idiot thing

To retrieve [important] subject matter will always mean going out into the “objective” world, sitting “down close to the idiot thing”* and then discovering a rhetoric sufficient to treat of it. The enlarged content, which is the fuel for poetry will, in the hands of our best poets, dictate this rhetoric.

—Jonathan Holden, The Fate of American Poetry (Univ. of Georgia Press, 1991)

*excerpt from Scott Cairns’ poem “Harbor Seals” which is featured in the essay.

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