7.31.2019

title bigger than the book

The more grand and encompassing its title, the less likely it is that the anthology adequately contains the important writing of its time.

7.30.2019

another unexpected poem

Poets say they don’t know where poems come from, right before writing another one.

7.29.2019

meaning what

A poem of semantic antics.

7.28.2019

shooting script

Poem as script to be enacted by the reader.

7.27.2019

putting poets aside

And so a gathering like this of ours, when it includes such men as most of us claim to be, requires no extraneous voices, not even of the poets, whom one cannot question on the sense of what they say; when they are adduced in discussion we are generally told by some that the poet thought so and so, and by others, something different, and they go on arguing about a matter which they are powerless to determine. No, this sort of meeting is avoided by men of culture, who prefer to converse directly with each other, and to use their own way of speech in putting one another by turns to the test. It is this sort of person that I think you and I ought rather to imitate; putting the poets aside, let us hold our discussion together in our own persons, making trial of the truth and of ourselves.

—Socrates in Plato’s Protagoras (Leob classical edition, W.R.M. Lamb translation)

7.26.2019

and it is me

I found the perfect reader for my poem, and it was me: Only I could see all the nuances, subtleties, allusions packed into the poem.

7.25.2019

stage over page

In almost all cases hearing a poet read in person will sway me more toward his/her work.

7.24.2019

lightly read

It was the kind of publication that had no readers except for those contributors who bothered to read their own work upon publication, checking the piece for typos.

7.23.2019

make and mark

The artist creates, and the audience defines.

7.21.2019

sweet disorder in the dress

Poetry will forever be too motley for dress of definition.

7.20.2019

song elevates

At its best song elevates equally the music and the words.

7.18.2019

no rush

He was never accused of rushing to publish.

7.17.2019

recognizes no borders

Poetry is like a bird, it ignores all frontiers.

Yevgeny Yevtushenko (Quoted July 2, 1967)

7.16.2019

ready reader

A reader of poetry must develop some tolerance for incoherence.

7.14.2019

ars longa

Always there are writers who won’t survive their discovery phase.

7.13.2019

crux of the matter

There must be a crux: A place in the poem where some act or scene is shown to have consequence or significance we could characterize as poetic.

7.12.2019

brought from the world

The best poetry is found not in language but in the world; so that the poem by means of language becomes what was brought back, with consonant effect, from the world.

7.11.2019

not ever pure

Guillén was aware that, whatever else, purely poetic poetry would be quite boring. And something more serious: it was linguistically impossible since language is by nature impure. A “pure poetry” would be one in which language had ceased to be language.

—Octavio Paz, “Jorge Guillén,” On Poets and Others (Arcade Publishing, 1986), translation by Michael Schmidt.

7.09.2019

7.05.2019

end and beginning

As I closed the book I sensed that a face turned from me to drift toward another reader.

7.03.2019

line breeder

The lines seemed to breed one after another as though endless in their lineage.

7.01.2019

words lifted on high

To be quoted is the apotheosis of anything said or written.