window blinds

Most poems are windows, though the text sometimes blocks the view.


from the desk of the editor #3

Know that no one has read as many first few lines as you.


found objects

My poems (in the beginning) are like a table on which one places interesting things one has found on one's walks: a pebble, a rusty nail, a strangely shaped root, the corner of a torn photograph, etc. ... where after months of looking at them and thinking about them daily, certain surprising relationships, which hint at meanings, begin to appear. These objets trouvés of poetry are, of course, bits of language. The poem is the place where one hears what the language is really saying, where the full meaning of words begins to emerge. That's not quite right! It's not so much what the words mean that is crucial, but rather, what they show and reveal.

—Charles Simic, "Notes on Poetry and Philosophy," Wonderful Words, Silent Truth (Poets on Poetry series, U. of Michigan Press, 1990)


from the desk of the editor #2

Don’t say you’d like to see more of his/her work. If the writer is ready s/he doesn’t need your encouragement.


base matter

Inspiration remains hoped for, but so often art begins in the material of medium.


from the desk of the editor #1

A rejection slip that shows weakness will be responded to viciously by the rejected writer.


slighter verse

Auden with his frequent lapses into vers de société.


logic use

…where Donne uses “logic” he regularly uses it to justify illogical positions. He employs it to overthrow a conventional position or to “prove” an essentially illogical one.

—Cleanth Brooks, “The Heresy of Paraphrase,” The Well Wrought Urn (A Harvest Book/Harcourt, Brace, 1947).


shadow metaphor

Each rhyme pair was a shadow metaphor in the poem.


enjambment mojo

Nothing is more fetishized in free verse poetics than enjambment.


step and breath

Poetry that is not palliative, not a cure for pain and loss; rather it is a course, a way forward if only by the step of a next breath speaking a word.


poetry's lowest life-form

The poet (usually a bad one) who reads at an open mike then leaves before the last reader has had his/her say.


transitions matter

The organization and diction of a poem are completely dependent upon one another, and you should not be troubled if your first attempts to sort out the two elements are not successful. The distinction between the two is a real one, and you will soon begin to discover it yourself. You will see that organization resides not so much in the words themselves as in the transitions that separate words, clauses, sentences, and stanzas from one another. When the poet is in control of his medium, these transitions are decidedly meaningful.

—James McMichael, The Style of a Short Poem (Wadsworth Publishing Co., 1967)


word borders

The margins of the page: invisible fence?


desire path

Despite structure or tradition, the poetic line is a desire path.


it's alive

For a dead thing, poetry sure is a bulging, brimming, humming, oozing, teeming, squiggling and generally astir thing.


many motives

For most people the only motive of poetry is emotion. For the poet, emotion is but one of many motives.


negative space

Poetry is a verbal means to a nonverbal source. It is a motion to no-motion, to the still point of contemplation and deep realization. Its knowledges are all negative and, therefore, more positive than any knowledge. Nothing that can be said about it in words is worth saying.

—A. R. Ammons, “A Poem Is a Walk,” Claims for Poetry (U. of Michigan Press, 1983), ed. Donald Hall, 8.


replete with repetition

Enough already of the anaphora.


genre disregard

Many of the poems he loved tried to shrug off the mantle of being poetry.


propped up

One of those books filled with insipid writing prompts for the uninspired.


photo portal

It was that kind of photograph you could step into and begin making a poem of what you experienced therein.