unexpected prose

The prose writer was dismayed that a poem could be made of prose.


against the stream

Poet, don’t go with the flow. Think of the stones in a stream, the way they impede and change the direction of the water. Make that a model for revision.


no account

The poems were words and phrases strung together but to no account and thus without interest.


no known poet

It can’t be explained but no one knows if s/he is a poet.


art and anarchy

...art is a kind of anarchy, and the theater is a province of art. What was missing here, was something anarchistic in the air. I must modify that statement about art and anarchy. Art is only anarchy in juxtaposition with organized society. It runs counter to the sort of orderliness on which organized society apparently must be based. It is a benevolent anarchy: it must be that and if it is true art, it is. It is benevolent in the sense of constructing something which is missing, and what it constructs may be merely criticism of things as they exist.

—Tennessee Williams, “Something Wild,” Where I Live: Selected Essays (New Directions, 1978), edited by Christine B. Day and Bob Woods


plural difference

Its plural form can change a word quite a lot.


turn to language

Poetry was part of humankind’s turn to language, and therefore poetry will not end until humankind ends. Particularly in these times, we can imagine a depopulated earth with remnants of poetry spraypainted on walls, carved into stones, on metal plaques hanging tilted from buildings fallen into ruin.


is quantum

Language is quantum: changing states when observed (by reader or hearer).


long and longer still

There are some poems that refuse to be shortened.


always a refuge

Whatever poetry is or becomes, let it always be a refuge for beauty.


sad privilege of poetry

Athens is a holy name, but
There’s no trace of the gods.
Only Apollo...Apollo is a good tramp,
Now that his women are gone, he gets by
Selling knickknacks and pirates.
One evening at dusk
We noticed him, drunk, raving:
“If the harmony of the spheres ssshloows,
Wha kennai do? Wha kennai do?
Maybe a black cloud
That scolds the treacherous sky,
Or the herd that bleats for the fugitive shepherd?”
Ah, maybe this is the sad privilege
Of poetry, to die last.

—Fausto Melotti, Fausto Melotti (Editioni Charta, 2008), translation by Elene Geuna


against disgorgement

I’m against disgorgement art: lacking the sifting, selection and shaping that makes art engaging and compelling.


essence not attributes

A poem fails when it relies on attributes and not essence.



I’m least interested poetry of wordplay which seems to attract those who consider themselves avant-garde.


limit test

A sonnet is a poem testing the limits of fourteen lines.


markson notes

Afflicted by cerebral palsy, the poet Larry Eigner (1927-96) managed to type a prodigious amount of poetry over his lifetime using only his right index finger.

Ludwig Wittgenstein enjoyed peeling potatoes (kartoffeln) as it helped him clear his mind and to think deeply, a routine he learned while serving in the Austrian army during The Great War.

Sigmund Freud was said to accept a sack of potatoes in trade for a session on his couch during the economic struggles in Vienna after The Great War.


first few

A poem must expose its essence in the first few lines.


poor word choice

One word ruined the whole poem.