be afraid, very afraid

In its writing the poem should scare you at first.


pet poems

Our poems are our pets.


bad trannie

It was automatic writing with a bad transmission.


interruption of the poetic

Poetry as something happening among other things happening. As something happening in language, and to language under siege. Poetry as memory, sometimes memory of the future. Poetry as both fixed and in process, ever a paradox. Above all, poetry as experience, as Philippe Lacou-Labarthe would put it. (He would add, poetry as interruption of the “poetic,” but that’s for some other time.)

—Michael Palmer, “Poetry and Contingency,” Active Boundaries: Selected Essays and Talks (New Directions, 2008)


tallied perfectly

Each line tallied perfectly into the sum of the last line.


impact image

An image that aggressively rearranges the space of human experience.


scroll through

The online poem was a scroll through.



Mangrove poetry: thickets of language with many roots sunk in psychologically murky waters.


requisite madness

But if any man come to the gates of poetry without madness of the Muses, persuaded that skill alone will make him a good poet, then shall he and his works of sanity with him be brought to naught by the poetry of madness, and behold their place is nowhere to be found.

—Socrates (Plato), Phaedrus edited by R. Hackworth, Cambridge, 1952


thereafter always moving

The moment you open the book to that page, the poem becomes the perpetuum mobili.


not taken lightly

The poet humbles language by taking it seriously.


descant / disgorge

Only an Ezra Pound could have descanted/disgorged The Cantos.



When the poem is finished why is it that the words seem preordained?


blank page block

Block: The letters lie buried in an avalanche of whiteness. You can hear only muffled cries, but can’t make out any words.


row, row...

The meter was so strong and regular I thought of the poet as a coxswain with a megaphone calling out: ‘Row, row’…


permanent things

Fashions, forms of machinery, the more complex social, financial, political adjustments, and so forth, are all ephemeral, exceptional; they exist but will never exist again. Poetry must concern itself with (relatively) permanent things. These have poetic value; the ephemeral has only news value.

—Robinson Jeffers, preface to The Selected Poetry of Robinson Jeffers, Random House, 1938,(p. XV)


escape passage

Poem as escape passage from the din and flash of spatio-temporal reality


word gourmand

The poet is a word gourmand: The savor of the syllables together with the texture of the meaning are an experience the poet deeply craves.


wrinkled brow

The lines came at a cost of many years, and may as well have been wrinkles on the poet’s brow.


hometown crowd

Poets in New York City read to each other all the time.