poet unbound

The translator has more responsibility than the poet has.


covering the waterfront

I know all of the poets except the ones I don’t know.


first translation

Language is a translation of life and the world.


uses of poetry

Sitting at a café table, I noticed a poetry book had been jammed under one leg to keep the table from wobbling.


poetry god

It was said of him that no one knew more about poetry than he did.


all art is sensual

But all art is sensual and poetry particularly so. It is directly, that is, of the senses, and since the senses do not exist without an object for their employment all art is necessarily objective. It doesn't declaim or explain, it presents.

—William Carlos Williams, The Collected Earlier Poems of William Carlos Williams (New Directions, 1951)


poem in brackets

The ideal reader would be able to “bracket” (as Husserl theorized) the poem, and thus experience it as a singular and pure phenomenon


wholly new

He showed me his revision but I could detect no provenance from the prior poem.


vantage point

Never stoop to slap the popular. Wave to it from above as it passes by.


nearly invisible

She was so much an identity poet she managed to make herself anonymous.


sacred spider

Mallarmé described himself as a “sacred spider,” the inventor of a “marvelous lacework,” The appearance of “On Toss of the Dice” thus colluded, in its lacy lack of transitions, with the Lumière brother’s cinématagraphe, which had burst upon the world late December 1895 and was barely up and running before Mallarmé began his optical oeuvre. Bravely conceived and fiercely written against the long tradition of verbal poetry, “One Toss of the Dice” marked a great shift in the direction of the visuality of our own era, with still and moving projections, hand-held personal data devices, monitors, and screens.

—R. Howard Bloch, One Toss of the Dice: The Incredible Story of How a Poem Made Us Modern (Liveright Publishing Corporation, 2017)


walt and emily

Whitman the empathetic ego at large. Dickinson the introspective ego writ large.


abc and abs

A young poet was invited into the basement of an older poet, and upon seeing a letterpress there, asked what kind of exercise equipment it was.


source images

An image that draws upon a history of related images.


aged out

If an artist lives past about age 80, the assumption is that s/he is already dead. Which is to say that the creative life is assumed dead even if the artist isn’t.


not accustomed

When Parra’s lines seem disconnected, it is because they are connected in a supralogical way in which we are not accustomed to seeing things. When the conventions of cause-and-result seem to be outraged, they are.

—Miller Williams, introduction to Emergency Poems (New Directions, 1972) by Nicanor Parra, translated by Miller Williams