many rooms

The poem has many rooms, corridors, and closets.


a new york school poet

A New York School poet seems convinced his random musings and casual observations are more interesting than your (the reader's) stray thoughts, sightings and overhearings.


locked within the dictionary

I saw the poem locked within the dictionary, and I cut away until it was set free. (after Michelangelo)


always astonished

I was a poet animated by philosophy, not a philosopher with poetic faculties. I loved to admire the beauty of things, to trace the imperceptible through the minute the poetic soul of the universe.

—Fernando Pessoa, Always Astonished (City Lights Books, 1988), translated by Edwin Honig


my best professors

My best professors were proprietors of used bookshops.


'surrhetorical' poetry

The poetry of Gertrude Stein could be called ‘surrhetorical’.


yard-sale poetry

Yard-sale poetry: The page casually arrayed with things from someone’s life.


one reader

A book with one reader: the person who proofread it.


what is the good of critiquing a forest

I have a friend who has an early Leaves of Grass edition and
inscribed on the flyleaf, in Whitman's hand, is this quote:

"We critique a palace or a cathedral, but what is the good of critiquing a


lexical magic

The poem as lexical magic.


knot of language

And a tidy well-tied knot of language it was.


form's nadir

Form’s nadir: A trivial form like the acrostic.


that damn line again

[F]requently in the course of delivering himself of a poem, a poet will find himself in possession of a lyric bauble—a line as smooth as velvet to the ear, as pretty as a feather to the eye, yet a line definitely out of plumb with the frame of the poem. What to do with a trinket like this is always troubling to a poet, who is naturally grateful to his Muse for small favors. Usually he just drops the shining object into the body of the poem somewhere and hopes it won’t look too giddy.

—E. B. White, “Unzip the Veil,” ONE MAN’S MEAT, p146


title exceeding

The poem exhausted itself trying to keep up with the promise of its title.