ordinary and rare words

What matters in writing, I think, is that the ordinary word seems to be used for the first time, and the rare one seems ordinary, so that one doesn't stumble over it and no word feels strange or wrong, wherever it is placed.

—Juan Ramon Jiménez, The Complete Perfectionist: The Poetics of Work, ed. Christopher Maurer (Doubleday, 1997), p. 147


thoroughbred books

The difference between the titles given to poetry books and the names that thoroughbred owners give their horses is growing indistinct.


old battle flag

Their manifesto was an old battle flag trotted out with some new dyes and hastily embroidered emblems.


chapel of words

Reading a small poem: entering a chapel of words.


flawless and boring

A flawless poem is often a boring poem—I want to marvel at the most outlandish, overreaching mistakes.


so far ahead as to seem behind

...poetry, which is generally ahead of its time, may go so far ahead as to seem behind in time.

—Eugenio Montale, Poet in Our Time, translated by Alastair Hamilton (Marion Boyars, 1976)


petty verities

Without truth the work rings hollow; yet petty verities impair a piece’s power.


pentecostal pro mundi

Poet, be a pentecostal pro mundi!