Revision: like in the game of jackstraws, if a single phrase is taken rashly from the construct of the poem, the whole structure of the piece collapses into loose straw.


last stand of the metaphysicians

Poetry is the last stand of the metaphysicians.


the destinies of speech

Poetry is one of the destinies of speech. In trying to sharpen the awareness of language at the level of poems, we get the impression that we are touching the man whose speech is new in that it is not limited to expressing ideas or sensations, but tries to have a future. One would say that the poetic image, in its newness, opens a future to language.

—Gaston Bachelard, The Poetics of Reverie (1969)


in the wake of a poem

Awash in the wake of language that is a poem, one knows what kind of vessel was the mind that cut through the blank sea of the page. It may be too far to catch sight of now, or be shrouded in fog, but one knows the craft: Be it an ocean liner, sailboat, trawler, cigarette boat or just a dinghy with a small outboard motor.


not over when you've heard the last word

Only a poor poem is over when the you’ve heard the last word or close the pages of the book.


poetry's purpose

Poetry presupposes its purpose.


paradoxically more personal

The impersonal style that thwarts the reader's access to the poet's point of view and narrative intention is paradoxically more idiosyncratic and personal than the poem that allows the reader to share the poet's meanings and moods.


no need for praise

He who is sure, absolutely sure of having produced a viable and lasting work, has no more interest in praise, and he feels himself beyond glory, because he is a creator and knows it, and the joy he derives from it is divine.

—Henri Bergson, The Sources of Morality and Religion


healthy disregard for grammar

A poet should have a healthy disregard for grammar.


that line

The line for which the rest of the poem exists.