towering crag

The best line is a towering crag.
It won't be woven into an ordinary song.
The mind can't find a match for it
but casts about, unwilling to give up.

—Lu Ji, The Act of Writing: Teachings of the Chinese Masters (Shambhala, 1996), translated by Tony Barnstone


the seamstress and the butcher

Sometimes the language is in need of a seamstress; other times a butcher is what’s called for.


poetry's one-room schoolhouse

With a degree of sentimentality, we love the sonnet because it is poetry’s one-room schoolhouse.


to bifurcate and ramify

Each line of poetry must bifurcate and ramify in the reader’s mind.


specimen poem

Alas, specimen poem, all charm lost, you are now but a pinned and labeled butterfly.


unnecessary confusions

...it is not necessary, because an epoch is confused, that its poets should share its confusions.

—Robinson Jeffers, "Poetry, Gongorism and a Thousand Years"



Utopoeia: the poem as utopia built from language; a place where the mind wants to dwell forever.