that way is a poet. To take the definition further requires the poet-hopeful to experience life as a poem; to embrace the intuitive/intellectual/emotional truth at the core of all their experiences (I also subscribe to Imagism), to be too sensitive to live a long life and to never know the meaning of “get over it”, to walk around naked regarless of the persona they appear to wear, to have enough of an ego to feel they have something to say that is worth someone else’s trouble to read it, to hate themselves enough to wish they could live a bit more conventionally and have intimate understandings with people like they do words/rhythms/enjambments/endstops/images, to live a life outside of industry/writers groups/readings so that they know the world well enough to represent it, to accept the simple fact that they are only technically a poet while they are with pen to paper and the rest of the time they are human and have human responsibilities they must strive to fulfill, to be brave enough to put their work out for all to hate, to not require fame or money or recognition ever for anything under any circumstances… Need I continue?

      1. Is it or is it not a necessary for a poet to write poetry? To the best of my knowledge (which, while majoring in philosophy, is still less than omniscient) neither Plato nor Socrates ever penned anything that could be called poetry. (In fact, Socrates hardly penned anything at all, and some scholars wonder whether he even existed, or was a creation of Plato’s.) I appreciate your veneration of the noble characteristics you ascribe to your interpretation of poets, and would agree that Socrates and Plato had many of those characteristics, but… call me old fashioned, I think poets still need to compose poetry.

        Or perhaps this is a dispute over what constitutes poetry. I understand poetry as a form of literary art in which language is used to evoke feelings rather than, necessarily, denote meaning. Socrates and Plato strove to know the world and know it unambiguously. To that end, (much more so Plato than Socrates, as mentioned) they wrote dissertations and theories, but I would hardly call their writing poetry. Poetry aims to be less denotative and concrete and is more concerned with emotional meanings and truths. Each has their value, to be sure, and there is also value in drawing meaningful distinctions between different things. It is not helpful to mix apples and oranges, especially if one were to be allergic to either/or (just for instance).

      2. Emotion and meaning are not mutually exclusive, and poetry can do both or either. There are hundreds of poetic forms and movements and genres each of which aim to communicate different things in different ways.

        When a tennis player makes an impressive shot we call it “poetry in motion”. Why? Because she/he has achieved a moment of perfection – the player appealed to the spectators’ intellects/intuition/emotion in one distilled motion. In the same way, there are moments of (as you say, non-ambiguous) perfection in the writings of Plato and Socrates. This is poetry in one sense.

      1. I am a confused soul, ur way of writing is candid and soulful.
        i read all ur comments and discussions ,
        whether abstractuon of poetry always meaningful?
        I dont know what ie poetry
        but i beleif Something which connects is poetry.

  4. You know, in all the time I’ve known you I don’t think we’ve really talked much about your writing. I’m really enjoying the ride on this blog of yours, suite pee. Hope all’s well in your world. We’re overdue…

  5. Well well, hey there Tara. It’s Mat Stone here. Don’t know if you remember me or not? I was in a few of your writing classes at St Albans VU campus not so long ag. Hahahah, I’m told I leave somewhat of an impression on people – odd chap who sat at the back, always wearing hats and coats, wouldn’t stop prattling on about Batman? In any case, I tried tracking you down there today, but it seems you’ve since moved on. Luckily a quick peek on google got some results, so that was that.

    I was hoping to run into you there to thank you, actually. I’ve been quietly tapping away at the keyboard since then pushing out the odd piece every now and again, but I finally lucked out after a while; I’ve been offered a job in London doing some writing for a small video game company. It’s all going to be pro bono, so I’m probably going to be living off frozen hamburgers and sleeping under a bridge, but this is pretty much exactly what I’ve been wanting to land a gig doing for quite a while now indeed, so I think it’ll be worth it.

    Where you come into it, though. I dropped out of the course last year (although I’ve been happily lying on job applications since saying that I passed, hahahah) for quite a few reasons, main one being it was just depressing me. What I did get out of it though was the foundations for some self esteem with my writing. You were the first person who ever though anything I did was worth a damn, and, well. I still have a lot of self-worth problems today, really, but I’m quite certain that if it hadn’t been for your kind words, I wouldn’t have taken myself any further. Yet, here I am romping off to another country with the express purpose of getting more work done. It probably sounds a bit hammy, but, really. You helped me more than you might have though, and I wanted to thank you for that. You left quite a mark.

    – M. Stone

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