same poem


When Trakl crossed over, the angels
accused him of the same poem
again and again. He held up
the face God gave him
and showed them the deep and lovely
line a single, recurring tear,
sliding earthward,
carved on a stone cheek.

—Gregory Orr, The Caged Owl: New & Selected Poems (Copper Canyon Press, 2002)


makes a noise

You should hear a snap when you break a line.


stanza break

He would break his lines, but would never leave space between lines. That blank space was abyss.


a teacher's limits

Even with Rilke as a mentor, and with the benefit of his stirring advice, Kappus didn’t make it as a poet or artist.


one poem printed

Every poet should have one poem printed as a letterpress broadside.


no nails

When the materials were available, they commissioned a contractor to build a three-story mission house exactly like the one that had been destroyed by fire. In the compound, carpenters cut timbers, gouged mortises, shaped tenons, whittled scores of wooden pegs and bored holes for them, until all the parts for the house were in a neat pile; then, in three days, they put the whole thing together,...without any nails as all.

—John Hersey, Hiroshima: A new edition with a final chapter written 40 years after the explosion, (Knopf, 1985), 85.


only names now

They are names only now, in that sad slow almost silent ten years that precedes a poet’s death.


family language

Prose and poetry are the language’s siblings. That they would share resemblance should surprise no one.


too much order

There is something about too close attention to metrics that tilts to science and away from art.


no game

He spoke of poetry as a form of play. I hope I’m not picked for that game.


reading to the limit

Once he believed he could read till he found the reason for all thing—read till it all fell in place.


inch by inch

So aesthetics is what connects one to matters of fact. It is anti-ideal, it is materialistic. It implies no approval, but respect for things as they are. America inch by inch. This has nothing to do with evaluation or usefulness.

—Fairfield Porter, “Letters to Claire and Robert White.” Parenth├Ęse, No. 4, 212.

[Quoted in Douglas Crase's AMERIFIL.TXT (U. of Michigan, 1996)]



There are authors who I say to myself, I’d rather see the movie than read the book.


nothing irregular here

The meter was regular and the poetry regular too.


he put the me in memorial

In memory of my friend the departed poet, I will read two of my poems about him.


no course charted

It’s common for poets to say they have no idea where their poems are going when they start writing them, and one can readily see this is true by the poems themselves.


you stumble on them

Everywhere we seek the Absolute, and always we find only things.

Fragment No. 1; Variant: We seek the absolute everywhere and only ever find things. - Bl├╝thenstaub (1798).


you can't make it up

News report headlines often offer whole poems:
Missing Houston man's body found in his car trunk in Dallas.