poetry's province

Poetry claims all texts not immediately recognized as such.


strong pair

Compound words: The power of coupled words that rivals metaphor.


poet within the poet

What is probably new and startling in the work of Dylan Thomas is that, in dragging into light his versions of “the hidden causes” which he mentions, he has given an articulate voice to other parts of the body than the romantic heart—to the glands and the nerves, that is—and has, in considerable measure, freed them from the poetically sterile reason.
Although he is suitably interested in most phases of life, his impulse comes primarily from within his own body. He is the poet within the poet, and is generally dependent upon no externalities for his subject. This, then, I would say, is one of his main contributions to poetry: he has given voices and eyes to the part of the being which had formerly been dumb and blind; he has given the body a poetic aura…

—Henry Treece, Dylan Thomas: Dog Among the Fairies (Lindsay Drummond Ltd., 1949)


pace coleridge

Available words in the only possible order that would be a poem.


pristine copy

I saw an inscribed copy of your book at the Goodwill. It was in excellent (likely unread) condition, I must say.


bird nest

She built her poem as a bird builds its nest, with strands of this & that found at large in the world.


32 feet per second per second

Are the gaps in the poem capable of being bridged by the mind or are they meant to be moments of mental free fall?


recycled crit

The kind of criticism that recycles familiar quotes and formulaic clichés of poetics, and thus uncovers nothing original, gives us nothing from which to learn.


one conversation

     Much has the human experienced.
     Named many of the heavenly ones,
     Since we have been a conversation
     And can hear from one another.*

From these verses, let us first select one that immediately fits into the context so far: “Since we have been a conversation…” We—human beings—are a conversation. Human Being is grounded in language; but first properly occurs in conversation. This, however, is just one way in which language takes place; language is only essential as conversation.
Yet Hölderlin says: “Since we have been a conversation and can hear from one another.” Being able to hear is not merely a consequence of speaking with one another, but is instead the condition for this. Even being able to hear is itself in turn based upon the possibility of the word, and needs it. Being able to talk and being able to hear are equally originary. We are a conversation—and that means we are able to hear from one another. We are a conversation, and that also always means: We are one conversation.

—Martin Heidegger, “Hölderlin and the Essence of Poetry,” Heidegger Reader (Indiana University Press, 2009)

*lines from an unfinished poem by Hölderlin


come from afar

To be a poet from another planet.


less is more

A perfect short poem that could‘ve been written on the lint from one’s pocket.


no mean feat

Capable poets all struggling to be consequential.


gods gone to ground

The more you know of the masters the less you are impressed.


amoebic ambit

With an amoebic ambit, my love of art is capacious, not being one who draws or respects lines as boundaries.


to fill the silence

Many individual voices rise again in the dusk. Yeats dead, Pound silenced, Eliot lost to the theatre, Thomas gone before his time—it is the hour of the twittering machines. We listen to them as we drink our martinis or smoke a cigarette, and for an hour or two we feel content. Then the night comes and there is no voice to fill the silence. That is not as used to be. Poetry used to be in speech, in transaction, in worship; at the banquet, before the battle, in the moment of birth and burial. Why is poetry no longer our daily bread? We have to search for an answer to this question, and the search leads us to the foundations of our society. We have the poetry we deserve, just as we have the painting we deserve, the music we deserve; and if it is fragmented, personal, spasmodic, we have only to look around us to see the satanic chaos through which nevertheless a few voices have penetrated. The voices are pitched high and may sometimes sound discordant; but the image they convey has crystalline brightness and hardness, and cannot be shrouded.

—Herbert Read, “The Image in Modern English Poetry,” The Tenth Muse (Horizon Press, 1957)


desperate apotheosis

The apotheosis of Romantic poetry came after the age was over in the form of Dylan Thomas. An apotheosis is often that desperate late flowering.


it's like uhmm

Aspire to a style that can’t be adequately described.


somehow fits

Somehow a poem makes human experience conform to the meager means of the word.


stream of story and theme

The same stories and themes follow us because we as a society are constantly breaking camp and moving on.


locked in line

If you can relax your mind, you’ll find that line.