image of note

When all the gulls flew up at once, they sounded
like a big tree in a strong wind, its leaves.
I’d shut my eyes and think about a tree,
an oak, say, with real shade, somewhere.

—Elizabeth Bishop, “Crusoe in England”

[I admire the way Bishop has deftly connected auditory and visual elements in this image.]


switching yard

The poem was a vast switching yard of word-freighted lines and digressive sidetracks.


thrall language

The poem as "thrall language."


always writing about two things

One is always writing about two things at the same time in poetry and it is this that produces the tension characteristic of poetry. One is the true subject and the other is the poetry of the subject.

—Wallace Stevens, "The Irrational Element in Poetry" (OP 227).


a ping in the universe

A poem is a ping in the universe whose sender cares not if it hits anything and echoes back.


so as to record

Written so as to record; but read for its art.


harnessing forces

In art, and in painting as in music, it’s not a question of reproducing or inventing forms, but of harnessing forces.”

—Gilles Deleuze, Francis Bacon: logique de la sensation, p. 39



The nouns, through meaning and sound, give the poem a texture not unlike ‘impasto’ in painting.


epigraph exceeding

How often it is the case that the factoid or quote that serves as epigraph for a poem overshadows and exceeds what follows.


incorrigible line

A line of poetry should be incorrigible. Not a single word or syllable could be altered without diminishment.