poetic asides

There are poems one wants to publish that aren’t the poems one wants to be known for.


for want of a pen

Sometimes I think I became a writer solely because I love holding a nice pen.


substitution of terms

Anyone who thinks they can talk about quantum theory without feeling dizzy hasn't yet understood the first thing about it.
—Niels Bohr

Anyone who thinks they can talk about poetry without feeling dizzy hasn’t yet understood the first thing about it.


writing studio

     The unimaginably cramped cell in which St. John of the Cross was once imprisoned for months, beaten repeatedly and virtually starved, but where he nonetheless managed to compose some of his finest verses.
     In a building that no longer exists—but can still be seen in El Greco’s View of Toledo.

—David Markson, The Last Novel (Shoemaker & Hoard, 2007)


write the room

A prose poet knows how to ‘write’ the room.


sleight of letters

The word is the alphabet’s prestidigitation.


bohemians at the gate

Bohemination: When the neighborhood becomes filled with artists and poets, and the panhandlers are driven out for lack of prospects with money in their pockets.



There is no form equal to this content, it must be allowed to spill without container or spout.


train whistle

A line of poetry that was a train whistle far off in the night.


crossing boundaries

Those visual aspects of Ramón’s prose are of paramount importance: temporal qualities are subordinated to the spatial predilections of the author. That is why very little “happens” in his fiction. It bears pointing out in passing, that painting crosses national as well as artistic boundaries much more easily than does literature.

Aphorisms: Ramón Gómez de la Serna, selected and translated from the texts entitled greguerias, with a critical introduction by Miguel Gonzalez-Gerth (Latin American Literary Review Press, 1989)


ready for it

Poet, don’t just pull another epiphany out of the hat.


fussy too much

There is such a thing as fussy revision that matters not when it comes to the reader's experience.


light verse ahead

Playing to pop culture can only lead to light verse.


hounded by form

Poet, form will keep coming for you.


without emotion or argument

Writing wherein nothing is at stake either emotionally or in terms of argument.


not equal

Remember that no poem is equal to a life.


three-legged stool

I’ve always felt that Rilke stands with one foot in the nineteenth century and other planted in the twenty-first. I’ve sometimes thought of him, especially in The Elegies as the poetic leg of a three-legged stool—the other two being Einstein and Freud/Jung.

—Art Beck, Etudes: A Rilke Recital, Translations and Commentary (Shanti Arts Publishing, 2021)

[Quote encountered in a review of the above book in Wally Swist’s A Writer’s Statement of Beauty (Shanti Arts Publishing, 2022)]