necessarily brief and flashing apparitions

“…the fragment understood as a new genre, perhaps the only genre of our time, a legitimate and self-sufficient expression of the lyric moment, the product of a poetics which does not wish to mix the necessarily brief and flashing apparitions of poetry with elements of a different, voluntary nature.”

—Eugenio Montale, “On the Poetry of [Dino] Campana,” (1942), Second Life of Art, Selected Essays of Eugenio Montale (Ecco Press, 1982), translated by Jonathan Galassi


lyrical eschatology

Poetry = lyrical eschatology


first line like a fuse

Poet, light your first line like a fuse!


nice title

Inadvertent insult in front of a painting: “Nice frame.” After reading a poem: “Nice title.”


gestalts glitter

The phenomenological power of both metaphor and thisness derives from an awareness of an extreme tension between being and time. Thisness is the lyric comprehension of this tension; an instant of time opens to embrace the resonance of all that is; time is present, but suspended--held in balance. Metaphor, by contrast, is a form of domestic understanding: wholeness overrides morality, but does not erase it. The distinction of things remains the foundation of their resonant connexion. In metaphor, gestalts glitter: those inflected by being and time, flashing back and forth over the hinge of what is common.

—Jan Zwicky, Wisdom and Metaphor, #67


unapparent harmony

Heraklitas states "an unapparent harmony is more powerful than an obvious one." And so it is with all superior metaphors in poetry.


a ballot cast

To write a political poem is to cast a ballot in ongoing, open-ended referendum on the future of the world.


no rung below you

Sometimes when you come to the end of a line, you have that sensation of stepping down a ladder and feeling for a moment that there is no other rung below, that you’ll be left to dangle in space.


Wallace Stevens Birthday Bash

"I don't have a separate mind for legal work and another for writing poetry. I do each with my whole mind."--Wallace Stevens.

Tonight I'm introducing the poet Lawrence Joseph who will be delivering an address entitled: "The Poet and The Lawyer: The Example of Wallace Stevens." The event is the annual Wallace Stevens Birthday Bash, put on by the Hartford Public Library and The Friends and Enemies of Wallace Stevens.


attended to on many levels

In a poem, the words ask to be attended to on many levels.


second most important writing instrument

Second in importance to a poet’s favored writing instrument is the wastebasket.